Public libraries were clearly not a major focus for electioneering this week, without a single article spotted. CILIP is hoping that this will change and we can hope, although of course currently employed library staff would get into potential hot water if they were political in their jobs at this time. Certainly, wherever cuts are announced, such as in Nottingham, people mobilise but they do so in an ad hoc fashion and not in any meaningful national way. Speaking of that city, it’s sad to see that one of the proposals is to cut the opening hours of the new Nottingham Central Library, which has only been open for a few months. This is reminiscent of the cuts in hours to the mega-expensive Library of Birmingham a decade ago, under the same government. Other than that, it’s fairly quiet out there, as perhaps one would expect in a pre-election period where councils scramble to remove anything political from their schedule.

I would recommend. though, a couple of happier stories this week: first, watch the amazing pianist who walked in with this builder team into Edmonton Library in Canada. It’s good for the soul. Then have a read of the poor (fool-hardy?) reporter who got locked in a Scottish library at the start of the bank holiday and was only saved from an undignified escape through a window due to the timely arrival of a cleaner. Having people stuck in closed libraries is a recurrent nightmare of many staff who have a to look up the building at the end of the day so it’s interesting to read about it from the other side’s point of view.

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  • Finland – Better late than never! Book borrowed in 1939 returned to Finnish library after 84 years – Yahoo. Finnish librarian says ““Our purpose is not to guard the books, we are here to promote reading and enable access to books and knowledge to everyone. The library is a very humane place, and people in Finland use the libraries a lot and understand how they work. Library books belong to all of us and late returns are not a big problem.””
  • Spain – Spanish design duo reveal secrets behind award-winning Barcelona library – Euro News. Gabriel Garcia Marquez Library. “From the outside it looks like a huge, white stack of books and that is precisely the idea at the self-styled ‘Cathedral of books.’ Inside, the red spruce finish throughout gives it a clean, airy, feel which helps make it seem like a pleasant place to enjoy books.” … “People spend a lot of time in the library. They don’t just come in and get a book. They feel more comfortable here than at home,” Elena said. “That is the real idea of the palace of the people,” Guillermo added.”

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