Ian Anstice

Public librarian since 1994, user of public libraries since my first memories ... and a keen advocate of public libraries and chronicler of the UK public libraries scene. Library manager since 1998, winner of Information Professional of the Year 2011 and Winsford Customer Service "Oscar" 2012 and 2014, honorary CILIP fellow 2015, CILIP Wales Library Champion of the Year 2016.

Homepage: https://www.publiclibrariesnews.com


Posts by Ian Anstice

John Bevis in cap and coat

Laugh until you cry: the Guardian on CIPFA

Editorial

The summary of the most recent CIPFA statistics in the Guardian is so dead-pan it’s almost a comedic gem. Some of the findings are so obvious as to be hilarious – hey kids, library usage reduced when buildings were locked up; volunteer hours reduced, presumably because not enough of them broke in; librarians numbers stayed almost the same – that would be because they were all furloughed, then. The absolute gem though is that CIPFA reports there are 200 more libraries open than the year before. One more joke too, although more tragic than funny: the report, released normally only from 9 months after the time it reports on took place, has this time been released eleven months late this time. So, on current trends, libraries will have to wait until some time in 2023 to find out the national state of play as of now. Which is a big shame, because I personally can’t wait to see how many more hundred new libraries have opened in 2021/2. To be fair, this is not all CIPFA’s fault – returns from library services are patchy and late – but it does show that the current system of collating and reporting statistics needs to change. That is what no less a body as Libraries Connected says in their reaction to the report and what we can hope takes place.

In other reading, I also loved a book sent to me called “An English Library Journey” about someone who tries to join every library service in England. It’s sometimes eccentric in what it says about each service, and covers about a decade, but it does represent a kind of Secret Shopper report not just on each location but also how things appear to a member of the public nationally. The main messages I take from it is how atomised the national library service is and how difficult some services seem to think it’s necessary to make joining a library, which must be putting off quite a significant proportion of people who walk in through their doors.

In other news, Manchester has announced it is going fines-free, adding it’s prestigious weight to a movement that now has at least 27 library services in the UK.

Changes by local authority

An English Library Journey by John Bevis

John Bevis in cap and coat
John Bevis: Have You Seen This Man?

“Over the past decade, I’ve been using libraries all over the country as “offices” where I can go and write. Finding that becoming a member gave me the use of library computers, I got into the habit of joining libraries wherever I went. By the end of ten years, I had a card for every library authority in England (and some in other countries, too). Along the way, with a growing curiosity about the public library system, I took notes on what I saw in and out of libraries, eavesdropped on conversations, admired library architecture, and witnessed countless people of many demographics using libraries for an amazing diversity of needs. These observations make up much of my new book, An English Library Journey.

I joined my first library, coincidentally, in the week of the 2010 general election that gave us austerity. Over the years, I’ve despaired on arriving at libraries that are no longer there, or are closed because they only open 12 hours per week, are understaffed or over-reliant on volunteers, or are on some profit-extracting privatisation mission. But despite the desperate remedies, my abiding impression is of good service, goodwill and enthusiasm. Now, more than ever, I believe libraries are an essential part of our toolbox for a better future.”

John Bevis

National news

  • How to Start a Board Game Collection – National Acquisitions Group. Tuesday 1 March, 10.30am. Webinar. ” In this webinar we’ll hear from Andrew and Patrick about how they started their successful programme in Newcastle upon Tyne which loans a wide range of games.  They will cover how to choose stock, including revealing their most popular items, and how to resolve some of the issues you might encounter.”
  • Libraries hold the key to boosting our towns – Times, pay-walled. Liz Jolly of the British Library writes ” I have long seen the benefits of libraries in our communities. But since joining the British Library in 2018, responsible for our mission to support innovation and economic growth across the UK, I’ve been surprised by how far the roots of these benefits can spread …”
  • Library use plummeted in 2021, but e-visits showed 18% rise during lockdown – Guardian. CIPFA have released April 2020 to March 21 library statistics in February 2022. Libraries closed for long times during this period.. “a drop of 72%, as Covid-19 restrictions shut branches for much of the 12-month period. The closures also led to a major decline in the number of books borrowed by readers, with 72.9m books issued by libraries last year, down 56% from 165.9m in 2020″. Web visits up 18% ” total income of libraries decreased by nearly £20m to £56.6m … Librarian numbers remained relatively static, falling by 85 over the period”. Volunteer hours reduced sharply, for obvious reasons. “One unexpected spark of good news in the Cipfa figures was the report that the number of library branches in the UK increased to 3,842 in 2021. The growth, from 3,662 branches recorded in the year to March 2020”
  • Number of libraries rose in 2021 as visits plummeted, disputed figures show – BookSeller. “”It’s worth noting that the reduced levels of income we’ve seen have occurred despite increases in specific grant funding. Without this additional grant funding, we would have expected to see lines of income even lower. The fiscal reality that libraries are facing is bleak.” … ““We don’t know anything about the loans of e-books or any digital material. We don’t know how much the library service was used for events or by children. We don’t know how much was spent on either print books or e-books. Nor do we know how many councils completed the CIPFA form—which is an ongoing concern.”
  • Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant Award – National Acquisitions Group. “£5,000 available for a project from a NAG Member library. This grant, launched in 2019, aims to enable public libraries to explore a project without requiring a lengthy application process and with the flexibility to cover a range of circumstances. “
  • A sense of community is more vital than ever – Guardian / Letters. “Julian Coman’s article quotes a list, from the Labour’s Covenant pamphlet, of the places we need to invest in “where people from different backgrounds, meet talk, argue and laugh” (Politicians may have forgotten about ‘community’, but British people haven’t, 7 February). While the list is commendable, public libraries are a surprising omission. Many people once saw them as the heart of the communities they served. They provide all the facilities that Coman outlines, but like the BBC they also inform, educate and entertain.”
  • Single Digital Presence Head of Delivery – British Library. “To lead the beta phase of a new service proposition for public library users, introducing a new national platform and investing in local websites to transform the reach and impact of public libraries. “… “We are now looking for a team leader to direct and lead the team to develop the next phase of the project, drawing on recommendations from the R&D phase and user research. “
  • UXLIBSVI – “The 6th annual international User Experience in Libraries conference, or UXLibsVI, for library staff interested in exploring and responding to the needs and behaviours of their users,”. 6-8 June, Newcastle Under Lyme. [One hopes that having names in code is not part of the recommended user experience – Ed.]
  • Why libraries are so keen on apprenticeships and the Kickstart scheme – DCMS Libraries. “In a competitive jobs market it is hard to attract multi-talented and ambitious people – and relying on traditional recruitment channels won’t help to broaden the intake. Apprenticeships can reach out deeper into communities – attracting people keen to develop skills and advance their careers, including those who would never have imagined working in a library. Many apprentices find once they start work in the library, they get the bug and want to build a library career.”

International news

Local news by authority

The only big public library trend of 2021

Editorial

I normally produce a review of the year, with the major trends of the year around Christmas time. Well, there was only one major thing happening in 2021, as there was in 2020, and it is the same reason why there was no Christmas PLN post this year. Covid. It has impacted and influenced everything libraries do in a way I cannot believe has been done before in my lifetime, with the possible and arguable exceptions of the digital revolution and austerity. The virus has led to a dramatic decrease in physical library visits, not least because initially buildings were locked up, but then due to limited services and concerns over infection. It has also seen a big increase in digital usage, although not to the same extent.

What will be the most important trend of 2022 will be whether libraries recover their physical usage,a nd to what extent. It may not be talked about much but it’s the elephant in the room. It’s known that at least some library users have found alternative sources than libraries or that they have developed different habits. There is little more disruptive than lockdowns and so expecting usage to come back to the way it was before would anyway be a foolish thing to do. It’s worth noting too that some libraries are reporting usage almost back up to normal already while others are still way down so, as in anything with UK public libraries, the picture is mixed.

Given this change in usage, I would expect most sectors to go all-out with publicity and promotion to remind people that we are once again open to business. Due to the fractured nature of the public library sector, though, and a long-term absence of major national publicity or promotional campaigns, it would be an optimist who would expect such a thing from UK libraries. There is simply no budget, residual skills or serious expectation. Irish libraries can do it, it seems, but not us. There is a hook that we can place such publicity on this year – the long-awaited launch of the Single Digital Presence – and much brilliant that can be said about public libraries, now as ever. But until I am pleasantly surprised. public libraries will be as devoid of effective national publicity as they have been for several decades. After all, lack of marketing and promotional budgets have been a long term trend for public libraries our entire lives, no matter I suspect how old you are. Covid is a newcomer in comparison. And the slow publicity asphyxiation of the sector is having a huge impact, possibly as impactful long-term as the virus is short and medium term.

Changes by local authority

  • Dudley – Extra two hours opening in nine libraries per week.

National news

International news

Local news by authority

“Coseley, Cradley, Gornal, Kingswinford, Long Lane, Lye, Netherton, Sedgley and Wordsley libraries will now open Monday & Thursday 10am – 5pm and Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am – 4pm.  That’s an extra two hours per library per week”

Dudley – Email from GLL

One way or another

Editorial

First off, my apologies. First the run up to Christmas then three weeks of a nasty attack of the Covids and then, yes, being a dame in a pantomime has kept me from updating Public Libraries News. This webpage takes time to do and that is a thing that has been of short supply recently. Of course, on the bright side, this means you get a bumper edition now of over a month’s lot of news. And it’s not all of it. I’ll check social media next time and add some more.

There’s good news from Cornwall, which has gone fines-free, and from York. which has announced millions of pounds of investment. Both services have been experimental in approach in the past, with Cornwall experimenting with devolving libraries to parish/town councils and York being a trust. Bad news, though,with the Wirral – a decade ago a byword for library cuts – being afflicted again.

But the big story is ongoing. Will users return to libraries now that Covid has become endemic and slightly less feared? Sadly, the days of hoping it will go entirely seem to have vanished. This New Year will answer that question, one way or another.

Changes by authority

National news

  • Arts Council England launches Green Libraries programme – BookSeller. “ACE awarded £163,000 to the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP) to get the scheme off the ground. CILIP will be supported in delivering the programme by the British Library, public library membership organisation Libraries Connected and environmental charity Julie’s Bicycle. The project aims to reduce the carbon footprint of library assets including physical and digital content, buildings and vehicles, and to enable libraries to help their users engage with environmental issues, and position libraries at the heart of local environmental programmes.”
  • ACE partners with Digital Schoolhouse for library learning programme – BookSeller. “ACE provided £75,000 of funding to the Digital Schoolhouse programme, which uses play-based learning to bring the computing curriculum to life in primary schools. The new funding will expand the scheme to libraries based in Birmingham, Leeds, Stoke on Trent and London, enabling local communities to benefit from its learning activities. “
  • Alan Hopkinson (IFLA) Award – CILIP. “This Award enables a CILIP member in their early career (full criteria below) to experience the IFLA Congress. The Award covers the whole cost of the IFLA conference fee.”
  • Authors, Booksellers and Libraries: Economic Recovery – Question – House of Lords. “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they intend to take to support the economic recovery and growth of authors, booksellers, and libraries, in England after the pandemic.” The Earl of Clancarty has also written this article: Libraries and bookshops are a vital part of the community – protecting them from closure is crucial for levelling up – Politics Home. “Writers, booksellers, libraries, and publishers are part of an important creative ecosystem that also includes local schools and colleges. Despite the growth of online reading, books are an indispensable aid in improving and maintaining literacy.”
  • Axiell announces agreement to acquire Infor Library & Information Solutions business and expand global presence – Axiell. “The acquisition accelerates the availability of cloud technology to libraries and schools enabling them to, at their pace, join the community of customers, which work with Axiell’s sustainable and digital-first cloud-based library services platform”
  • BookTrust Storytime crowns best new book for sharing with young children – Love Reading 4 Kids. “Through BookTrust Storytime, the charity has been working in close partnership with libraries and local authorities to pilot new ways to support families with young children – especially those who are disadvantaged – engage with their local public library, helping kick-start their reading journey, so that sharing stories become a regular and long-lasting part of family life. The winner is The Whales on the Bus written by Katrina Charman and illustrated by Nick Sharratt.”
  • Duchess of Cornwall leaves copies of her favourite books inside phone box – In Entertainment. “Camilla’s widespread on-line e book membership, the Studying Room, has been planting publications by advisable authors in telephone bins across the nation to encourage folks to learn, and she or he lent a hand in Scotland.” see also Community library: a light in the darkness – Vivia Shukla, Newstead Wood – This is Local London.
  • English Library Journey – Eye Books. By John Bevis, £14.99. “In a ten-year mission criss-crossing the country – from Solihull to Slough, from Cleveland to Cornwall – he enrols at libraries of all shapes and sizes: monuments to Art Deco or Brutalism; a converted corset factory; one even shaped like a pork pie.”
  • Focus – CILIP. International Libraries group newsletter, with articles on attending international library conferences.
  • Information Literacy Award – LILAC. “The CILIP Information Literacy Group and the Information School at the University of Sheffield are proud to offer an award for achievement in the field of information literacy (IL). IL “is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to reach and express informed views and to engage fully in society”.”
  • Jay Blades on learning to read aged 51: ‘I’ve gone right back to basics like at primary school’ – Independent. “Contact your local library, or go online, to find free literacy materials and support in your area.”
  • Letters: Lend your vote to councillors with the humanity to save our precious libraries – Herald Scotland. “There are too many who rely on their local library as a sanctuary from the daily grind of living, and access to books will have an effect on the attainment gap. In the coming council elections, I hope we choose councillors with the humanity to save these endangered spaces from cuts and closures.”
  • Libraries sector in the New Year Honours list – DCMS. OBE for Ann Cleeves, MBE for Karen Napier of the Reading Agency, David Smith of the Community Managed Libraries Network, BEMs for chief of Barking and Dagenham Zoinul Abidin, Lesley Davies of Sefton, Stewart Parson of Get It Loud In Libraries, chief of Sheffield Nick Partridge, David Rowe of Libraries Hacked, Nina Simon chief of Redbridge Schools Libraries Service, Darren Smart of Kent, Krystal Vittles of Suffolk, Fiona Williams chief of York Explore, Andrew Wright of Kirklees. Louise Smith of DCMS given OBE for work in culture.
  • Library Letters – “Each letter is addressed to the Minister who had responsibility for libraries in their portfolio at the time the library mentioned in the letter closed permanently. Each letter begins ‘This is just to let you know’ and names the library, where it is located and the date it closed permanently.”
  • Library projects in the north and north-east secure share of £400,000 funding – Press and Journal. “More than 30 libraries in Scotland received support to help create and deliver new projects to generate interest in reading. The aim is to get more people involved in reading and covering topics like tackling climate change and promoting sustainable development.”
  • Library users facing ‘two tier system’ with growing trend for eBooks pricing readers out of latest releases – I. “The demand for borrowing digital books is growing, with an 80 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Libraries Connected, which represents public library services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. But providing them comes at a significantly higher cost for libraries compared to physical books. While eBooks make up 13 per cent of all lending, they take up a quarter of the entire budget.”
  • London Libraries launch new pan-London creative reading and writing programme – SW Londoner. “The programme will take place across every London Borough and the City of London to offer 33 free online creative writing workshops and engage London’s diverse communities by telling their stories.”
  • Public libraries lend digital books, as demand for e-books grow – Star. “This new enthusiasm for electronic books has been keeping the digital lending service, OverDrive particularly busy. The company found that librarians allowed readers around the world to borrow 506 million e-books, audiobooks and digital magazines in 2021. This figure is a significant increase (16%) on the previous year”
  • Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant Award – National Acquisitions Group. “NAG are pleased to announce that their Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant will run again for 2022 with £5,000 available for a project from a NAG Member library.”
  • Regaining Footfall: Reflections from our netloan library user groups – Lorensbergs. “We heard how there are multiple challenges to returning users to the library while local restrictions and staff shortages persist. But for those libraries finding ways to stage new initiatives and events, results have been encouraging with a good response amongst targeted demographics of users. An extensive list of these initiatives and programmes as compiled from these discussions is available to read here.”
  • Support our Libraries: Libraries were never just about books – Nick Poole – Scotsman. “If you haven’t been down to your local library recently, you’d be forgiven for missing the quiet revolution that’s been going on between the stacks. Libraries have been busy, transforming themselves into bustling hives of activity, online access, meet-ups, reading, creativity and conversation (and yes, the odd quiet space for book lovers too).”
  • Welsh Government announce extra cash support for indie cinemas, museums, libraries and arts groups – Business Live. £5.2m. “The purpose of this fund is to support organisations that are in genuine difficulty – at risk of closure or where jobs will be lost – unless further support is provided. “
  • World Book Day invites everyone to its 25th birthday celebrations – FE News. “The charity World Book Day turns 25 on Thursday 3rd March 2022 and is inviting everyone to its party celebrating the past, present and future of children’s reading.” … “McDonald’s is extending its existing partnership with World Book Day” … Harry Potter competition too.

International news

Local news by authority

“We suffered some heavy cuts in East Sussex in 2018, losing 7 libraries and a mobile. Peacehaven and Telscombe is one of the parts of the county with a growing population, lots of new housing, yet no longer deserves a full library service.”

Email received

And yet it moves

Editorial

It;s great to see some new mobile libraries being bought and put on the road in a couple of library services. Over the last ten years, while the smallest libraries have been closed or moved to volunteers in many services, there is one exception … those libraries with wheels. They are proving remarkably tenacious, providing equality of service to those in rural and hard to reach areas. Long may they move.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • The classism of closing libraries – The Boar. “My main takeaway from an exchange like this is that at some point libraries were removed from the weekend itinerary, they blended with the essence of nostalgia rather than staying part of the present; meaning either the person stopped reading, or started  sourcing their books elsewhere. It is important therefore to explore the shift away from the use of public books and reflect on why we choose to buy not borrow, and what that means for everyone else”
  • Covid-19 – How are the rules on face masks and COVID passes changing in England? – Sky News. Wearing a mask is now a legal requirement for libraries “and reading rooms”.
  • Harry Potter book sells for world record £356,000 – Cheshire Live. “The ‘mint’ condition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was in the first run of 500 printed in 1997. About 300 were given to libraries and schools and the remaining 200 passed into private hands.”
  • Let’s Create Jubilee Fund – Arts Council England. £175k grant. “The grant will be distributed by Libraries Connected, and will provide £1,000 for each library service to mark the occasion in whatever way they think will be most relevant and enjoyable for their users and local community. This could be done in collaboration with other library services, or be a purely local celebration. Libraries Connected will contact all eligible library services to discuss the process for delivering the grant, which we expect to be paid in January or February.” [The other £25k (there are are 150 library services in England) is for Libraries Connected take on staff/contractors to project manage, distribute the funding to 150 library services, market nationally, identify additional national/regional partners and manage the evaluation – Ed.]
  • Library audio and ebook loans in 2021 reveal unexpected stars – Guardian. “… while Richard Osman might have topped the list of the year’s most-borrowed ebooks, Ellery Adams’s tale of a North Carolina bookshop owner who doles out bibliotherapy over a fresh-baked scone has made a surprising entry on the list. Adams’s 2017 title The Secret, Book & Scone Society, in which Miracle Springs bookseller Nora prescribes the “perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain”, only for one of her customers to be found murdered, was the fourth most-borrowed ebook from UK public libraries in 2021. It was more popular than Booker winner Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart, which came in fifth, and Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher novel The Sentinel, although it came in behind Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, Matt Haig’s The Midnight Library, and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun. The figures come from OverDrive, which provides ebook and audiobook access to more than 3,000 of the UK’s libraries.
  • Library closures are cutting off routes into creative life for so many – The Stage. [paywall] “The deaths of two theatre titans, Sher and Sondheim, had producer Richard Jordan remembering how he discovered their work in his local library, and how the closure of libraries around the country is cutting off vital access to theatre careers and so much more …”

The Reading Agency, in partnership with the BBC and supported by the Arts Council, is calling for recommendations for the Big Jubilee Read, a national reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads by celebrated authors from the Commonwealth to mark Her Majesty the Queen’s Jubilee. Readers are invited to send your recommendations for an expert panel to select the list of 70 Big Jubilee Reads. Recommendations should include author, title, publication year and reasons for recommendation. Books must be published between 1952-2022 by an author from the commonwealth, be considered a great read of a decade, appeal to diverse and inclusive audiences and be available in print or e-book format. Titles can include fiction, poetry and graphic novels but not non-fiction. Books in translation are welcome. They should be emailed to thebigjubileeread@readingagency.org.uk by 16 December.

The Reading Agency, via email

International news

Local news by authority

Savinged

Editorial

Words are important so it’s time to have a note about terminology. The policy of Public Libraries News is to describe reductions to budgets as “cuts” whereas the almost universal policy of councils is to describe them as “savings”. It depends on one’s viewpoint and the pros and cons of each case as to which word is more true. A cut can also be a saving of course, and sometimes efficiencies can indeed be made. But the word “saving” suggests that there has been no reduction in the service offered so that nothing is lost, financially or otherwise. The word “cut” suggests a reduction both in service and budget. My use of the word “cut” comes from the 2010s when we were indeed looking at brutal cuts to services and I would argue that it’s a more honest word than the alternatives even now. But it depends on circumstances and viewpoint and one must always bear that in mind. The word “saving” is sometimes used by councils in full knowledge that what is actually happening is a cut. That’s a shame and I think being more honest with people would be good, because people should not be misled, especially when they are the ones ultimately paying the bills both in terms of budget and in terms of services, cut or, um, savinged.

Changes by local authority

National news

  • Carthew plans UK tour to address publishing diversity and inclusion – BookSeller.”The Breaking Class Tour will visit festivals, universities, libraries, bookshops and conferences around the UK throughout 2022. Carthew will talk about the issues that face working-class writers including barriers to success, as well as talking to publishing industry professionals regarding how best to tackle discrimination and unconscious bias in the industry.”
  • End of Year Recharge and Reset – British Library Living Knowledge. “A restorative session aimed at giving you clarity of mind as we move towards the holiday season. Join Author and life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru for a relaxed mental health check-in, with tips and strategies for balancing and assessing your work life balance and winding down 2021 with a positive mind-set.”https://digitalcontentassociates.com/bringing-ft-to-the-worlds-public-libraries/
  • The Librarian Behind a New Anthology of Poems About Books & Libraries – Fine Books Magazine. “The 272-page anthology, with gorgeous jacket art, includes such poets as Horace, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Borges, Angelou, and others, all paying homage to books and libraries.”
  • Stories Not Statistics: An Autoethnographical & Narrative Exploration of the Value of Public Libraries Humanities Commons. “This research examines what the narratives around libraries reveal about the ways in which they are valued, and explores the use of methods that are still relatively new to the field of LIS. ” … ” there is a gap in the current LIS scholarship on work that draws together narratives of belonging, loneliness and the body in relation to the public library with the use of autoethnography and narrative inquiry specifically, and that using narratives to understand and articulate impact should be key to understanding the value of libraries.”
  • #uklibchat 6th December – Farewell and Review – #uklibchat. “This is our last chat. We are grateful for all your interactions, for all those who followed us and lurked. This last chat is not so much a discussion as an opportunity to come together and appreciate each other and the conversations #uklibchat has helped foster. We have a few conversation starters in our agenda for this cosy chance to gather round the inspiration that is #uklibchat. Feel free to add your own.”
  • Universal Library Offers Calendar 2022 – Libraries Connected. “Key dates for libraries in 2022”

International news

Local news by authority

“I was more than willing to support South Gloucestershire Libraries. The service has so much to offer – access to computers, a meeting place to connect with your community, somewhere to study and if you want to find out anything then the library is the place to go. But above all these great services it’s their power to change lives through reading. I would encourage everyone to use their local library.”

Stephen Merchant
  • Staffordshire – When a decision will be made on moving Burton library to the market hall – Staffordshire Live. “Decisions on the future of Burton’s library and Market Hall will be made after March next year, it has been revealed. The business case by Burton Town Deal Board will be passed to the Government by March and a decision will then be made on which seven projects will be taken forward.”
  • Surrey – Council makes commitment on whether to keep Surrey libraries open amid transformation plan – Get Surrey. “Surrey councillors have made a commitment that no library services will be lost in the county in the face of large costs to upgrade facilities.”… “Achievements as part of the plan so far include joining the Libraries Consortium which means residents can use their Surrey library card to access libraries in Essex and 18 London boroughs, and being on track to make savings of £2.9m by the end of March 2022.”
  • Thurrock – Protesters show their support to save Thameside theatre complex in Grays – BBC News. “Thurrock Council is proposing to sell the Thameside complex, which also houses a library and museum, in Grays as part of plans to save £34m by 2024. Labour councillor John Kent said people were “really angry” at the plans.”
  • Torfaen – Temporary reduction in Torfaen library opening hours – South Wales Argus. “There are currently four vacant library assistant roles within the borough’s service, which is leading to staff shortages as more people return to using libraries following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. But a council report says filling the vacancies while a review of the service is being carried out would ‘prejudice’ its outcome.”
  • Wiltshire – Market Lavington library opens for first time since Covid – Gazette and Herald. Library “has reopened in its new location after closing its doors in 2020 due to the pandemic. The new library is now open at the Old School, Church Street, thanks to the partnership between Wiltshire Council and Market Lavington Parish Council.”
  • Worcestershire – Mask up when visiting the library as new variant forces change – Bromsgrove Standard. “Face  coverings will once again be required in order for customers to enter the county’s libraries from tomorrow, Tuesday, November 30. The county’s libraries will be increasing Covid-19 protection measures in light of the new directions from central government and will be asking anyone visiting to wear a face covering.” [This turned out not to be true – government guidelines excluded libraries from essential mask wearing – Ed.]

Cancel culture

Editorial

Two long-running library battles have been won,, with Glasgow libraries receiving funding to reopen threatened libraries there and the near-future of the library in the book paradise of Hay on Wye also being secured. Scottish libraries have also received funding to aid with fall-out from Covid. On the debit side, Torfaen is looking at big cuts and the once large Grays Library in Thurrock is looking to be reduced to a shadow of its former self. Internationally, it’s all about censorship, with China reducing what can be read in Hong Kong while, on the other side of the Pacific, there are continuing moves to censor a ton of stuff in what those pushing the moves probably still unironically say is the Land Of The Free.

https://www.iii.com/products/vega/

Changes by library service

National news

International news

  • Argentina – BIC Celebrates Global Education Week By Honoring 10 Educators In Second Year Of BIC Cristal Pen Awards – Cision. “Herńan is one of the founders and current president of the library Biblioteca Popular Palabras del Alma. The library began operating on a mobile basis, only on weekends and now offers art, a community garden, and workshops for reading writing, computer, language, theater and many topics for people of all ages, including high school students and children without access to kindergarten. Herńan also coordinates a project for indigenous people where a dozen new libraries in their communities have since been built. He is also the creator of a community theater group and radio station that allows poor people, women, children and adolescents, people with disabilities or who are part of indigenous peoples to express themselves.” [My wife is the UK award winner – Ed.]
  • Canada – A Toronto library card will give you free access to the city’s top attractions starting tomorrow – Flipboard. “For Toronto Public Library cardholders, one pass is permitted per person every week. Each venue has its own restrictions on the number of people that can be admitted with one pass. Generally, each pass admits two adults and two children.”
  • China- Hong Kong libraries removed 29 books about Tiananmen massacre: Report – Big News Network. ” Hong Kong libraries have removed 29 out of 149 books about the Tiananmen massacre over the last 12 years.”
  • Singapore – Choa Chu Kang Public Library: Libraries Can Be Gardens Too – Medium. “Instead of taking up just one floor within Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, the new library now spans across two floors (Levels 4 and 5) and accommodates a more extensive literary collection than its predecessor. The overhaul is aligned to the National Library Board’s (NLB) Libraries and Archives Blueprint 2025 (LAB25): a five-year road map to streamline library and archive services to support lifelong discovery and learning, build an informed citizenry, nurture a stronger appreciation of the Singapore experience, and ensure equal access and opportunities for everyone.”
  • USA – Texas Library Cancel Children’s Event After Transgender Misinformation Sparks Threats – Newsweek. ” the library was not, as had been falsely claimed, an event to “indoctrinate children into a transgender way of life.””
    • More Republican leaders try to ban books on race, LGBTQ issues – NPR. Lists various moves to censor books, mainly in school libraries.
    • Viral photo of near-empty library shelves sends powerful message: ‘We removed every book with content that could offend someone’ – Yahoo. “The pair of side-by-side photos, shared by Pflugerville Public Library in Texas, aims to provide a visual of what library shelves might look like if everything containing subject matter that could cause someone discomfort was to be removed. “This is a before and after shot of what a single shelving unit in the library’s Teen Space would look like if we removed every book with content that could offend someone,” the caption begins. “Out of 159 books, there are ten left on the shelves. We removed books that contained profanity, teen drinking, religious content, racism, magic, abuse, sexual content, and more. But in taking away those books, we also removed examples of friendship, love, courage, creativity, faith, forgiveness, reality, resilience, humor, and history.””

Local news by authority

Waiting for the new equilibrium

Editorial

A reasonably quiet week this one, with the most stand out thing for me being Arts Council England producing some nice videos publicising public libraries. Sadly, the other news is more information on the proposed cuts to Slough, which have been fleshed out as being a reasonably massive 33% cut, with the book fund being especially punished apparently because it is too good. Go figure. Meanwhile, the USA, the move towards Fahrenheit 451 becoming a reality moves ever closer with two library board members seriously suggesting books they don’t like should be burnt – never a good look. But here in the UK the ever present question is not which book to burn but rather at what level and when will library usage settle post-Covid. Will the new equilibrium be at 90%? Only an optimist I think would go for 100. And a pessimist may go lower. But it’s still too early to tell, with Covid very much still being around and some library services still not having opened all libraries or even starting events again.

Changes by authority

National news

  • CWA Dagger In The Library – Crime Writer’s Association. “Up to three members of staff from each British library can nominate an eligible author from the list below. The list of eligible authors is selected by the Dagger in the Library judges each year and comprises authors writing in the UK who have had at least six crime books published over a period of 10 years or more, who were not shortlisted for the Dagger in the Library in the previous year and who have never won either the Dagger in the Library or the Diamond Dagger.”
  • Libraries Activity Data – Libraries Connected. 25 November webinar. “We are analysing libraries’ activity data on a monthly basis and benchmarking this against broader data from High Streets and other areas. Join us for a discussion on what the data shows, what it means and provide your own insight from the library services to make our analysis a much richer picture.”
Arts Council England have commissioned this film, Your Library for help, fun and information, to help advocate for Public Libraries in England. List of shorter videos for specific areas here.
  • Network of sharing libraries and repair cafes – Scottish Government. “Under the £310,000 reuse and repair scheme, funded jointly with Zero Waste Scotland, more resource libraries will be established across Scotland – a key recommendation of Scotland’s Climate Assembly. The facilities allow people to borrow items such as high quality tools, equipment, clothes and toys rather than buying them. The scheme – overseen by the Circular Communities Scotland charity in collaboration with Edinburgh Tool Library and Edinburgh Remakery – will also see more repair cafes set up to teach people the skills to repair items.”
  • Public libraries and climate change – DCMS Libraries. “At the heart of the discussion and debate was recognising the power of public libraries in the communities they are based in, in being able to break down the sometimes overwhelming information and to disseminate this into the community. “

International news

Jacqueline May

“My work consists of 63 individual framed letters and ‘opened’ envelopes. Each letter is addressed to the Minister who had responsibility for libraries in their portfolio at the time the library mentioned in the letter closed permanently. Each letter begins ‘This is just to let you know’ and names the library, where it is located and the date it closed permanently. The timeline of the letters is from 2011-2017 which saw the greatest decline in public library provision in England. Librarians will understand why I have chosen the writer of these letters to be William Ewart.

I wanted to mark and commemorate these libraries, the people who used them and the people who worked in them. It is not a comprehensive list of libraries which have permanently closed and neither is it primarily a political statement. I wanted to name as many libraries as possible over this five year period. There is an inherent beauty in the names of these libraries. They conjure up whole worlds.”

Follow Jacqueline on  https://twitter.com/jacannem to see the images on the anniversaries of the closures.

Local news by authority

Fragile Libraries

Editorial

There have been some more reports of councils looking to cut services due to Covid, either directly due to budgetary pressure or because of reductions in usage. This is what has been feared in library circles. What’s strange though is that the reports I am seeing is that some library services are reporting getting back to almost normal levels of business while others are at barely half of what they were in 2019. That’s a major difference and I’m not seeing much explanation of it. Perhaps we’ll see it soon.

In other news, COP26 has not gone un-noticed in libraries this week, with a report on how GLL are being more sustainable in their libraries, and a lovely quote from Surrey Libraries saying “what we recycle are stories”. Finally, I’m pleased to include an extract from a new book on the history of libraries, called “fragile” – something which some users of Bolton, Dorset, Nottinghamshire, Slough and the Wirral may have particular recent reason to agree with, as would those users of the Staffordshire Schools Library Service which follows a long list of others in announcing its closure.

Changes by local authority

Staffordshire School Library Service closed.

Extract from “Libraries: A Fragile History” by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur Der Weduwen

Not just another library book

“Carnegie brought little romance to the business of libraries, but much of the clear-minded rationality with which he had made his business fortune: when he sold out to John Pierpont Morgan in 1901 to devote himself entirely to philanthropy, he was the richest man in America. His sense of purpose was precisely what the public library movement needed at the time Carnegie was most active, between 1880 and 1919. Libraries proliferated during the nineteenth century, responding to the rapidly growing demand for books, a product of radical social and technological change. Books became cheaper and more abundant, and more men and women were looking to read, for recreation, information and social advancement. Yet abundance brought its own challenges: if books became cheaper, the imperative to borrow, rather than own, which had sustained the subscription and circulating libraries in the eighteenth century and the first decades of the nineteenth, fell away. The public library had to find a motive, a clientele, and a niche in the library world. Until the arrival of Carnegie, it was by no means certain that it had succeeded.”

About the book

“Throughout their long and tumultuous history libraries have taken almost every form imaginable, from humble wooden chests to vast palaces of marble and gilt. But one thing has always remained the same: the immense, sometimes obsessive lengths to which humans will go in order to acquire and possess knowledge. In this, the first major work of its kind, Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen explore the rich and dramatic history of the library, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians, philanthropists and eccentrics who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of technologies, ideologies and tastes – and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanours committed in the pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts. From the age of the scroll to the disappearance of the bookmobile, the story of a library is also the story of the society or individual that created it: this erudite and fascinating account reveals what libraries can tell us about ourselves, and why we continue to collect, to destroy – and to make the library anew.”

, published by Profile Books.

National news

  • Baby Babble (A NAGwebinar week event) November 9 @ 11:00 – National Acquisitions Group. “Baby Babble is a five-week programme for babies aged around 4 to 9 months and their parents/carers. The sessions, developed with speech and language therapists and led by Derbyshire Sure Start librarians, are fun and interactive with activities and ideas to encourage babies’ early communication skills, speech and language.”
  • Characters of Colour in UK kids books have quadrupled, and more good book news – Book Riot. “numbers has risen to 8% of books featuring a minority ethnic main character and 15% including minority ethnic characters. There’s still a way to go to represent the 34% of elementary school children who are from an ethnic minority background, but it’s demonstrating steady growth every year.”
  • CILIP Library and Information Supplier Showcase – Autumn 2021 – CILIP. “We are looking to the future” by having a physical event in London, 30 November.
  • Letters: Libraries need to move with the times and look to a digital future – Herald. “The library service has been in a steady decline over recent years, I think because it has mainly been built and designed as a singular unit, rather than being part of a hub, hosting other popular and essential local services, which would surely in turn bring in more local members of the public. “
  • Libraries and climate change: reducing, reusing and recycling in GLL – DCMS Libraries. “Libraries are often viewed as the perfect example of recycling – one book is used by many people – but does that mean that we can sit back and relax, feeling the job is done and the world is saved for future generations? GLL is a charitable social enterprise and manages five public library services – and over the last few years, we have been exploring ways in which all aspects of our services can become more sustainable. We are librarians – and so our first task was a literature search, which lead us to adopt “reduce, reuse and recycle” as our mantra.”
  • Libraries are linked to the values that define the character of a nation – Marc Lambert – Scotsman. “Libraries, in short, are essential to the individual, to families, and to the communities they live in. They are central to the social fabric of a properly democratic nation. The invention of the alphabet and writing is commonly viewed as one of humankind’s greatest inventions. But in a sense the creation of the public library system goes one better. Whereas the early scribes and the Kings they served jealously guarded the technology of writing and the information it encoded, libraries flipped that on its head.”
  • Libraries, bitstreams and the threat to our repositories of knowledge – Financial Times. “The enduring vitality and importance of libraries is underscored by the arrival of two timely new books. They address both the history and future challenges facing these important institutions. Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen take a broad view in The Library, ranging across the millenia. Meanwhile in Bitstreams, Matthew Kirschenbaum, professor of digital humanities at the University of Maryland, focuses on the growing issue of how, in our digital world, we can ensure the future preservation and understanding of literary texts.”
  • Libraries Connected Awards 2021: Vision and Print Impaired People’s shortlist – Libraries Connected.

International news

Local news by authority

“I popped into my local library to pick up a consultation form – only to find that the staff suggested I did it online. I said I would really prefer to write it out – and eventually a paper copy was provided. The staff explained that the Council wanted to save paper. It struck me that many customers using library buildings to borrow books would not fill out an online form and that by not providing forms to complete in a paper format, the consultation was building in a bias to a digital future. “

Dorset – Email received
  • Tameside – Library to close for ‘fire protection works’ – just two years after huge multi-million pound development first opened – Manchester Evening News. “Ashton-under-Lyne library was built in March 2019 as part of the multi-million pound Vision Tameside project. But it will be shut for 12 weeks from tomorrow (November 6), as building works to ‘boost’ its fire protection take place. Insurers suggested the works would ‘reduce risk and insurance premiums’ for the building at Tameside One. It comes following changes in the fire insurance market in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.”
  • Wirral – Wirral Council criticised for avoiding ‘difficult’ financial decisions – BBC News. £9m budget hole. “The authority was criticised for its reluctance to make cuts to any of its 16 libraries, make staff redundant or increase car park charges.” … “Ms Williamson said the council had tried to keep facilities open wherever it could and Wirral residents’ interests were “at the heart of every decision we make”.”
    • Threats to Wirral’s libraries and leisure centres ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’ – Liverpool Echo. “One person said: “Yes of course take our libraries, something that serves the public, is educational and has a useful purpose. “Well they will have a fight on their hands if they try to close Hoylake Library.” While another said: “Why? What all of a sudden has caused this to be a necessity? For decades the libraries have been an integral part of our communities and the very few people in high up positions are trying to take them away from the many that need them, disgraceful!””

Halloween themed week: Possible cuts in Dorset, Gateshead, Hartlepool and Slough

Editorial

There’s some scary news for libraries this week as four library services announce consultations. These tend to include only cuts as options so it’s fairly clear where the direction of intended travel is. The cuts look to be particular severe in Gateshead with a 2010-like 5 out of 8 being under threat. On the other hand, the whole of the island of Ireland is now fines-free, with Northern Ireland no longer forcing its customers to pay for not being able to return theirs books on time, following the example of the Republic of Ireland two years ago.

Changes by authority

National news

  • 10 November – What’s new? What’s next? – Library Campaign. 7.30pm to 9pm, Wednesday 10 November, webinar. “Here’s your chance to catch up on all the news you need to know. The Library Campaign aims to give library users and Friends a complete one-stop update, via Zoom. Plus a chance to discuss it all. A lot has happened in public libraries since our last Zoom in May. More is due to happen in the next few weeks.”
  • Children will be forced to do homework in cafes and libraries due to rising energy bills at home, experts fear – I News. “Isobel Hunter, chief executive of Libraries Connected, said public libraries are “gearing up to do much more targeted work with people suffering from destitution… because they know rates of people struggling in their communities have grown”. “
  • Embrace it, Design It, Build it: Information Professionals at the heart of Digital Transformation – CILIP. 3 and 4 November, webinar. “Technology is transforming every point in the supply-chain of knowledge and information – from content creation to research, selection to data analytics. These technologies depend entirely on the availability of high-quality, well-structured information, data and metadata to function.”
  • Freedom of information and library stats – Library data blog. “Everyone knows this is broken. Leadership organisations are on board, but none have direct responsibility for data. Many services don’t complete data because they can’t afford to receive the commercial reports. Plus the reports are marketed around benchmarking and performance management, which isn’t what library services need. Services need to be able to provide data in the knowledge that it will be widely used and shared for insight, and that they’ll also receive free access to other libraries’ data. Urgent change is needed, ideally in time for 2021/2022 data.”
  • Haig, Whitty and McKay awarded CILIP honorary fellowships – BookSeller. “Author Matt Haig, chief medical officer professor Chris Whitty and librarian Amy McKay have been awarded CILIP honorary fellowships for 2021. The trio were described by the UK’s library and information association as “three very different individuals recognised for their contribution to this sector in the face of unprecedented global challenges”. “. Nick Poole says ““This year’s honorary fellows all demonstrate in different ways the powerful role our sector can play in health and social care. Whether it is leveraging evidence to support informed decision-making in the NHS and public health or exploring the role of reading in building empathy and improving mental health – the pandemic has truly shown the power of libraries as the ‘hospital of the soul’.””
  • Northumbria research team celebrate library project award win – Northumbria University. “The Death Positive Library Project unites libraries in Newcastle, Kirklees in Yorkshire and Redbridge in London, with a research team from Northumbria University made up of Dr Stacey Pitsillides in the School of Design and Dr Claire Nally in the Department of Humanities.”
  • Reading Agency project to bring latest VR technology to 15 libraries – BookSeller. “Called StoryTrails, the project is led by creative producer Professor David Olusoga and will include 15 libraries across the UK and Northern Ireland. It will involve speaking to members of the local communities gathering forgotten and unheard stories, before they are brought to life with the latest technology. StoryTrails will be in libraries from early 2022 and will return again in the summer, offering two-day residencies in each location which will be free for the public to attend. Starting in July 2022, the tour will visit Omagh, Dundee, Dumfries, Blackpool, Bradford, Sheffield, Lincoln, Wolverhampton, Swansea, Newport, Bristol, Swindon and Slough, before ending in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Lewisham in September.   “
  • Rise by Maliha Abidi: competition resources – Reading Agency. “This pack contains an PDF sampler of the book “Rise” by Maliha Abidi and a promotional poster for a competition inspired by the book.”
  • The U.K.’s Latest Budget Gives Arts Organizations an Impressive-Sounding $1.2 Billion—But It’s Actually Less Than Last Year – Artnet. ” This money is also for libraries, many of which have closed due to austerity policies that predate the pandemic.”

International news

Local news by authority

Being positive

Editorial

It was good to see the Libraries Connected Awards this week. They served several purposes, including sharing best practice, publicising the sector, putting the best face on at a challenging time, and of course rewarding and recognising staff. These are all good things and especially necessary at the moment when public libraries at the frontline level are in a worrying time. It’s clear that while usage is very different between services and even between branches, many services are still seeing reduced usage compared to two years ago, sometimes significantly so. This needs addressing by more than Awards. Frequent readers will know my desire for a national publicity campaign, increased (or at least no more cuts) in funding and a reappraisal of normal library practices such as fines and requiring ID for joining. Awards are not much compared to that. But it’s a start. I look forward to more.

National news

  • 10 November – What’s new? What’s next? – Library Campaign. “Here’s your chance to catch up on all the news you need to know. The Library Campaign aims to give library users and Friends a complete one-stop update, via Zoom. Plus a chance to discuss it all. A lot has happened in public libraries since our last Zoom in May. More is due to happen in the next few weeks. By November 10 we may have a clearer picture of the immediate future –  good and bad. So – what happens next? Where do library users come in? There will be plenty to discuss… You don’t have to be a TLC member to join in.”
  • Baby Babble (A NAG webinar week event) – National Acquisitions Group. Tuesday 9 November 11am. “Baby Babble is a five-week programme for babies aged around 4 to 9 months and their parents/carers. The sessions, developed with speech and language therapists and led by Derbyshire Sure Start librarians, are fun and interactive with activities and ideas to encourage babies’ early communication skills, speech and language. This webinar gives a brief background to the sessions and an overview of pre-pandemic provision. It will go on to illustrate how the librarians have adapted the delivery of the sessions to ensure continuity during the past 18 months, and to secure its delivery for the future.”
  • The Booker Prize Libraries Shortlist event – Reading Agency. “Libraries, colleges and secondary schools are invited to register to host an exclusive shortlist event. Hosted by Coventry University and chaired by Lemn Sissay, the event will feature live readings and a Q&A with the six shortlisted authors. More information about the shortlisted books can be found here.  Participating libraries will receive a link to stream the event. This can either be shown live (29 October, 7-8.30pm) or as a recording in the following days before the winner is announced on 3 November. Participating libraries will also receive additional materials including information about the shortlisted books and a quiz to use during your event. Please fill in this survey to register your interest to host a shortlist streaming event. You can also download a free digital pack to help promote the Prize in your library.”
  • Creating an Impactful and Viable Sustainability Plan – Libraries Knowledge Network. Thursday November 4, 1pm – 2pm. “Join Sara Kassam, Sustainability Lead at the V&A in London, to explore the key principles behind creating a viable sustainability plan. With practical examples and advice, this webinar aims to inspire impactful changes that will support your planning and help underpin your Library’s green initiatives.”
  • Directions for public library technology – Ken Chad Consulting. Survey. “Consolidation of library tech vendors doesn’t seem to be a big issue for librarians. Is that your view? What do you see as the key library tech trends/issues?”

Libraries Connected Awards winners announced – Libraries Connected. “Libraries Connected is delighted to announce the winners of its first ever awards to recognise and celebrate the achievements of library staff over the past year.”:

Health & Wellbeing Award: The Death Positive Library Project Team, Vision Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle. For their work promoting the role of libraries as powerful and compassionate spaces to support conversations around death, dying and bereavement.

Reading Award: Laura Smith, Library Apprentice, City of London Libraries. For her work developing the ‘What Next? Book Recommendation Quiz’ that enables users to get recommendations for eBooks which resulted in a significant increase in eBook loans.

Culture and Creativity Award: Sam Whitehouse, Customer Service Assistant, Wakefield Libraries. For his work on the ‘Cinema in the Library,’ a Libraries Connected Yorkshire and Humber funded project that provides free cultural experiences to local people.  

Information & Digital Award: Basia Godel, Library Assistant, North Yorkshire Libraries. For her work on community cohesion and racial justice during Black History Month by curating an event on the contribution of black people to North Yorkshire and diversifying the library stock.

Children’s Promise Award: Shaun Doyle, Library Assistant, North Yorkshire Libraries. For his work in establishing the Young Adult Library Team made up of younger members of library staff who help the service to reach out more effectively to young people and young LGBTQ people.

Vision and Print Impaired People’s Promise Award: Helen Cunningham, Access and Inclusion Librarian, Derbyshire Libraries. For her work in transforming Buxton Library Listening Group for people with sight loss to 

  • Post Pandemic Panaceas: the role of libraries’ initiatives and impact on the young generation – EuroLis. “The seminar will seek to explore the effect that library closures due to the pandemic had on children and how libraries have reacted. Through online presentations from European speakers, we will learn what creative strategies of connecting young audiences and other digital outreach programs European librarians have come up with and the impact on children’s learning and development.” 3, 10 and 17 November, 4 to 6pm, online conference.
  • Reading Partners Roadshow – Reading Agency. “The Roadshows are an opportunity for librarians and teachers to hear from 29 of our publishing partners about their latest titles, meet authors, and have the chance to ask questions about promotional opportunities. The Children’s Reading Partners Roadshow will take place on Wednesday 10 November and the Adult Reading Partners Roadshow will take place on Thursday 11 November.”
  • Reviving our High Streets: The Role of Libraries – Lorensbergs. “This paper explores the relationship between libraries and high streets. It draws upon the perspectives and plans of several public library authorities and identifies how libraries can bring practical support and a brighter future to our town centres. It includes input from the library services of Bolton, Brent, Fife, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire and North Somerset, who all contributed their perspectives on how their services are being developed to the benefit of their wider environment. Together their examples show how libraries are providing brighter horizons for all those who live in, work and visit our town and city centres.”
  • The terrifying future of Wales’ decimated councils, where millions are being lost each month and broken staff are in short supply – Wales Online. “In Cardiff, 300 staff from St David’s Hall and from the call centre were working on Test, Trace, Protect. The head of libraries was managing the distribution of PPE across the city.”

International new

  • USA – Librarians to the Defense – Progressive. “Despite the challenges, the American Library Association, EveryLibrary, the Progressive Library Guild, #SaveNilesLibrary, and librarians, library workers, and patrons nationwide agree that preserving public libraries as citadels of free thought and intellectual freedom is imperative, and doing so comes down to something basic: community organizing.”

Local news by authority

  • Bradford – Boffins will use Pokemon Go-style technology to bring Bradford’s history to life – Telegraph and Argus. “Bradford Council’s Libraries Service will be taking part in the project, which will see audiences travel back in time via computer enhanced special effects to experience local events where they actually happened.”
  • Calderdale – Flagship development of existing Northgate site to transform future of Halifax – News Centre. [Correspondent reports that “When the Council wished to relocate the Library the buildings were declared ‘unfit for purpose’ and only worthy of demolition. Once the Library had been relocated the former Library building was refurbished as a Sixth-form College. The Council Offices, as you will read, are now refurbished as retail space. The new Central Library is one-third less floor area than the former Library. Services such a bibliographic services, reserve book stock and the School’s service are decentralised at two separate sites one mile distant from the new Library. The former Library was on a prime central site which is now being praised as such for the sixth-form College and retail development.”]
  • Cheshire East – Council offers young people chance to work on digital arts project – Cheshire East Council. “Cheshire East Council’s libraries team is seeking young people from Crewe aged between 11-16 to get involved in a new library-based digital arts project. Luminate Youth is an after-school digital project and Arts Council England funded programme which gives young people an opportunity to try a range of digital arts activities, including: coding, e-textiles, paper circuitry, electronics and digital light art. “
  • Devon – Devon’s libraries ensure county’s traditional folklore is not forgotten – Devon Live. The Folklore Library & Archive has announced it will work with Devon Libraries in order to provide a physical site for its important reference library and document archives at Crediton Library.”
  • Essex – Family Learning Fair comes to Rayleigh Library – Leigh Times. “Simply drop-in and learn new methods to support your child’s learning, fun ways for children to develop their language and communication skills as well as access to free online learning resources.”
  • Greenwich -Better Libraries Recognised In National Awards – Better. Runner up in Health and Wellbeing for Libraries Connected Awards. “Better’s Greenwich Libraries are the home of the Football Library project that has seen dozens of library loans of good quality footballs – made in Kenya by social enterprise ball manufacturer Alive and Kicking. The initiative helps youngsters in Greenwich get more active and socially confident through play, while helping build sustainable communities in Africa. The scheme has been so successful it has now been extended to Better libraries in Bromley and Wandsworth since May 2021.”
  • Oldham – Royton Town Hall and Library revamp finally underway after pandemic delays – Manchester Evening News. “Work to transform the iconic Royton Town Hall and Library into a multi-use community hub has begun. The project will breathe new life into the town hall and adjoining library to create a welcoming, family-friendly venue in the heart of the town, Oldham town hall bosses say. As well as creating an improved library area and better community rooms, there will also be space for a local business to launch.”
  • Isle of Wight – Out on an Island present ‘Our Stories Matter’ documentary with free coffee and croissants – On the Wight. “Thanks to everyone who came along to StoneCrabs’ Out On An Island Pop Up Cafe in Lord Louis Library, Newport on Saturday. Also thanks to library staff who showed  how easy it is to join the library and access books and audiobooks.”
  • Northamptonshire – Kettering gallery, library and museum project starting to take shape – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Plans for a refurbished gallery and improved library in Kettering’s town centre are picking up pace this month – with builders laying steel foundations and new visuals unveiled.” … “It was back in August 2020 that funding was first approved for the project, with South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) awarding £3m from the Government’s Getting Building Fund (GBF) to redevelop the town’s Alfred East Art Gallery and library which sit adjacent to the Manor House Museum.” [A correspondent notes “Lots of money being spent here but most of our community-managed libraries still have to pay rent to the two Unitary Councils unless a town council or other organisation has bought the building” – Ed.]
  • Northern Ireland – Ministers extol virtues of reading to mark Book Week – Coleraine Chronicle. “The First Minister was at Lisburn City Library while the deputy First Minister visited Cookstown Library. They met staff, as well as representatives from Libraries NI and the BBC, who are jointly coordinating Book Week.”
  • North Yorkshire – Libraries Connected awards for top library workers – Northern Echo. “North Yorkshire’s youngest librarians have been crowned winners in an awards scheme that celebrate the achievements of people working in libraries. Basia Godel, 25, won the Information and Digital category and Shaun Doyle, 23, scooped the Children and Young People award in North Yorkshire County Council’s Libraries Connected scheme.”
  • Slough – Slough library consultation will only ‘reduce services’, Tory councillor claims – Slough Express. ““The consultation is clearly about reducing services but not about improving the library services. “All the options we have are either to reduce the hours, reduce the staff or close the buildings. “There’s no option for improving the services.”” but “Council leader James Swindlehurst said: “People are cynical about consultations and think we have decided an answer before we go out which is absolutely not the case in this instance.”
  • Somerset – Library set to close until the new year – West Somerset Free Press. “During refurbishment of the Bancks Street library, which started in March, books and library services were moved to temporary accommodation in the Old Hospital building. Now the county council library service has decided that the hospital building is not suitable for winter use and library users will be asked to renew items online or use other libraries in Somerset.”
  • Suffolk – Heaven & Hell: Sylvia Knights – Eastern Daily Press. “A director of Suffolk Libraries since its creation in 2012, she is passionate about the value of books and learning”
    • New library set to open on site of former middle school – Ipswich Star. “Families in Needham Market will soon be able to step inside the town’s new library, which is set to open in November on the former site of the town’s middle school. Funded by Mid Suffolk District Council, the new library will be more spacious than the current location and will also have bookable meeting rooms. “
  • Swindon – 27 targets Swindon Borough Council wants to achieve by 2025 – Swindon Advertiser. “Parks and open spaces, waste collection and recycling and the council-run libraries service were the services that most people were most satisfied with. “
  • Worcestershire – Spooky activities on offer at Tenbury Wells Library this half-term – Malvern Observer. “Monster Mania Story Time, involving stories, mask making and colouring, will be among the activities on offer”
  • York – Residents are being invited to have their say on plans for a new home for a Library York Mix. “Haxby and Wigginton Library has been without a permanent base for the last 5 years – but now it has found a potential home at Oaken Grove Community Centre. Residents are being invited to have their say on the location. Over the past 18 months, the Council, along with Explore York, has been working with Oaken Grove Community Centre to develop plans to permanently co-locate the library inside the Community Centre..”