Hmmm. It’s been an odd election. Themes which are extremely important to us all such as Brexit and the Environment have had barely a mention. A party to the right of the Conservatives is having the strongest showing of any such party I can remember in a national election. And the main argument appears to be all about taxation rather than the importance of what the taxes are for.

The Conservatives commit to “continuing to support” libraries and, in the same Manifesto, promise to help volunteers who take them over, presumably if councils unaccountably find for some strange reason they don’t have enough funding for paid staffing any more.

The Labour Manifesto, wait for it, does not mention libraries at all. And nor do the Liberal Democrats or Reform. The Greens say that they will keep libraries “open and thriving”, showing one can always count on the Greens to support libraries – after all, re-use is fundamental to what we do. Groovy news, too, with the Psychedelic Movement party who offer to protect libraries if they get in. Thank goodness for that.

Congratulations to those on the Honours List connected to the public library world. Nick Poole, formally of CILIP, Andrea Ellison (Leeds) and Julie Duffy (Portsmouth). To all three of you I say, it’s OK if you’re ever feeling down to go to wherever you keep the medal and handle it a bit while staring at it fondly. Works better than a stress ball.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Politicians urged to save UK grassroots music venues and libraries, by urgently investing in the arts – Left Foot Forward. “Actor Christopher Eccleston was among the speakers. Addressing an audience at Stockport Central Library on June 13, Eccleston shared his passion for libraries and books and highlighted some of the challenges libraries face, including funding cuts. He noted how Britian needs to proper arts funding system in place like the French and he hoped that there will be more change of getting arts on the agenda with the new government. “As an actor, words are the tools of my trade. When I was growing up in Salford the local library provided a vibrant lifeline to the wider world. Libraries feed people’s interests and passions and provide access leading to connections being forged,” said Eccleston.”
  • Power readers – BookSeller. “Here’s a fun thing to do, download the political manifestos of the leading contenders in the general election, and search for some relevant words, “book”, for example, or “arts”, if you must, or “library”, if you truly want to despair, or “retail”, if you want to go granular. The Conservative manifesto contains three references to books (none relevant to us), one mention of arts (venues), one of libraries, and one tangential reference to retail; the Liberal Democrats have plenty on arts education in schools (good for them), but not a single reference to books, or libraries, or retail. The word “author” is absent from both of them.” [There is no mention of public libraries in the Labour Manifesto – Ed.]
  • Why you might struggle to find this year’s International Booker winner in UK libraries – and why publishing suffers as a result – Conversation. Cataloguing quirk means Kairos may not be as easily found as it should be.

International news

  • USA – Banishing Captain Underpants: An investigation of the 3,400 books pulled in Iowa – USA Today. Iowa. “districts removed nearly 3,400 books and two DVDs to comply with the law, including nearly 1,000 unique titles.” Books include ““To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, the Newbery Medal novel “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot,” 1984 by George Orwell also removed by several library districts. see also The effects House Bill 710 will have on one room libraries in Idaho – KMVT. “House Bill 710 explicitly states that a book that an adult deems inappropriate, has to be relocated to the adults-only section in the library. For one-room libraries, this poses an issue, of whether they will completely take the book out of the library as a whole or change their policies.”

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