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If you think it’s been a while since my last post, just wait for the Single Digital Presence

Editorial

Well, sorry about that. It has been a really long time since the last Public Libraries News post. This is due to me having a bout of glandular fever. It was not fun, it took a long time, and of course news kept on stubbornly happening – in the same way work emails do – when I was off work so it took me a while to catch up.

The preliminary report of the £320k (yes, £320k) British Library research into a single digital presence for English libraries has been produced. It gives a list of options for what a single digital presence may be … and suggests further research. The final phase of research is running until September 2019. and will build upon the June 2019 report to provide practical recommendations for the sector to consider about funding and governance models, drawing on user research and ongoing input from colleagues across the sector. The British Library have recommended that key elements of this work are owned and led by the public sector and will be looking at options for public investment. It is not the fault of the BL team, led by the very capable Liz White,  that I’m really frustrated by this but rather those who have repeatedly kicked it into the long grass in the first place. A single digital presence is up and running in several countries already and the fact that even the form, or source of funding, for an English one hasn’t even been decided upon is deeply frustrating. It suggests there is something spectacularly and embarrassingly wrong with the public library system and how it is run. But then we knew that already (see the structure chart at the top of this page). It’s clear to everyone that we won’t see anything this decade and, frankly, I’m a tad bit worried about whether we get something the next. It may well be beyond 2025 before we get a decent national website at this rate. And we must fear the possibility that we may never meaningfully will.

Something that is happening surprisingly quickly, on the other hand, is the move by libraries towards being fines free. Both Salford and Barnsley have announced they are removing fines since my last post. From my conversations with senior managers, it has become clear that few if any defend fines as an effective tool of getting books back – that would be difficult with the evidence coming in from those who have removed fines that it makes barely any difference – but rather that they’re simply more worried about the money that fines bring in that will be lost. That’s no way to run a welcoming library service free for all but it’s the way that cash strapped managers have to think. But gosh it’s such a good sell for councils when fines are removed that there’s hope many more others will get the needed impetus to do what is right soon.

Changes

Ideas

National news

  • £1 million for museums, archives and libraries in Wales – Government of Wales. “In addressing the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Wales Annual Conference today, the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Lord-Elis-Thomas, announced that museums, archives and libraries in Wales will benefit from nearly £1 million Welsh Government capital funding to develop and enhance their facilities and services”
  • Digital Transformation for UK Public Libraries June 2019: – Five approaches to a “Single Digital Presence” –  British Library. Funded by ACE and Carnegie UK Trust. “This report is an independent study by a small team within the British Library and reflects our provisional evaluation of these options for transformation, which vary in degrees of cost, complexity and feasibility”. Lists five options – one national LMS, “UK-wide content discovery”, “Unified digital lending”, “safe social space” and “one library brand”. No clear path recommended or funding found. Press release.
  • Dwindling UK libraries have ‘fallen into trap’, warns campaigner – BookSeller. “New figures showing the dwindling popularity of UK libraries suggest the facilities have fallen into a “trap” and a new approach is needed, campaigner Tim Coates has said. Coates, a former Waterstones m.d, commissioned consumer research on where readers get their books. Three hundred UK residents were polled about their reading habits for the survey, with the figures showing 87% had “made use of a book” in the previous 12 months.” see also Struggling libraries are ‘trying to do too much’ by offering yoga classes and iPads, former Waterstones boss says – Telegraph. “Tim Coates criticised the “hopeless” direction libraries in the UK have taken over the past 20 years, attributing their declining use to the industry’s obsession with “rigging them out” with the latest technology and trendy activities”. See the full research in this presentation. and Week in Libraries: New Reader Survey Urges Publishers, Libraries to Close Their Data Gap – Publishers Weekly.
  • Entrepreneur hubs – now in your local library – Edinburgh Reporter. “The Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy Kate Forbes launched a new network of business hubs yesterday. The hubs are located in public libraries and are intended to both inspire and support entrepreneurs. This is the Scottish Coworking Network developed by the Scottish Library and Information Council (SLIC) using funding from The Scottish Government. It is hoped that local freelancers and start-ups will use the dedicated space to meet, work and perhaps collaborate.”
  • Free ‘Access to Research’ online search service in public libraries is re-launched – Publishers Licensing Services. “Analysis of the top 20 search terms by month nationwide for 2018 has thrown up an idiosyncratic list of interests, in addition to the perennial concerns of health, history and science. Medical ailments are well represented (‘Caesarean nerve damage’ and ‘Effect tuition fees have on students’ mental health’) but there is also room for the somewhat specialized (‘Llama antibodies’ and ‘Ragwort’).”
  • Funding For Local Authorities In England Has Fallen By 21%, Report Says – Huffington Post. “Funding for English councils fell by 21% between 2009-10 and 2017-18, according to a report by Britain’s leading independent economics thinktank. The funding system for English councils is “unsustainable” and the government must take action to address it, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said. Spending on planning and housing services dropped by more than 50% while leisure and transport departments saw cuts of more than 40%. Researchers for the IFS said things are set to get worse as revenues from council tax and business rates are unlikely to keep pace with rising costs – particularly around social care – and increasing demand for services. “
  • Government’s ‘drastic cuts’ amount to human rights violation, UN says – Metro. “‘The social safety net has been badly damaged by drastic cuts to local authorities’ budgets, which have eliminated many social services, reduced policing services, closed libraries in record numbers, shrunk community and youth centres and sold off public spaces and buildings.”
  • Guardian Books: ‘You can tell a lot about a country by how it treats its libraries’ – Guardian. “I think you can tell a lot about a country by how it treats its library service, and a country’s leader on how they treat their authors. Authors are the canary in the coalmine for so many social issues – we can see in the fluctuations on the bestseller charts how people value their guidance on anything from women’s rights to sovereignty.”
  • Home is where the art is: Developers are including cultural amenities such as arts centres, cinemas and libraries in several new projects – Mail. “In North-West London, two libraries that were closed down have now returned under community control. Cricklewood Library was demolished to make way for flats but concerned locals examined the deeds -– which are owned by Oxford University’s All Souls College. They contained a statement declaring that there had to be a place of learning on the site. A crowdfunding campaign raised more than £100,000 to provide a modern, multi-purpose library. Similar moves were made in Kensal Rise, where a library also had deeds owned by All Souls.”
  • Libraries On The Brink Of Closure As Visitor And Staff Numbers At A Record Low – Speaker. Dudley and Wolverhampton libraries experience examined.
  • ‘Libraries protected me at my most vulnerable’: Kerry Hudson on why libraries can’t be lost – Penguin. “Lowborn author Kerry Hudson is proudly working class, but she was never proudly poor. The poverty she grew up in was grinding and often dehumanising. She shares the vital role that libraries and books played in her life, and why we must do everything in our power to protect them.”
  • Libraries resources – Arts Council England. Links to all reports produced by ACE.
  • Libraries saved me when I was vulnerable. I won’t desert them now – Big Issue. Kerry Hudson: “On Twitter I asked for stories from people from marginalised backgrounds who wouldn’t be doing what they now are without libraries. Over 200 deeply moving stories flooded in. Each was unique but many aspects of the stories overlapped, circles within circles, a Venn diagram of the true significance of libraries. Stories came from those who were in care, those from chaotic, poor or abusive households, those who were bullied, those with disabilities or mental health problems, those who were LGBT, those who just needed a place they wouldn’t be turned away from. Though many said that without those loaned books they’d have remained near uneducated or would never have gone to university, many more told me libraries also offered them desperately needed escape, safety and possibility where none existed otherwise.”
  • Library volunteers filling in for full-time staff after Tory cuts, says Labour – Mirror. “tatistics from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy show that between 2010/11 and 2017/18, the number of paid staff in libraries in England, Wales and Scotland plummeted by 7,538. In England, where the Tories were in power throughout, overall numbers dropped by 6,657 – some 35%.” … “Falls were less steep in Labour-controlled Wales where numbers declined by 19% – equating to 225 paid workers. And in Scotland, where the nationalists have been in power, the plunge was 646 paid staff – 24%. At the same time, the number of volunteers rocketed in all parts of the country.” … “Labour’s Deputy Leader, Shadow Culture Secretary Tom Watson, said: “Library volunteers are the last line of defence between central government cuts and losing library branches altogether. “Volunteers are important to our public libraries, but so are professional staff with the expertise to support library users’ varied needs.”
  • Middlesbrough Central Library: Hugs, sleep and Islam for Dummies – BBC. “Libraries are more than buildings with books in. They are free gateways to infinite worlds and providers of help, advice and unexpected acts of kindness. As part of We Are Middlesbrough, the BBC has been finding out how the town’s central library cares for its people.”
  • National portfolio libraries: One year on – Libraries Connected. “Earlier this month, the Arts Council hosted an event in Birmingham where the six library services who are part of their National Portfolio could share and reflect on their activities over the past year. A vast range of activities were unveiled, with each library service producing a cultural programme tailored to their local communities.”
  • Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons on 23rd May 2019 – They Work For You. Rupa Huq MP: “The Manic Street Preachers said “Libraries gave us power”, but since 2010, 230,000 library opening hours have been lost and 127 libraries in England have completely shut their doors. I have three under threat in my constituency. I listened to the Minister’s answer. What advice or assistance can he give Ealing Council, which is struggling to keep its statutory services going with a 64% cut from the Government, to keep these engines of social mobility alive?”. Michael Ellis MP: “I would ask Ealing Council, as with other councils, to look at local authorities that are investing in libraries. Local authorities around the country of every political hue are opening, expanding and developing libraries. The first reaction to those facing budgetary challenges ought not to be to cut cultural items, but to provide support for them, and other local authorities have proven that they can do it.”
  • New £500,000 public engagement funding programme for UK libraries now open – Carnegie UK. “The new phase of the Engaging Libraries programme, worth £500,000, will offer around twenty selected projects direct project funding alongside a range of support and opportunities to build their skills.  We hope that this programme will inspire an exciting and dynamic range of new projects and initiatives, building on the success of phase one, which ran during 2017/8.  Engaging Libraries Phase 1 highlighted the enduring unique and important role that public libraries play in local communities across the UK as free, safe and trusted spaces, ideal for facilitating discussion and debate about a wide range of challenging subjects.”
  • North Wales hospitals, GP surgeries and libraries to benefit from £7m digital boost – News from Wales. “The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has approved up to £7million for the area to make the switch from copper-based services to ‘gigabit capable’ full-fibre optic provision, as part of its Local Full Fibre Network (LFFN) Programme. The move will provide locations including GP surgeries, libraries, hospitals and social services with resilient, cost-effective ultrafast broadband connectivity which can be upgraded in the future as new technologies emerge.”
  • Queen’s Birthday Honours: Lancing founder of children’s Summer Reading Challenge awarded MBE – Worthing Herald. “Anne Sarrag, 55, has been included in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her services to improving access to reading in the UK. With a career spanning three decades, Anne is perhaps best known for her work as the co-founder of LaunchPad, a charity that worked to promote library services to children and families. ” and her work at The Reading Agency.
  • Reading SightShare the Vision. “Readingsight.org.uk, is the newly updated, one-stop shop for a range of professionals to find information that will help them to support visually and/or print impaired readers. The website relaunch comes during the annual Make A Noise in Libraries fortnight which closes tomorrow. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Get Connected’ and libraries across the UK have organised events and raising awareness around all that they do to help people with sight loss to continue reading. The fortnight is led by Share the Vision and RNIB.”
  • A room is not just a room: The Library as shared place and why it matters to communities – Christian Lauersen. “This piece is gonna be about why public places matters, how to work with public places and to wrap it up, the library as a public shared place and why it is so important to communities. This will not be about library décor, library architrchture or library design.”
  • Twine – Free bundle of digital tools offered by Power to Change to Community Managed Libraries – Community Managed Libraries Network. “Twine allows you to log volunteer hours and visitor footfall quickly and digitally and then use this digital data to create efficient reports. It is designed overall to make reporting on volunteer and visitor stats faster and easier. It’s been designed with simplicity in mind and overall is very easy to use. “
  • Veteran librarian from Havant is made an MBE for her impressive career – Portsmouth Herald. Gillian Harris, ” ‘I am amazed and deeply humbled to be nominated for an MBE, and proud on behalf of all the many very hardworking and dedicated people I have worked alongside in my career – in Tower Hamlets and with CILIP, SLG, ILIG and Ascel”
  • Vincent the therapy rat travels to schools and libraries to help children learn to read – Metro. “Vincent is a therapy rat, heading into schools and libraries to help children learn to read. To be clear, this is not a genius rat able to sound out words and teach children about spelling and grammar. He’s there to provide comfort and a non-judgmental ear for kids who need a confidence boost when it comes to reading aloud.”

  • Welcome to Library Island – Dr Matt Finch. Full text needed for roleplay training game designed to help library staff think strategically and secure funding. See Library Island Is Here. “This interactive training activity helps participants to explore strategy, innovation, and the messy business of working with communities. We’ve spent the last two years perfecting Library Island with university staff, health workers, museum professionals, students, and, yes, librarians. The free CC-licensed print-and-play kit is now available for download in PDF format. Feel free to adopt it, adapt it, and make your own visit to Library Island.

  • Welsh Libraries at the Beating Heart of their Communities – Business News Wales. “Living Well in Wales is a nationwide initiative that brings together public libraries and partner organisations to highlight the important role libraries play at the heart of their local communities  and promote the thousands of events and activities promoting health and wellbeing held in libraries each year.”

International news

  • Australia – How libraries became tourism hotspots – Arts Hub. “Globally, libraries have been adapting. Professor Stuart Kells takes a tour of the world’s best and discovers why they are still vital.” … “So what did we learn from all this library touring? Reports of the death of the library are certainly exaggerated. People, including young people, continue to use and appreciate libraries. People are still investing in libraries, and they are still buying and reading books. But the libraries and their custodians are engaged in hot battles on multiple fronts, including the fight against underfunding and creeping volunteerism, and the epochal clash between analogue and digital content.”
  • Canada – Inter-library loans to be revived in north after outcry – Star. “Inter-library loans will resume in northern Ontario starting in June — but with the future of such loans in the southern part of the province still in limbo, it remains unclear how much of the popular service will return. And local libraries are also raising concerns about the government’s huge funding cut to the two provincial organizations that co-ordinate the book sharing, and the impact that will have on other crucial services and support the two provide.”
  • Critics of Millennium library security measures demand changes ahead of public report – CBC. “Broad and Millennium For All have spoke out against the security measures which include bag checks and handheld metal detectors since they went into place late in February. Last month, the group held a silent ‘read-in’ event in the lobby of the library near the screening area. Library management originally instituted the policy to crack down on the rise of serious violent incidents and threats which they said had increased by 75 per cent since 2013.”
  • Halifax libraries join nationwide movement towards free menstrual products -Atlantic CTV News. “Some of the products are donated by community groups, Kachan said, but the library system foots the bulk of the cost as part of its operating budget. “It’s really an extension of providing toilet paper and soap,” Kachan said. “These are basic hygiene products … that allow people to deal with the physiological realities of their day.”
  • Eire – Old tomes return home as libraries close the book on late fees – Times. “The abolition of library fines at the start of the year has led to books being returned to public libraries after decades out on loan.”
  • USA – In One Year, People Visited Public Libraries More Than a Billion Times – IMLS. “More than 171 million registered users, representing over half of the nearly 311 million Americans who lived within a public library service area, visited public libraries over 1.35 billion times in 2016.”
  • USA – Librarians Are Trying to Encourage Children to Read—by Bringing Books Straight to the Laundromat – Mother Jones. ” thousands of families are benefiting from storytimes and bookshares in laudromats across the country. Adam Echelman, executive director of Libraries Without Borders, a nonprofit that aims to bring knowledge and information to those most in need worldwide, says, “You’re able to hold programs at a time and place that really meets people where they are. You have a captive audience, families return weekly, and it’s open all the time.”
  • USA – Library Could Do Away with Overdue Fines – Loudoun Now. ““I think that … the purpose of a library is to provide free and equal access to every citizen,” said County Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large).”
  • USA – Library innovation with Maxine Bleiweis and Bill Derry – Princh. “We hear about libraries that are “innovative”, but what does that really mean? What is library innovation? What makes a library innovative? Can one characteristic or initiative make a library innovative?” see also Liquid Libraries – Alcohol and Libraries – Princh.
  • Local news
  • Aberdeen – Six Minutes a Day: Aberdeen library launches reading challenge – Evening Express. “Aberdeen Reads is open to everyone and the city council is urging people to get their family and friends involved in the challenge too. It involves reading for at least six minutes every day and can include books, newspapers, magazines or other material. The project also features a number of mini challenges every week to help people explore their local libraries.”
  • Aberdeenshire – Scoop up books to win ice cream prize – Inverurie Herald. “This year, the library service is going to award one of these children the title of “Aberdeenshire Star Reader” and the winner will be awarded a prize kindly donated by Mackie’s of Scotland – £100 Book Gift Card and a year’s supply of Mackie’s Ice Cream.”
  • Barnet – Save Barnet Libraries: Campaigners ‘cautiously optimistic’ after council expands scope of review – Ham and High. “At a meeting of the town hall’s community leadership and libraries committee, the committee accepted an opposition amendment put by Labour’s Cllr Sara Conway to widen the scope of the intended review so that it now also will consider the impact of the loss of space at libraries and the impact on disabled people.”
  • Barnet Council denies library ‘cover-up’ claims – Times series. “The council has denied claims that an upcoming review of libraries involves a “cover-up” of the impact the cuts will have on disabled people and other groups. Campaigners from Save Barnet Libraries slammed a planned evaluation of the borough’s libraries as falling “far short of what is necessary” and demanded a “full and transparent inquiry” into cuts to the service.”
    • Serious concerns over Barnet libraries after shake-up – This is Local London. “Locked toilets, a dead rat and a man openly watching porn are just some of the problems recently faced by people using the borough’s libraries. They were among a range of serious concerns raised by residents and councillors calling for a far-reaching review of Barnet’s library service, which has undergone sweeping changes over the past few years.”
  • Barnsley – Library fines scrapped and debts cleared in Barnsley – Star. “From July 1 no further fines will be issued for books which are overdue and outstanding fines will also be removed, in a change which also ends the use of reservation fees for those requesting books not in stock at their local branch. The change means fines will never be issued against users of the new flagship Lightbox central library, due to open in May Day Green this summer. Councillors hope that removing fines will take away a stigma which could discourage parents from taking their children into libraries, if they have had bad experiences with being fined in the past.”
  • Bolton – Ian Savage: Why libraries matter so much for young minds – Bolton News. “The former Tesco Metro supermarket building in Market Street will be demolished and the library and health centre built on the site. The CGI images accompanying the application look pretty impressive. What particularly pleases me is that under this plan a library will remain in Little Lever.”
  • Bradford – BookStart Bear celebrates Silsden Library’s second birthday – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “Silsden’s library, which was formerly run by Bradford Council, reopened in the town hall under the management of volunteers on June 9, 2017.”
  • Brighton and Hove – Brighton librarian awarded British Empire Medal – Argus. “Her most significant achievement has been the success of the Jubilee Library in Jubilee Street, Brighton, which has been in the top six most popular of all public libraries in the country every year since it opened in 2005.”
  • Bromley – Workers at 14 libraries in Bromley to go on strike – London News Online. “Workers at 14 libraries have voted to go on strike on June 6 to protest against low pay and increased workloads caused by lack of staffing. The 14 libraries are in Bromley borough and 98 per cent of the 50 library staff voted for the day of action after a long term dispute with employers Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL).” see also Bromley library workers to strike again over pay and working conditions – News Shopper.
  • Buckinghamshire – Nationwide cuts to libraries set to hit Buckingham – Buckingham Today. “Just 12 weeks after heartily celebrating the 70th anniversary of Buckingham Town Library, staff have been told they must reapply for their jobs … Staff are having to reapply for their own jobs and there are going to be less jobs. The narrative won’t be about that and you won’t be told about that but it’s really not very good that councillors come to be photographed with the wonderful staff and then the next week they have to reapply for their jobs. You can think what you like about that but I don’t think it’s very proper.”
  • Cambridgeshire – Refurbishment of Soham Library underway along with relocation of pre-school – Ely Standard. “Council bosses say the building is set to create a new welcoming, flexible and accessible library space and support the delivery of local services. This will include Neighbourhood Cares, which helps people find the support they need locally to help them live independently. Work started at the end of April but to minimise disruption and ensure the refurbishment phase is carried out safely and efficiently, the library will be closed to the public from Friday June 7 for around four weeks.”
  • Camden – Highgate library invites residents to test out its new digital tools – News Camden. “Highgate library is giving residents the opportunity to spend time testing out brand new digital equipment, including a virtual reality headset, a 3D printer, tablets, robots, e-newspapers, new PCs, self-service kiosks and much more.”
  • Carmarthenshire – Carmarthenshire’s library service is best in Wales – South Wales Guardian. “…library service is a model for the rest of Wales, according to a Welsh Government report. The council has been praised for its commitment to the future of its library service and for its forward-thinking approach in creating a new digital learning environment alongside its more traditional offering.”
  • Conwy – Mobile and home library service could be amalgamated under Conwy proposals – Rhyl Journal. “Housebound people in Conwy could lose a service that sees library books delivered to them by council staff. Members of the county’s finance and scrutiny committee will meet on Wednesday to discuss plans that could see the mobile and home library service amalgamated. As part of the changes, some housebound residents would be asked to have family members pick up books for them.”
    • Half of county’s mobile library stops to be scrapped – North Wales Live. “People currently receiving the housebound service will continue to receive it, but new applicants for the service will be asked if they have alternative ways to access library services, such as getting the assistance of family members. In a review of services, which included a public consultation, officers have proposed that 68 of the mobile service’s 120 stops will cease in the future”
  • Cornwall – Future of St Just Library secured – Coast FM. “St Just Library has been safeguarded for the community as part of a new partnership between the town and Cornwall Council. Under the agreement the library will transfer to the town council after alterations have been completed. The town council office will be relocated in part of the library building so visitors can access a range of services in one location.”
    • Perranporth Library transferred to Perranzabuloe Parish Council – Packet. “The future of Perranporth Library has been safeguarded after a new agreement which will see it transferred to Perranzabuloe Parish Council today. The arrangement, which is part of Cornwall Council’s devolution programme, means the library will continue to provide all the key services essential to a modern library as well as access to a range of Council services. Perranporth Library is remaining part of the countywide service meaning customers will keep their existing library cards and can still visit, borrow and order books online from other libraries in Cornwall.”
  • Croydon – Libraries become sell out venues – Thornton Heath Chronicle. “Rebecca Kenny narrates Prokofiev’s symphonic which is touring four Croydon libraries including Thornton Heath Library on May 30 between 2-3.30pm.” … “The counci l has unveiled  a 10-year plan to transform the borough’s libraries into thriving cultural hubs  with investment to increase the number of books as well as  encouraging creativity from live performances to exhibitions and workshop”
    • Petition to save Croydon libraries branded ‘nonsense’ by cabinet member – Guardian series. “A petition to save four Croydon libraries has been branded a ‘nonsense campaign’ by the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport. Last week Croydon South MP Chris Philp started a petition against “secret plans to close four libraries”. He claims that Bradmore Green (in Coulsdon), Purley, Sanderstead and Shirley libraries are all in danger of closure. But Croydon Council is adamant that it will be keeping all 13 of the borough’s libraries open.”
    • Plans to refurbish Croydon’s libraries given public backing – Guardian series. Norbury: “More than 150 people attended an open day event hosted by councillors and council staff, filling out feedback forms to contribute their opinions on proposed designs. The refurbishment, which is due to start over the summer, will include a full roof replacement, upgraded ICT, redecoration and new furniture.”
  • Cumbria – Work of Barrow library praised – Mail. “A report to county councillors said: “Barrow Central Library is a well-used community resource open to all and already attracts many community groups.” “With free WIFI and free PC usage, more people are using the library to access services and by improving the flexibility of the building to allow a better customer and community experience, it is hoped that more services and activities can continue to be delivered from this building in future.” Works costing up to £1 million are planned to redevelop the library and are currently going through the planning process.”
    • A new chapter: Shed turned into library – North West Evening Mail. Library opened in shed by volunteers after cut to mobile library service.
    • Libraries recognised for support work – News and Star. “Libraries in Carlisle and Penrith have been awarded special status. They are two of six libraries across Cumbria to receive ‘healthy status’ for their work in supporting their communities. As part of the Healthy Library Initiative, library staff were trained in mental health first aid, dementia awareness, and suicide awareness amongst others. “
  • Dorset – Help make libraries the exciting hubs that people love – Dorset Echo. “Dorset Libraries are looking for adult volunteers as part of its latest recruitment drive. ”
    • Weymouth Library will close for two weeks to undergo £550k refurb – Dorset Echo. “As reported, the town’s central library is undergoing a £550,000 refurbishment that will see other services based there. Dorset Council says the revamp – in which it will transform into a library and learning centre – is approaching the final stages. But it will have to close later this month while work is carried out. Work is said to be progressing well and the areas on the first floor are now complete with a new meeting room for community use, interview rooms, public and staff toilets including an accessible toilet and a shared office space.”
  • Durham – New cycle stations in County Durham aim to encourages bike and book lovers alike – Northern Echo. “The Durham County Council Love Reading, Love Cycling initiative encourages greener modes of transport, bringing together active travel, the joy of reading and the use of libraries as social hubs, to increase health and well-being. Belmont Library has already benefitted from the scheme, with new cycle parking installed, as well as the provision of Bike Easy books and special bike seat covers to anyone using the bike stands.”
  • Ealing – Council selling books from libraries in Ealing for just 7p – My London. “Council figures show that since February last year 6,286 books were sold to Revival, a company that specialises in on-selling, rehoming and recycling old books. In exchange the council received £440.02.Campaigners trying to save Ealing’s seven threatened libraries have voiced concern about the sales.”
    • Akuba Reads ‘Hands Off’ @ Greenford SOS Library March, May 2019 – Akuba. “Akuba (Grace Quansah) reads a second version of ‘Hands Off’ at the Greenford Library March to Save Seven Libararies in the borough of Ealing from threatened closures.  There is also a small snippet of footage of the March, credited to Oliver New”
  • East Riding of Yorkshire – Summer of rockets and reading as libraries blast off for Space Chase challenge – Bridlington Free Press.
  • Edinburgh – Corstorphine Library closing for a few days – Edinburgh Reporter. “Corstorphine Library will close on Saturday 22 June 2019 for planned internal plasterwork repairs to take place and will reopen on Wednesday 26 June.”
  • Essex – Parents and children march against proposed library closure – East Anglian Daily Times. 70 march for Coggeshall Library:  “On Saturday, May 18, marchers met at Honywood School before walking to St Peter’s Primary School and continuing to the library where they enjoyed some funny children’s poems from poet and author Anne Boileau. ”
    • Austerity threatening our right to protest peacefully – Gazette Standard/Letters. “Essex Police is using the most underhand tactics to prevent legal, democratic, and peaceful protest marches taking place as their response to cuts. I have been involved in the organisation of protest marches in Essex going back to the Eighties and Essex Police had only ever been highly cooperative.”
    • Author Jacqueline Wilson backs campaign against Essex library closures – Southend Standard.
    • Authors, poets and journalists slam library closure plan -Times series. “Children’s book author Michael Rosen has joined the growing list of prestigious writers who have voiced their concerns against Essex County Council’s proposal to close up to 44 libraries in the county Michael shared his views on Twitter after seeing a video of an 11-year-old library user rallying crowds at the Young People’s March for Libraries in Colchester and then responded in a post.” AL Kennedy, Jojo Meyes and Kes Gray also respond.
    • Campaigner’s bid to have MPs discuss library axe plans – Gazette News. “Mr Walker, leading a group of 35 campaigners, has secured approval to launch a petition to the Government. The petition, which will be considered for debate in Parliament should it reach 100,000 signatures, is looking for an increase in funding for library services.”
    • David Baddiel and Michael Rosen back Essex libraries campaign – BBC. “Essex-born singer Billy Bragg has also tweeted his support on social media, as well as children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson. Essex photographer Tessa Hallmann took pictures of the celebrities holding placards supporting the cause.”
    • Manningtree library campaigner at Chelmsford march – Standard series. “Manningtree campaigners joined 700 protesters as they took to the streets of Chelmsford to march on County Hall on Saturday.”
    • Only people who want to close libraries are Tory county councillors – Halstead Gazette / Letters. “The only people who seem to support closures are the Conservative county councillors, all of whom have now voted against three motions that would have saved the libraries.” … “It was sad that not a single Conservative councillor or MP came to the march to hear first hand from children, poets and regular people about why a library is important to them”
    • Priti Patel hits out at Essex County Council over libraries axe plan – Gazette Standard. ““I am furious so many libraries in my constituency face the prospect of closure and since the proposals were published in November. “I have been in extensive correspondence with Essex County Council to make clear my serious concerns and throughout this period I have been consulting parish councils across the constituency to look at ways to save our libraries. “21,000 people responded to the consultation, demonstrating the strength of feeling there is against these closures.”
    • UK authors rally to save Essex libraries – Books and Publishing.
  • Flintshire – Delyn’s Assembly Member says library investment will boost ‘education and culture offer’ – Leader. “Flint Library is one of four libraries in Wales to benefit from nearly £1 million Welsh Government capital funding to develop and enhance their facilities and services. The Transformation Capital Grant Programme is supporting, museums, archives and libraries to transform services for users, and ensure their future sustainability. Hannah Blythyn AM said: “This is really good news for Flint Library and the Welsh Government investment in Flint is most welcome.”
  • Gateshead – Three Gateshead libraries to be transferred to community organisations that run them – Chronicle Live. Rowlands Gill, Whickham and Fellng: “the volunteer groups are set to be offered short term leases of the buildings. According to a report due to be heard by cabinet next week the lease will be “on a full repairing and insuring basis” and rent free.”
  • Gloucestershire – People who can’t visit local library could have books delivered to their homes by electric vehicle – Gloucestershire Live. “A new hybrid or electric vehicle would be bought to deliver pre-ordered books to residents who cannot visit their local library due to physical disabilities or lack of transport. The delivery vehicle would also be used to drop off and pick up books to various collection points in Gloucestershire.” … “There is an existing mobile library which delivers books to residents across Gloucestershire, but the county council said it needs repairs totalling £28,000 and cannot guarantee is would remain roadworthy.”
    • Gloucestershire libraries join #Bookface campaign – BBC. “Libraries across Gloucestershire have been merging books with staff members for the #Bookface campaign. The initiative is designed to encourage people to use their local libraries whilst having fun at the same time. Staff members go to great lengths to match their look to characters on the covers of their favourite books to make the photos look as realistic as possible.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries and social services under threat in new £80m spending cuts drive – Advertiser and Times. “The latest suggestions include shutting libraries and increasing reliance on volunteers, adding fees for parking at country parks, turning off streetlights for longer, and extending charges for non-household waste at recycling centres.”
  • Hertfordshire – Hertfordshire Librarian recognised in Queen’s Honours – Hertfordshire Libraries. “Under his leadership, Hertfordshire Libraries were one of the first in the country to have self-service and Wi-Fi across all sites, as well as helping to develop volunteer-partnered libraries”
  • Lancashire – Use it or lose it: Friends of Fulwood Library out to revitalise Preston library – Lancashire Post. “Thankfully reopened a year later following a change in political stewardship at County Hall, Fulwood Library now has a new support group at the helm, a group of bibliophiles ready and willing to turn what has proved to be a well-loved library into even more of a community hub. Enter, the Friends of Fulwood Library. Established as part of a Lancashire County Council initiative, the group aims to promote the library’s myriad events, as well as the sheer pleasure of reading. Now boasting around 40 members, the Friends of Fulwood Library launched their group with an event last month, signalling their intent to get Fulwood reading and using the library more and more with an afternoon of poetry, music, activities, and refreshments.”
    • Chatburn Library set to reopen … three years after it closed – Clitheroe Advertiser. “Book lovers will be delighted to hear Chatburn Library is set to be reopened with a special event on July 1st by County Coun. Albert Atkinson. At a recent meeting, cabinet agreed a proposal to reopen the library and reinstate the running of it from Chatburn C of E Primary School, on Sawley Road. Work needed at the school to make it suitable for use as a library started on May 7th. Under the previous administration 26 of the county’s 73 libraries were closed towards the end of 2016”
  • Lincolnshire – Libraries smash two-million lending target – Skegness Standard. “Over the past 12 months, a record two million items, including books, e-books and DVDs, have been borrowed from Lincolnshire’s 15 core libraries, mobile libraries and e-services, a rise of 3 per cent, smashing previous records. In addition, 2018/19 has seen more than 5,000 events held within the county’s core libraries, attended by over 68,000 local people. Some of the most popular activities have included a Harry Potter Book Night and the Summer Reading Challenge, designed to engage more people with the joys of reading through imaginative activities and fun costumed events. The Book Bingo family reading challenge, which invited families to read a range of books from suggested categories to be in with a chance of winning a prize, involved nearly 400 families and highlighted the benefits of inter-generational reading.”
  • Merton – Nearly 100k granted to Merton libraries to improve special needs facilities – Wimbledon Guardian. “The project is being funded by a £94,826 Arts Council England grant”
  • Northamptonshire – Dementia day care centre to move out of Higham Ferrers due to library closure – Northants Telegraph. “Cando Care, which provides care and social activities for 16 people five days a week, is set to move out of its current location in Midland Road, Higham Ferrers, and set up 2.5 miles away at Irthlingborough library after Northamptonshire County Council decided to stop providing a library service in the town. Last week the community group proposing to take over the library decided to step down, saying the financial commitment being asked by the council was too much.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library helpers celebrated during Volunteers Week – North Yorkshire County Council. “From hosting under-5s storytimes to delivering books to housebound customers, volunteers are vital to the running of libraries.”
    • Council warned to fulfill statutory library duty – Craven Herald. “A council which saved £1.4m by handing over 33 libraries to varying levels of community responsibility has been warned it must continue to fulfil its statutory duty. A review on the second anniversary of the North Yorkshire County Council cost-cutting measure has found while the changes have led to library opening hours increasing, maintaining the services with volunteers was of “greatest concern”. A report to the authority’s corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee has found since the changes were introduced in 2017 library opening hours across the county have increased.”
    • Libraries honoured during Volunteers Week – North Yorkshire News Room. “Grassington hub and community library has been named North Yorkshire’s library of the year”
    • Praise for vital services of community libraries – Gazette Herald. “Helmsley, Norton Hive and Derwent Valley Bridge in West Ayton were among those recognised by North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). The awards were announced by the chair of NYCC, Councillor Jim Clark, during a series of events he attended to celebrate Volunteers Week. Cllr Clark said: “I have been privileged during Volunteers Week to meet so many people who generously give their time and skills to support their communities in so many ways.”
    • Knaresborough Library launches autism friendly chill out room – Harrogate Advertiser. “Toys, mood lighting, and a dark tent are among the autism friendly equipment on offer in a new chill out room at the popular facility. The area, funded by The Forest of Knaresborough Masonic Lodge, will be used every Friday from 5.30pm to 6.30pm. It is also available on request at other times.”
    • North Yorkshire council’s pledge to continue support for libraries – Darlington and Stockton Times. “The statement by North Yorkshire County Council, which saved £1.4m by handing over 33 libraries to varying levels of community responsibility two years ago, followed a number of concerns being raised over the authority fulfilling its duty under the Public Libraries Act to run a service which takes account of the needs of communities … A meeting of the council’s corporate and partnerships overview and scrutiny committee heard while library opening hours across the county had increased since the changes, the improved service had come at an extra cost to residents despite the county council providing support staff”
  • Nottingham – Internationally acclaimed architects appointed to design Nottingham’s new Central Library – West Bridgford Wire. “the Council wants to feature the best children’s library in country.”
  • Oxfordshire – Charlbury Library hugely popular since community centre move – Oxford Mail. “New membership applications at Charlbury Library increased by 44 per cent in its first year in operation, while 2,219 items were issued on Sundays alone. Meanwhile, since moving to the town’s community centre in 2017, the library’s self-service machine usage has increased by 65 per cent.”
  • Salford – Salford council scraps overdue library book fines, saying it doesn’t want readers and families to ‘worry’ about daily charge – Manchester Evening News. “Salford council hope the move will open up the city’s libraries to all and said it didn’t want readers to ‘worry’ about incurring daily charge …The move in Salford comes at a time when town halls across the country are shutting library doors to save money. The city however has invested in its services and resisted any notion of closures. It’s hoped the move, which came into force on Saturday, would also increase membership and the city’s book offer.”
  • Shetland – Library lending rate best in Scotland – Shetland News. “Shetland Library has the highest booking lending rate per capita in Scotland – and the second highest in the UK. The figures were revealed as part of the Lerwick library’s performance update for April 2018 to March this year. Visitor numbers were up by 8.27 per cent as the library enjoyed increased footfall for a fourth year running. There were a total of 155,064 physical visits during the year, while a total of 5,532 people borrowed books. Issues of eAudio books were up by 187 per cent, while library van users increased by 4.6 per cent. A customer satisfaction survey heralded results of 93 per cent – down by three per cent on the previous year. Social media, meanwhile, was another boon for the library, which has previously hit the headlines for its joshing with the Orkney Library.” … “Fraser added that only Richmond upon Thames (5,279 loans per 1,000 population) bettered Shetland (5,159 loans per 1,000 population) when it came to loan rates in Britain.”
  • Staffordshire – Community inspired art showcased in a new exhibition – Staffordshire Newsroom. ACE funded project involving Staffordshire, Warwickshire & Leicestershire.
    • Glascote Library comes to life with ‘Libraries Live’ scheme – Birmingham Live. Staffordshire uses ACE funding of theatre show to suggest volunteer libraries are “there for everyone”.
    • Queen’s Birthday Honours for Staffordshire – Staffordshire News Room. “An MBE was also awarded to Sue Ball, who has worked in Staffordshire’s public libraries for more than 30 years. Currently responsible for strategy and policy in Staffordshire, in recent years she has overseen the transfer of Stafford and Newcastle town centre libraries into new premises.”
  • Suffolk – Has the bedtime story lost its place in the digital world? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Suffolk librarian and head of service deliveries Krystal Vittles shares some of the great bedtime reads out at the moment – and they are all in stock at Suffolk libraries.” … “Krystal Vittles, head of service delivery at Suffolk Libraries, said: “This isn’t about demonising technology as it has its place when it comes to helping children learn. However, this must be done in moderation and it’s about understanding the right time and place for tech.”
    • Clare library to shut for refurbishment Enjoy Sudbury More. “The facility, in Clare High Street, will be shut between July 1 and 8 for work to improve children’s facilities and provide better storage. The refurbishment has been paid for by developer contribution funds and fundraising from the Friends of Clare Library.”
    • Do you take books out of your local library? – East Anglian Daily Times. “Information collated through a Freedom of Information request has shown that a select group of authors have proved popular with Suffolk readers in the past five years. The data tracked the top 5 books loaned out of Suffolk’s libraries from the years 2014-2018 and also included data from January to May this year.”
  • Swindon – Justin Tomlinson – Swindon Advertiser. “Last week, I was delighted to host the national launch of the incredibly popular Summer Reading Challenge. This is the fifth time I’ve hosted the event in Parliament and it was brilliant to see dozens of MPs from all of the different political parties coming together to champion this fantastic cause.”
  • Wakefield – Get your free crime book and join the Big Read heading north to a library near you – Wakefield Express. “Thanks to his publisher, Orion, 1,500 free copies of the book are available and can be collected at any participating library plus the Harrogate International Festival Office now.”
  • Warrington – Library to close two months to prepare for new life – Warrington Worldwide. “Stockton Heath  Library will be closed for two months while redevelopment work is carried out in readiness for the building’s new life.” … “Not so long ago, Stockton Heath Library was threatened with closure, along with other libraries across the borough. But after a “save our libraries” campaign, plans were drawn up to widen the building’s usage and extend its role in the community. The plans, developed by the South Warrington Libraries Working Group; and SWISH (Friends of the South Warrington Library in Stockton Heath), include: • Upgrading the building for provision of rental areas to ensure income streams • Widening the scope of community engagement with library provision and activities • Adapting the library to better accommodate the range of local needs/disabilities such as dementia or sensory disability • Increasing the building flexibility to extend the potential range of activities, such as literary events or cultural presentations.”
    •  Learning ‘comes to life’ thanks to new augmented reality books Warrington Worldwide. “LiveWire has run a number of recent public workshops at its libraries to introduce library users to the augmented reality technology and books – that feature topics including dinosaurs, extinct animals, ocean predators – with space and science-focused titles coming soon”
  • West Sussex – Shoreham Library 50th Anniversary in pictures – Shoreham Herald.
  • Worcestershire – Pictures: Protestors take to the streets of St Johns against library cuts – Worcester News. “The group, which gathered outside St John’s Library, formed a group and marched through the streets of St John’s to the traffic lights, then performed a lap around the back of the St John in Bedwardine church before arriving back at the library. ”
    • Campaign group celebrates news that Worcester libraries will be saved – Worcester News. “Sean McCauley, who organised the various protests, said: “We are delighted that the library is safe for the time being. “That being said, we would like assurances that the decision to save St John’s and Warndon has not come at the expense of libraries anywhere else in the county.”
    • New library cash vow is welcomed – Worcester Observer. “County council chiefs have welcomed the decision by Worcester City Council to approve £157,000 a year to fund the running costs of both St John’s and Warndon libraries. The future of several of Worcestershire’s libraries have been heavily discussed over the last few months, as almost 2,000 residents had their say on the future of libraries as part of the County Council’s public consultation.”

Someone who should know better in Stroud

Editorial

Yet more “purdah”, where councils needs to be careful about what they say, due to the European elections, so it’s been a quiet fortnight. It looks, on balance, like a good couple of weeks for libraries, with no major cuts outside of Fife and a loss of a mobile in Redbridge. So I’ll include my response to a tweet from someone who should really know better in Stroud.

Changes

National news

  • Author used church event to speak up for all our libraries – Henley Standard. “Sir Philip Pullman is always a crowd-puller and the Friends of Watlington Library drew a full house of book lovers into St Leonard’s Church for a talk titled “Read like a butterfly, Write like a bee”. The talk was structured around anecdotes of Pullman’s reading experiences in libraries public, academic and private. He described libraries as places of enjoyment and discovery, where readers can stumble upon new texts and new writers, both to gain knowledge and to spark the imagination. He recommended browsing the shelves of libraries for surprise finds that broaden the mind and bring unexpected pleasure.”
  • The first-ever virtual reality Doctor Who episode is now available – Fast Company. “The full 13-minute, semi-interactive episode is now downloadable for free from the Oculus Store and Vive Port for use on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. If you don’t have a headset and happen to live in the U.K., the BBC is sharing the virtual episode with more than 40 libraries around the U.K. “
  • Discover the best Northern novels in Read Regional campaign – North Yorkshire County Council. “The campaign celebrates new must-read titles by authors from the North, who have a chance to meet readers in their local libraries through readings and book group discussions. Founded by New Writing North in 2008, the campaign is funded by Arts Council England and is produced in partnership by New Writing North, North Yorkshire County Council and 21 other library authorities.”
  • Inaugural library conference makes noise at leading festival – Harrogate News. “Up to 100 library professionals from across the country are invited to attend the one-day to be held at the 2019 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival this July.Keynote speakers include chief executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley OBE. Also speaking is leading crime author and advocate for libraries, Ann Cleeves, whose Vera and Shetlands series were adapted for ITV and the BBC.”
  • Let libraries help turn your business idea into reality – Evening Standard. “This project will invest in training local librarians to deliver a programme of free, regular workshops for start-ups, as well as tailored, face-to-face advice. It puts an accessible hub for anyone with a business idea into the heart of our communities and opens new doors to more busy Londoners with a burning ambition to be their own boss.”
  • Public libraries are not just about books. At their heart, they are about social equity – Guardian. “Working in libraries I learned so much about the city I lived in. We lose nothing by making them a safe space for the community” … “Ten years ago, I worked for two municipal library services in Melbourne. When I applied for my first library job, I thought that libraries were just about borrowing books, but I quickly realised otherwise. The role of public libraries in our communities is not confined to books – at their heart, libraries are about social equity”
  • Sally Rooney hailed as major literary talent after British Book Awards win – Yahoo. ““I’ve received such enormous support and generosity from my own publisher, Faber & Faber, of course, and also from the bookselling community generally, from libraries and librarians, and the community of people who love books.”
  • Thousands praise library assistant for epic list of things they learnt from job – Mirror. “An unnamed Twitter user took to social media on Wednesday to share a list of things that they’ve learnt about the general public while working at a library – and it’s pretty brilliant.”

International news

  • Canada – Apple saves Carnegie’s flagship library in Washington, DC – Herald. “The restoration, however, just like the strike-breaking wage-depressing Carnegie, is not without its critics. Some question question whether or not the library can remain a free space for the public while also housing a for-profit company’s flagship store. “
  • Denmark – How to Transform Your Library on a Small Budget – Vesthimmerland’s Libraries Story – Princh. “Aars Library, a small local library in Vesthimmerland Municipality in Denmark, worked intensively with the Model Programme’s principles and tools in 2015 to develop an interior design concept on a small budget and based on flexibility and anti-institutionalisation. “
  • Finland – Finland is proof that investing in libraries pays off – On Office. “Finland’s expanding library sector does more than just issue loans, it’s also providing the country’s freelancers with spacious, well-designed deskspace”
  • Global – Integrating Libraries And Museums – Princh. “this integration could present a complementary holistic service where the strengths of both platforms are fused together to provide a synergy of resources for the visitors and surrounding community.”
  • USA – Should a Colorado library publish local news? – Columba Journalism Review. “A thing like a modern library can fund news,” says W. Vito Montone, who moved to Longmont from California two years ago and is helping organize the project. “It’s just a function that belongs in modern information.”” … “What a tax-funded, library-governed local news operation would actually look like in practice is so far unclear—it’s early and the group is still hammering out ideas. “

Local news by authority

  • Barnet – Barnet  Libraries: Campaigners wary as minister clears council over controversial library cuts complaint – Ham and High. “Campaigners have reacted with dismay after a government minister rejected their complaint that changes to Barnet’s library services were unlawful.” … “Arts minister Michael Ellis MP relayed the decision, made by his boss Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright, in writing to Barnet Council leader Cllr Richard Cornelius. Mr Ellis wrote: “The Secretary of State does not consider there to be any serious doubt or uncertainty as to whether Barnet Council is complying with its legal obligations to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service.””
  • Bristol – Opening hours at Central Library will change from next week – Bristol Live. “From May 20 Bristol’s Central Library will return to opening seven days a week. The library in Deanery Road had been closed on Wednesdays since April 2016. But earlier this year Bristol City Council announced it would reopen the library seven days a week following a public consultation.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Awards for Bucks libraries from users – Mix 96. “Four Buckinghamshire libraries have been voted as top local family attractions by users of the family activity app, ‘Hoop’. High Wycombe Library came first and Marlow Library third in the Buckinghamshire ‘Hoop’ awards for ‘Best Free Activities’. Amersham Library came second and Princes Risborough Library third in the ‘Best local Family Service’ category. More than 100,000 votes were cast by users of Hoop which is a website for parents to find family activities in their local area.”
  • Cheshire West and Chester – Funding secured for beginners’ storytelling and writing workshops in Chester and Ellesmere Port – Standard. “The ‘Hear I Am’ project is an eight-week adult storytelling course for beginners taking place at Winsford, Ellesmere Port and Storyhouse libraries. The one and half hour weekly sessions will take place during the daytime and will focus on such areas as inspiration, writing, technique, style and how to perform a story in front of an audience”
  • Croydon – Shhh! Four libraries could be flogged off. Don’t tell anyone – Inside Croydon. “The report, when released last week, names four libraries – Coulsdon, Purley, Sanderstead and Shirley – as suitable for relocation or redevelopment as part of money-spinning property deals.”
  • Croydon ‘committed to keeping libraries open’ as alternative options considered – Guardian series. “Could some libraries in Croydon be run entirely by volunteers, moved to new locations or even closed completely as funding cuts bite in the borough? This was the crucial question put to Croydon Council’s  cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, Councillor Oliver Lewis after a presentation at Tuesday night’s (May 7) cabinet meeting. But he said the council is committed to keeping libraries open and is spending more money on books and refurbishing the borough’s 13 libraries over a ten-year period.”
  • Derby – Historic former Derby library building up for sale – Derbyshire Live. “A building which once housed one of the most popular libraries in Derby has gone on the market after the city council decided against carrying out £1.5 million urgent repairs on it. Instead, Pear Tree Library has transferred out of the Carnegie building where it opened in 1915, to St Augustine’s Community Centre where almost £800,000 is being spent to improve facilities. It is expected to re-open in the near future.”
  • Durham – £2m leisure centre and library in Peterlee to re-open next week – East Durham News. “Peterlee Leisure Centre will reopen to the public next week following a major improvement programme that has included the relocation of the town’s library.” … ““As well as a range of new books, the new library is furnished with modern seating and shelving. It will also offer free wi-fi and computers with internet access.”
  • Essex – Protestors sang “we love our libraries” during Galleywood march – Time series. “500 joined the first protest march in Galleywood’s history. Residents came together to say no to the planned closure of their library. Children were joined by their parents, grandparents, and many other Galleywood residents.”
    • Authors and poets join campaign to save Essex’s libraries – Clacton Gazette. “Children’s book author Michael Rosen has joined the growing list of prestigious writers who have voiced their concerns against Essex County Council’s proposal to close up to 44 libraries in the county.”
    • Labour’s Tom Watson calls for inquiry into Essex County Council’s library closure plan – Gazette Standard. “The council is planning to drastically reduce its library service, closing 44 of its 74 libraries to save £2 million. If these plans go ahead, they will cause huge social and cultural damage to communities, while saving what is a relatively small sum for the council. The strength feeling in the community is clear. More than 50,000 people have signed petitions against the plans and recently hundreds of people protested against the cuts across the county.”
    • Letter: Launch a public inquiry into library proposals – Clacton Gazette. “The strength feeling in the community is clear. More than 50,000 people have signed petitions against the plans and recently hundreds of people protested against the cuts across the county.”
    • “No statistical evidence” suggesting Tory election poor showing influenced by library closure plan – Dunmow Broadcast. “Essex County Council leader David Finch said there was no evidence to suggest the library plan influenced the voting intentions of the electorate. He said: “I don’t think there is any statistical evidence to support the assertion that there was a significant impact in terms of the local election by the libraries consultation.” The Tories suffered heavy losses across the county in the local elections.”
  • Fife – Cuts to Fife school library service mooted amid £600,000 budget cuts -Courier. “Council leaders David Ross and David Alexander said they did not plan any cuts to the service, which delivers collections of books to primary schools across the kingdom to support the curriculum. The controversial move has been mooted by Fife Cultural Trust, which is facing more than £600,000 of budget cuts over the next three years. In an email to staff, seen by The Courier, the trust warned the savings would have the biggest impact on frontline services. The library service and small museums and heritage centres were among the areas at particular risk and staff have been informed. It is understood voluntary redundancies and redeployment of workers are being examined.”
  • Flintshire – Funding boost for Flint Library – Leader. “Aura Wales recently secured £300,000 of funding for improvement works at Flint Library which was through a successful capital grant application to the Welsh Government’s Museums, Archives and Libraries.In addition to the £300,000, both Aura Wales and Flintshire Country Council will also contribute to the development, totalling £360,000 in new investment.” … “The current training rooms and main library will also be redesigned and transformed in order to create more flexible community spaces”
  • Hertfordshire – Work to move Redbourn and Wheathampstead libraries to fire station goes over budget – Review. “n 2014, the county council secured £700,000 from the Home Office for plans to relocate Sawbridgeworth, Buntingford, Redbourn and Wheathampstead libraries in their local fire stations. Buntingford Library was dropped from the plans at an earlier stage, due to local opposition. Now Sawbridgeworth Library will be removed from plans even though the decision not to go-ahead could cost the county an estimated £233,000 in lost funding.”
  • Kent – Tonbridge Library upgrade continues with adult education boost – Times Local News. ““It is notable that Kent has kept every single one of its 99 libraries open.” The facility had faced a cut of 18 hours to its opening times, from 55 hours to 37 – a reduction of one third – under proposals to save money. But following a public consultation, it has been designated as a ‘large town’ library and will now see a reduction of 13 hours, to 42 hours a week.”
  • Lancashire – Preston’s Harris library will not be affected by change of control, councillors told – Lancashire Post. “Users of Preston’s Harris library will not notice any change in the quality of service when day-to-day control shifts from Lancashire County Council to Preston City Council. That was the message from Peter Buckley, member for cultural services at County Hall, as the cabinet approved a proposal to create a single staff team responsible for all aspects of the Grade I-listed building.” … “The change is part of a plan to develop the UK’s first “blended” library, museum and art gallery.” … “The city council will be given control over how the Harris library operates, but an agreement will be put in place to ensure that it remains “consistent” with Lancashire’s other libraries, which are all run by the county council.”
  • Lincolnshire – Library services set to expand in Metheringham after take over of building – Sleaford Standard. “Metheringham has ambitions to expand its library services after being gifted its community library building by the county council. Metheringham Parish Council has announced the news about the hand over after a year of negotiations with Lincolnshire County Council. The Parish Council now owns (on behalf of the community) both the old NHS clinic part of the building and the library part, as well as all of the surrounding land they are located on.”
  • Milton Keynes – Council shortlisted for national ‘caring’ award over its commitment to the Milton Keynes community  – MK Citizen. Co-operative Council of the Year Award: “Organisers say that while many councils have been cutting back, Milton Keynes has bucked the trend and continued investing in new facilities for its communities. In particular, the council has been recognised for keeping all libraries open and building a new £1.2m library in Westcroft while 127 UK libraries have closed.”
  • North Yorkshire – Get involved in futuristic design at Pickering Library – North Yorkshire County Council. “There will be all kinds of creative tech kit made available at the library in Pickering, including small, programmable computers such as Raspberry Pi, Micro:bits and robotic Lego. The library will also be hosting a BBC Virtual Reality Pop-Up Hub, which will showcase a brand new BBC virtual reality experience.”
  • Northamptonshire – Library campaigners have ‘grave fears’ about future of some under-threat libraries Northampton Chronicle. “Library campaigers say they have ‘grave fears’ about the future of some of the 17 Northamptonshire libraries which will be handed over to library groups. Northamptonshire County Council’s cabinet made a decision yesterday (May 14) to move ahead with a plan to only keep 14 of its 36 libraries and hand over another 22 to community groups, five of which will be given statutory protection.”
  • Oxfordshire – Winners revealed in Oxfordshire Libraries’ short story competition – Oxfordshire County Council. “A love story triggered by a provocative car sticker and a tale of magic and suspense involving a necklace with spiritual powers have been chosen as the winners of Oxfordshire Library Service’s Short Story Competition 2019. Burford School sixth-form pupil Becky Davies won the Young Adult Category with her intriguingly-titled entry, Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bacon Lover. And Jane Cammack, from Witney, captured the Adult prize with her story about The Talisman. Both stories will now be available for any library user to read for free on the Overdrive eBook service – the county’s digital library which sits alongside its network of 43 libraries.”
  • Redbridge – Plug pulled on Redbridge mobile library service – Ilford Recorder. “Vision Redbridge Culture and Leisure confirmed it was decommissioning the borough’s mobile service as its 14-year-old bus was in need of replacement and it can’t afford the £300,000 price tag. Angela Banner of Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum said the news is sad for older housebound people and risks creating greater isolation after the borough’s meals on wheels service was axed in 2017.”
  • Staffordshire – Project to transform church into new Lichfield Library wins architectural award – Lichfield Live. “The £1.4m project saw the in Grade II* listed former church building converted into a library and tourist information centre on the ground floor, with a versatile gallery, heritage and performance space on the first floor.”
  • Wakefield – Changes to library fees in Wakefield as new charges brought in -Wakefield Express. “Businesses will now have to pay a £20 fee for displays and exhibitions advertising their activities, while a separate £3 charge for putting up posters within libraries has also been brought in. “Non-commercial organisations” will also have to pay for displays and posters, at half the prices charged to businesses, but community groups will not have to pay anything.” … “However, late fees for books are not increasing, and neither are charges for printing.”
  • Worcestershire – Latest ‘save our library’ protest takes place this weekend – Worcester News. “The group is calling June 6, ‘Library D-Day’, as this is when the authority’s libraries consultation goes to the county council cabinet for consideration. Ahead of this, the group’s latest protest is to be held tomorrow, which is going to include a march through St John’s beginning at 11am, and returning to St John’s Library, Glebe Close, by 11.45am for speeches.”

EveryLibrary and Digital Hubs

Editorial

A quiet week locally due to the elections but two things stand out. One is the partnership with CILIP and EveryLibrary, partly ACE funded, to advocate for public libraries. EveryLibrary are a US campaign group that runs campaigns there to boost library funding, with some success. How their style will work over here is interesting. I’ve already received an email from them asking for money for the project, something which I’ve not seen in the sector before. Perhaps this is something we need. The other thing is digital health hubs. This is the NHS rolling out some services into the high street, including public libraries. The sector has been eyeing NHS cash for years and, with our neutral/welcoming and everywhere selling points, we have something to sell. Hopefully this will be the start of a nice friendship.

Changes

National news

  • Advocating for public libraries – Arts Council England. “As the Arts Council takes the lead on the work of the Libraries Taskforce, its Chair Steven Broomhead, Chief Executive of Warrington Borough Council, looks to the future of libraries and how the Taskforce partners can help shape it.” … “The Libraries Taskforce partners are working together more closely than ever before to achieve an impact on the sector that that will drive the core agenda and help library services to grow and develop. We are adamant that libraries must remain a focus for the decision makers in local and national government and that, in working together by harnessing our collective expertise and brokering power, we can help achieve this.”
  • British Library teams up with ten London boroughs to support entrepreneurs across the capital – London Post. “The British Library’s Business & IP Centre today celebrates the launch of a major new initiative, Start-ups in London Libraries, a three-year project to support London’s entrepreneurs from all walks of life to get their business idea off the ground. This coordinated network of free support for start-ups will officially launch in over 60 public libraries this month, in partnership with ten London borough”
  • CILIP and EveryLibrary Institute announce new partnership for libraries  – EveryLibrary Institute. “CILIP, the UK’s library and information association and the US-based Charitable Non-profit, the EveryLibrary Institute have announced an innovative new partnership to help librarians and information professionals across England build political support and improve future funding for libraries. The new partnership will harness the skills and networks of both organizations to transform the ability of public libraries to engage and demonstrate public support. Thanks to a generous grant from the Arts Council England, the project will allow CILIP to provide a new GDPR-compliant digital advocacy platform for library supporters. The EveryLibrary Institute will collaborate with CILIP and library sector organizations to allow them to:”
  • Digital health hub rolled out across more areas following pilot success – NHS Digital. “A digital health hub piloted in Nailsea has proved to be such a success that the NHS is scaling it up across England, as demand increases from councils in North West London, the Wirral, Blackburn, Middlesbrough and Stafford. 65 High Street, known as ‘Nailsea Place’, is a digital health and wellbeing learning centre. The local venue, which was established in 2018, has become a trusted place on the high street where staff and volunteers can help people to improve their digital skills and confidence, so they can engage with online services. ” … “This second wave of hubs will be in Blackburn with Darwen Library, Staffordshire Refugee Centre (ASHA), a community centre in Saltburn and the Grenfell victims support centre in NW London. “

“In view of  the publication of these documents , the development of “65 High Street, Nailsea” and the forthcoming  creation by Govt.  of a Taskforce on “The Future of the High Street”,, CILIP could do well to bring together a few like minded  Health and Library  Professionals  via the internet  to  prepare  to make a positive contribution to the Taskforce on The Future of the High Street  once it is  formed”. Dr Malcolm Rigler (via email. Contact him via email m.rigler at nhs.net).

  • Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year – Digital Leaders. One of the organisations one can vote for is Somerset Libraries. “The Somerset Digital Skills Talent Academy has delivered eight inspirational hands-on workshops in Taunton Library, showcasing digital skills and cutting-edge technology to groups of secondary school students. Delivered by the private sector in partnership with Somerset Libraries, sessions included film/animation; Robotics and coding; Virtual and Augmented Reality and 3D Printing and Scanning”
  • Libraries Week 2019: Why this year’s event is more important than ever – Lorensbergs. “This year’s Libraries Week will be Celebrating Libraries in a Digital World and it couldn’t be a more timely theme. For the second year running, our public library survey results indicate that libraries are seeing more and more people come in for help with digital skills and services. Almost 50% reported an increase, with most of the remainder seeing stable demand for this support (only one library authority reported a decrease).”
  • Telephone red kiosks become home to mini-libraries, information centre and defibrillators – Denbighshire Free Press. “BT is offering communities across Wales the opportunity to adopt their local phone box for just £1 to turn them into something inspirational for their local area. ” … ” exciting new ventures include conversions to mini-libraries, miniature art museums, cake shops and information centres. “

International

  • Australia – Lost Property clothing library is a brilliant solution to wasteful fashion – Treehugger. “Lost Property is one of these brilliant new clothing libraries. Based in Fremantle, Australia, it is on a mission to fight fast fashion and conquer wardrobe clutter, while still allowing people to indulge their desire for new and trendy styles. “
  • Canada – Halifax Public Libraries cooks up new approach to tackle food insecurity – CBC. “Dahl said for a long time, many librarians kept a box of granola bars in their desks for children who were hungry … The libraries now offer healthy snacks for kids after school and to adults through their “Snack Social” events. … Two kitchens are also going to open later this spring at the Halifax Central Library and the Sackville Public Library to better equip the facilities to offer food workshops.”
  • Global – Building Global Networks for Libraries with Marie Østergaard and R. David Lankes – Princh. “Marie starts the conversations by stating that libraries do not compete with one another, neither for money nor for visitors. As such, a global network is a great opportunity to gather knowledge and ideas from other libraries on how to serve your community better. She also draws attention to Public Libraries 2030 (PL 2030), a Europe-wide attempt to make libraries connect easier.”
  • Malaysia – 10 Stunning Libraries In Malaysia That Will Make Every Book Lover Happy – Says.
  • USA – Library Systems Report 2019 – American Libraries. ” The public library sector has not yet experienced a significant new cycle of innovation. It remains reliant on ILSes that are modified to fill in the gaps required to support critical integrations in ebook lending and other digital offerings. One of the key concerns for public libraries is whether they are poised to enter a disruptive cycle of innovation or if the current pattern of incremental advance­ment will continue.”
  • USA – Jessamyn West on Intellectual Freedom, Creepy Basements, and the Library as a Safe Space – Bookmarks. “libraries also act as a public space, where you can interact with all the public, in a society that is increasingly stratified and where people may only be interacting with people who are “like them” in some regard. You can get things you want to read/watch/view or do, in addition to just having access to things you need. And we’re paid for, public libraries are, by the public. We’re here for you. We won’t rat you out to ICE, we let you read whatever the heck you want, even if you’re a kid, and we offer a warm and safe space with wifi and a clean bathroom where you can be yourself. Obviously not every single library is like this, but it’s what we as a profession aspire to.

Local news by authority

  • Cornwall – Future of Launceston Library safeguarded for the community – Holsworthy Post. “The future of Launceston Library has been safeguarded for the community after a new agreement which will see it transferred to Launceston Town Council on May 1.” … “Launceston Library is remaining part of the countywide service meaning customers will keep their existing library cards and can still visit, borrow and order books online from other libraries in Cornwall.”
  • Denbighshire – Denbigh and Ruthin libraries urge residents to get creative – Free Press. “A series of libraries in Denbighshire are set to take part in Get Creative Week, the annual celebration of cultural activity in Great Britain which encourages people to try their hand at something creative and new in their community.”
  • Essex – Families call for ‘community hub’ to be spared the axe – Clacton Gazette. Despite major protests, Essex still pushing for volunteer libraries. “The campaign continues to positively reach out to Essex County Council and hopes it will change its mind when analysing the value for money the library provides.”

“To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has received on Essex county council’s proposed closure of its libraries. Tom Watson, Shadow DCMS

“DCMS has received a number of representations from local people and bodies about Essex County Council’s proposed Future Library Services Strategy for 2019 to 2024. The Council consulted on this from 29 November 2018 to 21 February 2019. DCMS officials are in regular contact with Essex County Council officers to discuss its libraries proposals and the importance of it meeting its statutory duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient library service. We understand that the Council is currently analysing the responses to the consultation and their aim is to finalise the strategy and present to their Cabinet in Summer 2019. Michael Ellis MP, DCMS”

  • Manningtree streets filled with library protestors – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Hundreds of people took the streets of Manningtree to take part in a noisy protest march against proposed cuts to libraries. The Young People’s march saw children, their parents and other campaigners join together to march from the methodist church in South Street to the town’s library in High Street. Protestors donned fancy dress costumes and musical instruments to make their voices heard.”
  • Mum praises ‘amazing show of community spirit’ in children’s march against library closures – East Anglian Daily Times. “… hundreds of children turning out on the streets, with 400 people taking part in the march in Manningtree. Mum-of-two Holly Turner, who organised placard-making workshops before the Manningtree march, said: “Owners and staff from businesses lined the streets to cheer us on and on return the children filled the stage to chant and sing.
  • Will councillor you vote for fight to keep Essex libraries open? – Halstead Gazette / Letters. “Although I realise Colchester borough councillors have no power or control over Essex Libraries, I appreciate that many local people are outraged at Essex County Council’s proposal to close about 60 per cent of our Essex libraries including Prettygate, Stanway, Wivenhoe, West Mersea and Tiptree and wish to elect local councillors who share their views and will fight to keep these libraries open. With this in mind, I emailed all the group leaders of the political parties that are fielding candidates in the forthcoming Colchester Council elections, plus the independent candidates, to ask them to endorse the above aims of Sole so the electorate know this when deciding to whom they should cast their vote on May 2.”
  • Herefordshire – Library launches new ebook service – Bromsgrove Advertiser. Borrowbox.
  • Lancashire – Harris creates special space in heart of city – Lancashire Post. “Time does not quite stand still, but as befits its location, the city’s Harris Museum, Art Gallery and Library, the step back in time allows you to enjoy spacious surroundings and a new view of the city. The cause for celebration? None other than the library’s one time reading room and more recently its community history library. It officially reopened last Friday as the re-named Heritage Reading Room and the change for those who will remember the former reading room is immense.”
  • Lewisham – The Library: An oasis for me and my daughter Save Lewisham Libraries. “Recently, on a trip to the opticians, my daughter had a complete meltdown. I stood while tears and snot and shouting happened. These events can leave you feeling drained and helpless. Once she had calmed down she elected to go to the library, a place where she feels safe and secure and where she can read, her mechanism to help her cope with life. I walked in and was greeted by a smiling face of a lovely librarian who knows both of us. She had been thinking of us as she had recently checked in a book that she thought my daughter would enjoy. Suddenly, the world felt a much better place. It may have been a small event for the librarian, but it was life affirming for me.”
  • Northamptonshire – Update on library consultation and future service – Northamptonshire County Council.
  • Sheffield – Thousands of pounds in fines for overdue library items – Star. “Since 2011, the council has collected £511,786 in overdue fines for books, DVDs and music.” … “Green councillor Martin Phipps asked about the charges through a written question to the council. He said: “Trafford Council recently abolished late fee fines to try to make their libraries more accessible and well-used and I think this is something we should definitely be looking at.”
  • Suffolk – Skulduggery in Stowmarket could be back in 2020, Suffolk Libraries confirm – Bury Free Press. “Library chiefs are hopeful of attracting more readers into crime fiction after ‘amazing feedback’ from the second Skulduggery in Stowmarket. More than 300 attended talks at Stowmarket Library last weekend from authors including: Charlie Haylock, Jaqueline Beard, Barbara Nadel and Kate Rhodes.” 
  • Vale of Glamorgan – Facelift for Penarth Library – Glamorgan GEM. “Changes to the library’s first floor will include replacing water-damaged carpets and wall plaster, as well as repainting the walls. The area will be reshaped to improve its study facilities, and new furniture and shelving will be introduced. Essential maintenance is also due to be carried out during the refurbishment, including the creation of an exit onto the roof so that gutter may be cleared and inspected regularly. This is following a recent drone investigation, which revealed that gutters overwhelmed with debris were the cause of significant water damage to the library’s interior.”

Purdah and the Commonwealth

Editorial

It’s election week and I know what purdah means so I’m going to keep this simple: read Leon’s article, look at the articles and then re-read Leon’s article on The Library Commonwealth. Thank you.

Changes

National news

  • Artist and author Edmund de Waal hits out at ‘vicious’ library closures – Belfast Telegraph. “One of his creations is a Library Of Exile, featuring almost 2,000 books by exiled writers from Ovid to the contemporary. But the Costa Award-winner told the Press Association that he had also been angered by the closure of libraries closer to home. “In terms of shortsightedness, to close a library in a community is one of the most vicious, violent things you can do to a community,” he said. “You take away all that space for reflection.”
  • The Bookseller’s Library of the Year Award returns – BookSeller. “The Bookseller‘s Library of the Year Award is back for a second year, following Liverpool Central Library’s win of the inaugural prize in 2018. The award, which highlights the work the best libraries of all sizes do to promote reading, literacy, information and the love of books, is sponsored by Rakuten Overdrive and W F Howes, and run in partnership with The Reading Agency.”
  • Do volunteers still have a place in museums and cultural organisations? – Apollo. “Firstly, though, let us not forget that some cultural organisations, especially museums and libraries, are largely or even entirely volunteer-run (something that helps to account for the huge surge in new museums in the UK in the 1980s). These institutions depend on volunteers for their survival. ” … “In the UK there are more and more community libraries, in which local volunteers take on ownership and management, with or without financial support from the local authority.”
  • ‘Fake news’ detection tool launches in UK – The News. “The company also confirmed it was launching a Media Literacy Partnership programme with UK libraries, which encourages them to introduce NewsGuard onto the computers used by library visitors.NewsGuard said it also planned to launch in Germany, France and Italy ahead of the European Parliament elections in May”
  • How We Work Towards A Society With No Food Banks – Huff Post. “In Lewisham we are about to open donation points at our town hall and council-run libraries to support local food banks.”
  • Library Commonwealth – Leon’s Library Blog. “This post is something of a swansong for me (although I know better than to say never again!). But I’ve been writing this blog since October 2013 and now seems the right time to take a step back.” … “Libraries are facing an existential crisis. Not because they are danger of disappearing altogether but rather a crisis of identity; who they are, what they are, what they stand for.” …. ” there is also a deeper malaise and it’s one that as a profession we all have to accept responsibility for. And that is a loss of belief in the profession itself. We have lost our sense of identity and by doing so lost our sense of purpose.” … “the damage done nationally to the underlying infrastructure will, in my opinion, take a long time to recover from. That’s assuming the political will and inclination is even there.” …. “there seems to be very little to choose from between both main parties ” …. “Suffolk and Devon, both mutuals, have recently appointed charity bosses as CEOs rather than someone with a library background” …. “far from defending the role of paid staff SCL/Libraries Connected is heavily involved in advocating for volunteer led libraries.”

“After a hundred years of support through the public purse libraries seem now to be regressing backwards to a model that is overly dependent on ad-hoc philanthropy, the good will of volunteers, a two-tier system that entrenches inequality of provision, and commercial partnerships that undermine the value of a ‘safe and trusted’ service” … “I hope and aspire towards a better future. For a strategic vision that leads towards a national approach to library services; that provides genuine oversight, development, and resources to enable libraries to be the best they can be for the benefit not only of local communities but for society as a whole. This should be the aspiration of the whole library profession and we should demand better not just from the politicians but from our own leadership.”

  • The library of things: could borrowing everything from drills to disco balls cut waste and save money? – Guardian. “ndeed, as you browse for Oxford’s belt sander (£8 a week) and projector (£10 a night), you might decide, while you’re at it, to borrow a pressure washer for the patio (£10 a day), and add a disco ball (£5 a week) and chocolate fountain (ditto) for the party. You’ll live a cheaper, cleaner, more enjoyable and more sustainable life.” … “In essence they have a simple task. Gather a good inventory (350 items so far), build a system to manage membership and online bookings (a free software package, initially, called myTurn), then staff the Lot on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and Saturday afternoons, for collections and returns.”
  • National Survey for Wales, 2017-18: Arts, museums, heritage and libraries -Welsh Government Statistical Bulletin.  “34% used a public library service in the last 12 months” … “72% of visitors to public libraries used them for borrowing or reading books” … “5% went at least once a week. “. 25% visited a library to picky up recycling bags.
  • Neighbourhood services – 10 Key Facts – Institute for Government. “Since 2009/10, libraries have borne real-terms day-to-day spending cuts of 41%.”

International news

Local news by authority

  • Bromley – Bromley library workers consider striking again over pay dispute – News Shopper. “More than 40 members of Unite the union are preparing to vote on taking industrial action in the latest of a long-running saga with Greenwich Leisure Limited. GLL manages libraries on behalf of Bromley Council. Unite say GLL bosses are not filling vacant jobs, and asking existing library staff to take on extra responsibility without any extra cash.”
  • Buckinghamshire – Jim Brooks Steps Down After 12 Years as Library Chair – Little Chalfont Community Library. “Little Chalfont owes a true debt of gratitude to Jim who has steered our library from a run down Council-managed library marked for closure to become one of the most successful and well regarded community libraries in the country.” … “When we started our journey in 2007 many people and in particular the County Council thought we and other fledgling Community Libraries would fail but they were wrong. “
  • Devon – Libraries Unlimited welcomes new trustees – Charity Today. “Sarah O’Brien, External Affairs Advisor at the National Trust and IT and publishing sector specialist George Lossius were appointed to the Board of trustees this month. They join a number of independent trustees as well as both staff and community trustees who set the strategic direction for Devon and Torbay libraries” … ““Throughout the first three years of Libraries Unlimited’s operation, it has become more and more apparent just how vital it is to have a diverse mix of trustees, each bringing their own vision and skills to help shape the future of our libraries and ensure we’re always providing the best possible service. I have no doubt that Sarah and George will bring valuable skills and experience to the Board. The trustees will be even more vital over the next few months as the team welcome new Chief Executive, Alex Kittow, in June of this year. I know that the trustees and staff across the county will give Sarah and George a warm welcome.”
  • Essex – This was the Young People’s March to save Essex libraries – Gazette Standard. “The march is part of a day of action across the county organised by the Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) campaign. It included speeches from the young people, who made many of the banners on show, and badges which were sold at the Colchester event.”
    • Campaign group, trying to save libraries launch “alternative” consultation – Halstead Gazette. “More than 60,000 people signed petitions against the closures, and campaign group Sole – Save our Libraries Essex – staged a massive demonstration outside the council’s HQ in Chelmsford. The group has now launched an “alternative” survey for residents. Sole spokesman Katy Vargas claimed the original consultation was “flawed”.”
    • Essex libraries closures: Children protest against proposals – BBC. “Children dressed up as book characters to march against the proposed closure of 25 libraries. Conservative-run Essex County Council is reviewing how many of its 74 libraries it wants to keep or hand over to be run by community groups. About 400 children and adults carried placards and musical instruments as they marched in Manningtree.”
    • Library cuts protest march set for Manningtree – Halstead Standard. “Manningtree and Colchester are hosting young people’s marches on Saturday in a bid to show how children will be impacted by Essex County Council’s plans to slash library services across the district. “
  • Merton – The statistics that show how libraries in Merton are thriving – My Merton. “… a report that shows how over the past 10 years, the opening hours of libraries across the borough have been extended. An annual libraries report is set to be discussed by the council’s Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Tuesday, April 30.” … “n Merton, there are higher numbers than most across the UK, with 545 volunteers racking up a total of 27,437 hours in 2018/19.”
  • Neath Port Talbot – Council starts library review in Neath Port Talbot to ‘provide sustainable service and make savings’ – Wales Online. “The review will look at what must be legally provided, the changing role of public libraries and operational costs as well as the relocation of services, staffing and micro-libraries” …”Four libraries faced closure under the local authority’s budget plans earlier this year but a public outcry prompted decision-makers to change their approach, leaving them under council control for another year while a review takes place.”
  • Sunderland – Free Books Given Out as Sunderland Celebrates World Book Night – Sunderland Magazine. “As part of World Book Night, Sunderland Libraries handed out 80 free copies of The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. The books were given to people who don’t regularly read or don’t have many books at home.”
  • Thurrock – Thurrock libraries presented with books in South Indian language – Your Thurrock. “Navsammajdarpan” UK-based social, cultural and voluntary organisation launched one of the South Indian language called “Telugu” kindergarten literature books for public use purposes through public libraries in the United Kingdom for free. Primarily, they are targeting Thurrock libraries and hope to expand all over the UK where the majority Telugu people live.”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Network of ‘safe places’ launched in West Dunbartonshire – Reporter. “Shops, libraries and cafes have agreed to make their premises a ‘Keep Safe’ place in an initiative run by I Am Me Scotland who work in partnership with Police Scotland. “
  • Worcestershire – Protestors meet to save St John’s library and voice opposition to cuts – Worcester News. “The protest was organised by Sean McCauley and Mark Davies, both members of the Socialist Party, and attended by more than 20 people”

Happy second retirement Jim Brooks

Editorial

Not all of you will know about Jim but he has been one of the most significant figures in public libraries for over a decade. He was until a week or two ago the Chairman of Little Chalfont Community Library in Buckinghamshire. Yes, one of the very first of the wave of volunteer libraries that since then have swept the country. Little Chalfont and its sister libraries were faced with closure back in the old days of 2006, years before austerity. Rather than just closing, the communities there took a different route and fought the council to keep them open, first as volunteer libraries despite council resistance and then with their support. It was the reported success of these libraries that played a persuasive part in councils encouraging more volunteer libraries when the cuts really started hitting four or five years later. Jim, along with others, provided his experience to other services but was always clear that he’d prefer the library service first and foremost to be council run.  He received a MBE for his service way back in 2011 and has been helpful ever since.

So, that was unexpected wasn’t it? Me paying tribute to a library volunteer. But the thing is Jim and the others are not the ones to blame for the destruction of many a paid library job in the last decade. They do their best to keep open the libraries they love and are in many respects the biggest supporters of the library. No, the ones to blame were and are those pushing austerity, and the electorate who voted them in, who decided to cut public service budgets by so much. Many councils have had their staffing cut by a third or a half – not just in libraries but for all of it – and the bloom in volunteers has been a reaction to that. Volunteers have not been an unmixed blessing, goodness knows. They have split campaigners right down the middle and they’re not as well-trained or skilled as paid staff can be. I could write whole essays on the cons and pros and have once or twice. But, in the communities where they’ve occurred, they have kept libraries open. And I refuse to blame them for that not least because councils have blackmailed so many of them. “Volunteer or the library closes” is the unspoken message I see time and again. And least of all people like Jim who have given over a decade of their retirement to keep a library serving its public.  wish him every luck and good fortune in his second retirement, away from Little Chalfont, where he will finally be able to do some travelling.

Changes

National news

  • The arts overtake agriculture as a UK economic power – but cuts continue – Big Issue. “Theatres, libraries and museums are adding £10.8bn to the UK economy, overtaking farming as an “essential” economic contributor. Arts and culture are about as beneficial to the economy as cities the size of Liverpool or Sheffield, new research has found, with book publishing and performing arts among the most productive parts of the industry.”
  • Blind and deaf Universal Credit claimants ‘humiliated’ by benefits bosses – Daily Record. ““I think many people will be absolutely stunned to learn that the DWP may be advising people with hearing difficulties to book sign language interpreters over the phone, that blind people are being recommended to use public libraries to input personal financial information – but this is the kind of monstrous indignity I have come to expect from the Tories.””
  • CILIP North West Celebration Day – CILIP NW Blog. Includes look at changes in Trafford plus useful general articles.
  • Council elections: A testing time for party alignments – LocalGov. “Labour councillors will protect vital frontline services, the party’s statement says, ‘despite massive ongoing Tory Government cuts, ensuring all libraries, children’s centres and Council youth centres remain open, as well as maintaining weekly bin collections and support services for older people.’” … Greens are “Surprisingly, it focuses on restoring services rather than environmental issues. The Government’s ‘ideological commitment to austerity’, it says, has closed libraries, forced councils to sell public land and laid off the council staff that collect litter, repair roads and care for older people.”
  • Kanopy Expands to the UK – Cordcutters News. “Kanopy has been working with libraries across the US, Canada, and Australia since 2008. The on-demand streaming service provides free access to streaming content for those with a library card at a partnering library. Kanopy has over 30,000 film titles available and is available to over 50 million library patrons.”
  • Revealed: library closures, reduced hours and huge drop in spending on books in North East – Chronicle Live. “More than half the region’s 169 libraries moved to reduced hours between 2013 and 2018 while 42 closed altogether and 23 only stayed open when they were taken on by volunteers or third party operators.” … “Sunderland saw the biggest number of library closures between 2013 and 2018, with its 20 libraries being reduced to just three. County Durham kept all of its libraries open but reduced hours in every one, while Newcastle reduced hours in 12 of the 14 libraries it maintained (from an original 15). Staffing numbers in libraries in Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and County Durham fell from 704 to 499 over the five-year period while spending on libraries as a whole fell from £26.5m in 2013 to £22.4m in 2018. Spending on books and other stock fell from £2.4m to £1.4m.” … “The 49% reduction in books borrowed was the largest fall of any region in England. The total number of books in stock fell by 21%.”
  • Time to Read launches ‘Book Bingo’ in north west libraries – BookSeller. “People in the north west are being encouraged to use their libraries with a “Book Bingo” contest worth up to £200. The game, launched by library partnership Time to Read, challenges players to read a book from five different categories on their bingo-style form. By doing so, they can complete a straight line on their sheet and enter a free regional prize draw for the chance to win the £200 main prize or a £100 regional one. There are 25 categories to choose from, ranging from genres like biography to challenges like “re-read a book you love” or “chosen with your eyes closed”.”
  • Your Library? Shut down – Gulls. “Libraries are not closing because of lack of use. They’re closing because the Tory government doesn’t care about our right to read. Your library? Shut down. If not already, then perhaps soon. Our new single, Shop, is released 19.04.2019 “Fun, clever and puts libraries centre stage among all the precious things that are being destroyed to serve greed and austerity. We love it.” The Library Campaign”

International news

  • Australia – ALIA National Simultaneous StorytimeALIA. “National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is held annually by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the country. Now in its 19th successful year, it is a colourful, vibrant, fun event that aims to promote the value of reading and literacy, using an Australian children’s book that explores age-appropriate themes, and addresses key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.”
  • 11 things really annoying people do in libraries – Rachel’s List. Snffing, being very loud, making conference calls, bratty kids, eating, porn on PCs, damaging property, pets, being abusive, being romantic, playing around,
  • Canada – Budget cut a sign that Doug Ford’s contempt for libraries persists – Star. “If I have a litmus test for politicians, it might be this: if they don’t understand the value of public libraries, then I don’t trust them. Because a person who doesn’t understand public libraries doesn’t understand community, and doesn’t understand civilization. Libraries are pillars of both. Why, you may ask, do I take the time to mention this now? Well, it seems the provincial budget has slashed the Ontario Library Service budget by 50 per cent …”
  • Eire – Homophobic backlash has forced a library to cancel an event for children hosted by drag queens – Canary. “An Irish drag collective has had its upcoming story-time event for children cancelled after a homophobic backlash. Glitter Hole was due to hold the event at Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (DLR) library on 26 June. According to the library, it was to be the “first ever Drag Story Time event” held there. But DLR library has since cancelled the event. It said “this event will not now go ahead at this time”. Initially, it suggested this was because of concerns about “age appropriateness”, though it later said homophobic abuse was responsible.
  • European Union – A Library Manifesto for EuropeEurope 4 Libraries. “
  • Global – Why Students Should Use Public Libraries – Princh.
  • India – The city that crowdfunded its only library from a Facebook post – Ozy. “August 2017, businessman Imtisunup Longchar put up a post on Facebook seeking help to build a library for his community. The reason: There was no library in all of Dimapur, the largest city inNagaland, India. The response was overwhelming: People offered books, money and advice …”
  • Spain – 3GATTI envisions the ‘green spaceship’ library landing in madrid’s villaverde – Designboom “the ground floor is designed to be completely transparent to the public and contain all the ‘noisy’ functions, while the upper floor, characterized by a floating monolithic volume, will house all the ‘quiet’ functions, such as silent study zones.”
  • USA – We Increased Summer Reading Participation by a Whopping 97 Percent! Here Are the Four Easy Changes that Worked. – Super Library Marketing. Remove library card requirement, use paper tracking so kids can use it, add experiences, make a game out of getting the prize (scratch-off cards)
  • In a world of Google and Amazon, libraries rethink their role – C-Net. “People will still be coming in for books and special collections, but my guess is over the longer haul, libraries will end up being the civic spaces, particularly in poorer neighborhoods where people have no place else to go that’s quiet,” Marx said. “Places where they can sit, where they can have a computer and be treated with respect and not asked for their credentials.””
  • Shh, No Roaring! When A Lion Lived In The Downtown Milwaukee Library Building – WUWM. “The expedition crew grew attached and brought Sim by ship to Milwaukee. He arrived at the Library and Museum Building 90 years ago, on Saturday, April 13, 1929.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeen – Aberdeen library charges set to increase – Evening Express. “Fines, multi-media items and photocopying costs will go up at Aberdeen City Libraries from April 29. Fines will cost 50p per week or part of a week, with five or more weeks charged at £4. Previously it was set at 45p per week, and £3.60 for five weeks or more overdue items. Fines for language courses will be £1.10 per week, and single DVDs/Blu-Rays a maximum of £10 for eight or more weeks. Charges will increase for multi-media library items such as CDs, which will rise to £1 per item, two language courses at £1 per item, four DVDs or Blu-Rays will be £2.10 per item and two DVD box sets with four or more disks at £3.50 per item. Photocopying in black and white will be 15p for A4 and 30p for A3”
  • Bracknell Forest – Bracknell Library hosted the free lunch and spoke with its volunteers – Bracknell News.
  • Cumbria – Children write about ‘inspiring’ Lego event at Barrow Library – Mail.
  • Darlington – Letters: ‘We need clarity from Cllr Harker over Darlington library’s future’ – Northern Echo. “Friends of Darlington Libraries are concerned at the recent article (Echo, Apr 3) in which the council leader, Stephen Harker attempts to justify the announcement in February 2016 of Darlington Borough Council’s intention to close Crown Street Library and to move the service to the Dolphin Centre. He states that: “It is more important to hear what people in Darlington want, rather than just my view”. This was clearly not the case in the past, and it was only the closure of M&S and uncertainty around Binns that caused the council’s U-turn.”
  • Denbighshire – Novel project thought to be first of its kind in North Wales will see mini libraries ‘pop up’ in Rhyl – Journal. “This is very much an extension of the town’s successful library and sees us working together to reach out to the community, help boost literacy and instil in people the somewhat old-fashioned joy of picking up a book for free.” The project, believe to be the first of its kind in North Wales, has been funded by Rhyl Town Council” … “Rhyl’s librarian Deborah Owen said: “The idea of people stumbling across a book in unusual places really appealed to us. Finding the little libraries and the books will be as much a part of the joy as reading them.””
  • Derby – Lib Dems want better housing, more e-bikes and successful libraries in DerbyDerbyshire Live. “In Liberal Democrats Change Derby’s Future – which has the strapline Demand Better for Derby – the group has pledged to prioritise building good affordable homes, deal with fly-tipping and ensure the city has successful libraries.”
  • Derbyshire – Labour slams ‘disturbing outburst’ by Derbyshire County Council’s Tory leader – Derbyshire Times. “Barry Lewis, Tory leader at Derbyshire County Council, has accused Labour’s Anne Western and Ruth George of ‘blocking attempts’ to allow individuals and groups to come forward to run 20 local libraries.” … “Councillor Western, leader of the Labour group on the council, and High Peak MP Mrs George have both categorically denied doing this – and described Coun Lewis’s ‘latest outburst’ as ‘bizarre’, ‘ridiculous’ and ‘disturbing’.”
  • Dorset – Weymouth Library undergoes refurbishment – Dorset Echo. “Dorset Council is working with partners and other agencies to bring together a range of services and teams into one shared building, as a ‘library and learning centre’. The library building in Great George Street in the town centre is being adapted to offer space for: * The town’s library * Skills & Learning – thelocal Adult Learning provider which offers a variety of high quality courses and learning opportunities to the community and training opportunities to local employers …”
  • Essex – Children to lead libraries protest in ColchesterGazette Standard. “A Young People’s March for Libraries is being held in Colchester’s town centre, in protest against Essex County Council’s proposal to close a third of libraries in the next five years. Children will march through the town centre in opposition to plans which could affect libraries in Prettygate, Stanway, Wivenhoe, Mersea and Tiptree. Campaigners with the Colchester branch of Save Our Libraries Essex claim Essex County Council “failed to directly seek the views of under 19s during the consultation process”, a claim the council disputes.”
    • 20,000 respond to Essex library plans consultation – Clacton Gazette.
    • Campaigners rally against Walton library threat – Gazette. “Delyth Miles, vice-chair of the recently founded Friends of Walton Library committee, said her town “desperately” needs the facility.”
    • Coggeshall Library campaigners vow to keep fighting – Gazette News. “Coggeshall Community Library Group has announced it will host a protest march and celebratory reading session in the coming weeks in an effort to protect the future of the service in the village. “
    • Fat cats at Essex Council pay themselves millions while plotting to axe libraries in impoverished wards – Yellow Advertiser. “Data published on Tuesday, April 9, revealed Essex Council had more staffers on more than £100,000 per year than any other council in Britain. The five highest-paid employees earn a combined £1.03million per year in salary and perks. Meanwhile, County Hall is planning to axe 25 libraries, saving an estimated £974,000 per year.”
    • Library petition figures re-released by Essex County Council – Gazette News. “The data said 58,245 signatures were handed in on 53 petitions. But Wivenhoe Library was listed as having just 16 signatures on one petition and Brightlingsea Library was not listed at all.” … “The new data, set to go before councillors this week, said 59,855 signatures had come from 56 petitions.”
    • Protest group’s day of action as libraries decision looms – Southend Standard. “Save Our Castle Point Libraries will be marching on Saturday to keep the pressure on Essex County Council bosses as they decide the fate of libraries across the county. ” … ““The idea that volunteers can run our libraries is just a fig leaf to cover the reality of the cuts. Volunteers play a fantastic role already in areas like the home library service, but they will never be a substitute for professional library staff”
  • Hampshire – Hampshire interlibrary loan fees rise by as much as 500 per cent after service review – News. “Readers hoping to take out a book which needs to be acquired from a library elsewhere in the UK will now have to pay £20, compared to the previous charge of £4.” … “While the provision is time consuming and expensive to offer, with many of the books requested either out of print or specialist publications which are costly to purchase, we want to continue to be able to offer this option to our customers. ‘The only way we can afford to do this however, is at a rate which more closely matches the actual cost of providing the service.’ “. Portsmouth charges £4.50, Southampton £3 and Isle of Wight £8.50.
  • Haringey – Muswell Hill Library’s historic mural: ‘Decidedly striking’ artwork that’s turned heads for since the 1930s – Ham High. “The mural has been cited as one of the reasons behind the building’s Grade II listing, while visitors to this day are entertained by the mythic depictions of the – purported – discovery of the Mossy Well that gives Muswell Hill its name.”
  • Hertfordshire – Cost of moving Redbourn and Wheathampstead libraries into fire stations soars by £674,000 – St Albans Review. “he existing Redbourn Library has been operating out of a temporary building that’s said to be ‘not fit for purpose’. And Wheathampstead is in space leased from the parish council, which could request it back at a later date. But within weeks, residents of both villages will be able to access renewed and refurbished library facilities at their nearby on-call fire stations.” … “They were told that tenders for the two sites had been £200,000 higher than set out in the initial feasibility study – and that once on site, construction costs had risen by a further £240,000.”
  • Hull – Giant hippo takes to Hull’s streets as Big Malarkey Festival programme announced – Hull Live. “A giant hippopotamus was spotted strolling though Hull city centre today as the city’s libraries announced the programme for this year’s long awaited The Big Malarkey Festival.  The children’s literature festival has been in East Park for the past two years and will be returning in June. To mark the announcement of the programme launch this weekend, organisers gave everyone a sneak peak of what’s to come this summer – in the shape of a giant animal.”
  • Islington – How library figures tell a story about Islington bookworms – Islington Tribune. “A freedom of information request submitted by the Tribune, to find out the borough’s most borrowed library books and CDs for the past few years, proves once and for all residents are a literary bunch with a penchant for indie music.”
  • Kirklees – Revamp of Kirklees libraries slammed as volunteers say ‘enough is enough’ – Examine Live. “Kirklees Council has been urged to look again at its planned revamp of the borough’s libraries. The call came as part of wider concerns over whether cutting frontline library staff will put extra pressure on volunteers and cause libraries to struggle during periods when they are on holiday” … “Proposals mean libraries could act as hubs for a range of services such as the voluntary and community sector, primary care, adult and children’s social care, and communities teams as well as access to networked libraries elsewhere.”
  • Lincolnshire – Gift of reading for Long Sutton Men’s Shed from town library – Spalding Today. “Tuesday (April 23) marks World Book Night – and to celebrate, Long Sutton library will be gifting books to the town’s Men’s Shed.”
  • North Yorkshire – Take a virtual trip into the heart of Africa – North Yorkshire County Council. “We are teaming up with the BBC to present the virtual reality pop-up event. Visitors will put on a virtual reality headset and find themselves on assignment with BBC Africa correspondent Alastair Leithead as he explores this conflicted country. They will meet gorillas up close and personal, visit the ruins of the palace of former President Mobutu deep in the jungle, join United Nations soldiers in an armoured vehicle as they visit a refugee camp, fish the rapids and meet Sapeurs, members of the La Sape social movement that emphasises style and appearance.”
    • Library giveaway for World Book Night – North Yorkshire County Council. “To complement the book giveaway, there will be a recital by harpist Bridget Cousins in the library on 23 April from 3pm to 4pm. Anyone attending can show their library card or join the library to claim their book. Joining is free and no ID is needed.”
    • Library refurbishment will improve services – North Yorkshire County Council. “Improvements will include a new children’s library, new books and space for community events and activities, including learning activities delivered by the County Council’s Adult Learning and Skills Service.”
    • Sing for joy with new wellbeing choir at Scarborough Library – Scarborough News. “It is the brainchild of library supervisor Dee Johnston, who has a musical background and has taught music. Pianist Paul McCann will run the choir with Dee. “Dee said: “The idea came about because a couple of customers asked me if I had thought of setting up a community choir.
  • Oldham – Annual Bookmark festival returns to Oldham libraries – Oldham Evening Chronicle. “Bookmark Festival returns to Oldham Libraries for its seventh year with lots of fun-filled, book-related events and activities for all ages to enjoy.”
  • Oxfordshire – New health scheme means library staff ‘make every contact count’ – Oxford Mail. “As part of a scheme called Making Every Contact Count (MECC), some staff in the county’s libraries have been trained to help turn conversations with customers into constructive lifestyle support as part of a pilot project. In an effort to make libraries a place where people might turn to for help in improving their lifestyle, sections dedicated to health within the libraries have been supplemented with leaflets promoting wellbeing and healthy choices.”
  • Powys – Powys’ libraries consultation remains open until Sunday, April 28 – Powys County Times.Powys residents are being urged to continue to contribute their views about the future delivery of library services in the county. This comes even though the service has been granted a reprieve and has a year to find savings of at least £200,000 and potentially more.”
  • Richmond – Proposed closure of Heathfield Library Access Point – Richmond Council. “This report recommends a new approach to the provision of library services in Heathfield ward, moving away from the single inefficient Heathfield Library Access Point towards a wider, more geographically diverse offering which delivers library services closer to the point of need and in collaboration with local service providers.”
  • Southwark – Free video streaming launches in Southwark LibrariesSouthwark News. “Free online films are now available to anyone with a Southwark library card thanks to a partnership with a streaming site, writes Josh Mellor… Kanopy is a website that offers film streaming services in the same way as Netflix or BBC’s iPlayer.” … “
    • Southwark’s library cut reversal interrogated  – News Shopper. “The proposals were announced alongside a raft of other cost-saving measures following an £8.6 million cut in central government funding. But Southwark announced a new £1m library fund in January, after proposals to cut library opening hours by one day a week were scrapped. Lib Dem Cllr Victor Chamberlain questioned why proposals to cut the service had been raised, with the value of the library service well-known.”
  • Suffolk – Library bans non-members from using toilets to tackle anti-social behaviour – Ipswich Star. “Suffolk Libraries said it had to bring in the measures at Ipswich County Library in Northgate Street because of a spate of incidents.”
    • Suffolk Libraries mental health project shortlisted for libraries award – Suffolk Libraries. “The Open Space project has been announced as a finalist in the social category of the EDGE Libraries Conference Awards which are held in Edinburgh as part of an annual libraries conference. The awards recognise and promote outstanding library-based initiatives which celebrate the value of libraries across the UK.”
  • West Berkshire – Libraries helping those with EU ‘settled status’ – Newbury Today. “Library staff can look at the requirements with applicants and guide them through the online application process.  They will check that applicants have the required documentation and assist with scanning and uploading anything necessary to complete the online form, including photo ID. There is no charge for this service, but advance booking is necessary”
  • West Dunbartonshire – Line-up for Booked! festival is here – Dunbarton Reporter.
  • West Sussex – ‘Well-dressed’ man watches extreme porn in library just yards from children – Mirror. “Library user Chris Winfield was ‘disgusted’ when he looked up and saw a man in front of him watching a series of gay porn clips featuring masturbation and anal sex. Chris said the man, in his mid to late 30s, seemed “comfortable” and like he “didn’t have a care in the world” as he watched the clips in Crawley Library, West Sussex.” … “Chris stopped filming and reported the sleazy user to library staff – who was promptly booted out.” . [US libraries often allow watching of porn due to “freedom of speech” issues. Interesting that the Mirror and apparently the library saw nothing wrong in one person film another in the library – Ed.]
  • Worcestershire – Campaigners to hold protest at St John’s library after petition is handed in – Worcester News. “Residents campaigning to keep open a Worcester library have handed in a petition, ahead of the latest protest this weekend. The group, called Save St John’s Library Services, started the campaign amid fears the Glebe Close library service could be cut, or even closed. The petition was launched last year after Worcestershire County Council said it intended to slash £1 million from its library budget by the end of the financial year in 2021, as a result of cuts to local government funding.”
    • Editor’s View: Libraries are priceless and should be protected  – Worcester News. “t is easy to say that libraries are dying out, but that is a very simplistic view. Yes, fewer people are coming in to check out books than they used to, but that does not factor in the many other uses libraries like the one in St John’s have. Every day, community groups such as play groups, chess clubs, schools and similar visit the library to use its facilities. The library is far more than just a building full of books, it is a vital centre for the community, and, as one protestor told the Worcester News: “We need things like this in St John’s just to keep the place going.”
    • Petition to keep staff at Bewdley Library handed to council – Worcester News. “The 1,000-signature petition was delivered to senior staff on Tuesday (April 16) in response to a consultation launched by the council to cut £800,000 from the county’s libraries budget. A protest was held outside Bewdley Library in December as users feared the county’s smaller libraries would bear the brunt of council cuts.”

The Library Book, The Public and the Mighty Ducks

Editorial

I’m a sucker for books and films telling me how great libraries are. One of the best books I’ve read recently is The Library Book by Susan Orlean, due to a number of factors. The first is, of course, the fact that the author clearly loves libraries but also there is the ongoing whodunnit thread of who burnt the library as well as it being an introduction to the US library system both now and the past. For this reason also, I’m looking forward to watching The Public. Mind you, I’ve always liked Emilio Estevez, even in the Mighty Ducks. You can always tell it’s been quiet news week (Brexit? Local elections?) when I slip in a film or a book in the editorial. Don’t tell anyone …

Changes by authority

National news

  • 13 Nonfiction Books About Real, Live Librarians – BookRiot. “librarians are like ninjas: easy to overlook yet extremely effective. Any modern library worker will tell you that they don’t spend their days behind the desk reading. In fact, books are only a slice of what librarians do. (In my humble experience, actual library work involves a heck of a lot more spitballs.) That said, let us enjoy these 13 nonfiction books about librarians. As we do, let’s raise a glass to those who show the world how to operate the printer fifty times a day.”
  • Celebrating libraries in the digital world – Libraries Week. “Libraries Week is a celebration of the nation’s much-loved libraries. In 2019 we are celebrating the role of libraries in the digital world. Libraries Week 2019 will celebrate and explore how libraries are engaging communities through technology, building digital skills and confidence, encouraging digital participation and inclusion, supporting health, wellbeing and education and supporting local business and enterprise. Libraries Week 2019 will take place 7-12 October. Library staff and supporters can register now to take part and stay up to date as more details on this year’s campaign become available.”
  • CWA Brings Writers, Venues and Book Groups Together in National Crime Reading Month in May – Time To Read. “NCRM, which has run for a number of years, is a unique literary festival that is held throughout the UK in May to celebrate the crime genre, both fiction and non-fiction. The festival, which is organised by the Crime Writers’ Association (CWA) and the Crime Readers’ Association (CRA), sees authors staging events including talks, recitals and ‘in conversation’ evenings in venues ranging from libraries to pubs, theatres  to town halls.”

Axiell Selflib
International news

  • Eire – Do your shelf a favour and get back into your local library – Irish Times. “With free access to books, mags, DVDs, web access, talks and courses – and no more fines for overdue items – Ireland’s libraries are hoping to double their membership to 1.5m”
  • Ghana – Reading Spots Ghana Provides Solar Powered Library To Ekawso – Modern Ghana. “Reading Spots Ghana, has provided the people of Ekawso with a solar-powered community library as part of its aim of providing educational resources for all schools and adults in the area. According to Mr. Ampoma Patrick, a representative from the Ghana Library Authority, less than two percent of children in primary two are able to read fluently in the Ghanaian and English languages.”

  • USA – Book BotMountain View. “Book Bot is a book pick-up device that will allow residents in a test area to return library books and other library materials to the Mountain View Public Library from their home once a week. Book Bot is one of several applications of Personal Delivery Devices developed as part of a project within Google’s Area 120 workshop for experimental ideas.  This project is part of the City of Mountain View’s pilot program to allow the use of Personal Delivery Devices …”
  • USA – Emilio Estevez Goes Public In His Library Love, Homelessness Concerns In New Movie – Forbes. “Libraries – long the world’s repositories of knowledge and books trying to find new roles in the Information Age – these days are having a bit of a moment. First there was The Library Book, the latest from New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean, whose The Orchid Thief became the unlikely film adaptation Adaptation. In The Library Book, Orlean looks at the 1986 arson of the Los Angeles Public Library’s Central Branch that burned half a million books and damaged another million. Along the way, Orlean examines  the fast-changing but still essential role of libraries in public life in a time when smartphones provide a bottomless well of information and entertainment. Earlier this year, Orlean was featured guest in the L.A. library foundation’s annual fundraiser.Now comes a new movie, The Public, about a different role that has been thrust upon many libraries, as a flash point in the nation’s homelessness problems. The film is debuting in 250 theaters across the country on Friday.”
  • USA – Paramount TV, Anonymous to Adapt Susan Orlean’s ‘The Library Book’ – Variety. ““Susan has created a captivating narrative that is part mystery, part magic, and part love letter to the dedicated stewards who fight to keep these beloved institutions alive,” said Nicole Clemens, president of Paramount TV. “Each day at the library, the human drama that unfolds among staff and patrons of every socio-economic level – funny, sad, inspiring, unexpected – speaks to the highs and lows of our country right now, and we’re excited to bring these stories to life on screen.””
  • USA – Project Outcome: Gather Better Data – Princh. “Outcome measurement is one way for library staff to collect data from patrons about the value of public programs and services. Because library staff do not always have in-depth experience in evaluation, they could find themselves unsure of how to write an outcome-focused assessment after collecting patron feedback. For example, staff know that a program like Storytime can help improve literacy of children, but the specific data to reinforce this knowledge is not always present.”

Local news by authority

  • Birmingham – Alice and the Library Tree – Storytelling and music combine in a new commission for Sutton Coldfield – Brumpic. “Combining storytelling and music and created by local children’s opera company B’Opera, this new work will explore the wonder of libraries and how they inspire curiosity.”
  • Carmarthenshire – Library users to benefit from new system – South Wales Guardian. “The council is the 17th of 22 library authorities in Wales to adopt the new SirsiDynix Symphony Library Management System. “
  • Cumbria – Best selling crime writers lift the lid on their work – Mail. Author visits.
  • Dorset – New signs for council buildings and libraries cost £8,800 – Dorset Echo. Dorset Council changes logo.
  • East Sussex – Update on Pevensey Bay Library – Eastbourne Herald. Volunteers may take over closed library. “campaign. Since the closures only two have reopened, run by the communities they serve. A spokesperson at Volunteers Network said, “Although there is local interest in taking over all of the libraries and reopening them, many have had legal or financial issues to be resolved, and organising community run libraries is not an easy task. “
  • Essex – County Hall: 50 groups interested in running libraries – Gazette News. “The plans show 19 libraries out if the 74 in Essex are earmarked to be run by community groups. County Hall has now confirmed more than 21,000 people responded to its consultation held earlier this year. There have also been 50 ‘expressions of interest’ by groups wanting to take over the running of libraries.”
  • Lewisham – Lewisham Library redevelopment study due next month – News Shopper. “Lewisham Council’s feasibility study into whether it can redevelop Lewisham library and build rented council homes or cut staff hours to fund a £450,000 shortfall is due on May 8. Proposals to cut staff hours in 2020 were put on hold while the council looked into whether rented council housing on-site could help pay for a new library.”
  • Rotherham – News: New chapter for Rotherham’s Central Library? – Roth Biz. “Rotherham Council is seeking views from residents and library users about the possibility of moving the Central Library back to a more central location in Rotherham town centre. Currently based within cultural space at the Council’s Riverside House, which opened in 2011, the central library holds the largest collection and range of lending materials in the borough. It was previously housed on Drummond Street alongside former council offices that were demolished to make way for the Tesco Extra.
    The Council has now said that it is considering moving the library back across town into a new community/cultural hub that could be located opposite Tesco in the Markets, which is due to be developed as part of the Town Centre Masterplan”
  • St Helens – Youngsters learning to write in libraries with children’s author – St Helens Reporter. “Mark Powers, known for the Spy Toys series, will pass on some of the tips of the author’s trade in the workshops called Show, Don’t Tell.”
  • Staffordshire – Libraries gear up for Staffordshire Day celebrations – Staffordshire Newsroom. “Author visits, quiz nights, local heroes competition, guided tours and arts and crafts activities are amongst the events already lined up for this year’s celebrations.”
  • Old Stafford library could be turned into flats – Express and Star. “an application has now been submitted to Stafford Borough Council to convert it into 10 apartments and a bar and restaurant. Eight of the apartments will be located on the first floor and the remaining two on the ground floor. “
  • Stirling – Stirling pensioner wants pro-Scottish independence paper reinstated in libraries – Daily Record.
  • Suffolk – New opening times for Brandon Library – East Anglian Daily Times. “The new opening times will see the library open for longer on Wednesday afternoons, but closing earlier on Friday evenings. The changes, approved by the libraries board and Suffolk County Council come following calls from customers and will come into effect from May 20. Suffolk Libraries confirmed however it will remain closed on Monday despite the longer opening hours and that future events are unaffected.”
  • Wrexham – Wrexham Library services help with Universal Credit – Leader. Online resources publicised. “It is the second time William Todd has clashed with Stirling Libraries over the availability of the ‘Scots Independent’. The last time was the late 1980s. The 70-year-old, from St Ninians, said that up until two and a half years ago he had been able to read a copy of the ‘Scots Independent’, first published over 90 years ago, alongside a variety of daily national newspapers at a number of Stirling district libraries. He recently wrote to Stirling Library HQ to ask why he can no longer access the monthly title which had been distributed to libraries for free.”

That London Library By Euston

Editorial

Interesting to see that the British Library, based almost entirely in one big city in the South East of England, is considering opening up a “British Library North” in Leeds. About time, as anyone can attest who has had to travel hundreds of mile to visit a place that apparently serves the whole nation but in fact is almost entirely based in London and charges the heck (or, in BL terms, “full cost recovery”) out of other libraries (don’t dare use the word “provincial”, you hear me?) to borrow something it got given for free. It’s been good to see the British Library start to wake up to its wider role in the last few years, with 13 business and intellectual property centres in libraries around the country and a group of 22 library services (out of more than 200) it works with on some projects, but there’s a lot more that it could do before I stop thinking of it in my mind as “That London Library By Euston”.

Great to see more fines being removed, with one authority going fine-free and two more removing children’s fines. Something more confusing was the debt that York Explore somehow ended up owing to the council but, that’s OK, because the council is paying them an extra amount of money to allow Explore to pay it back. I think. My head hurts.

Changes

Ideas

National news

  • British and Chinese library leaders to share knowledge in Chengdu – British Library. “Public library leaders from China and the UK are to meet at the Sichuan Provincial Library and share knowledge in a two-day forum in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, at the end of March: the first such gathering of its kind.” … “The initiative is funded by HM Treasury and also includes a programme of knowledge exchange between staff at the British Library and its counterparts in China.”
  • British Library planning Leeds branch with Boston Spa upgrade – Guardian. “The British Library has embarked upon “ambitious” plans to open a branch in Leeds as part of a drive to expand the organisation’s activities in the north of England. Board meeting minutes obtained by the Guardian reveal the library has been in discussions with Leeds city council about potential locations for a facility referred to as British Library North.”
  • British Pubs Can Operate as Post Offices and Libraries, Thanks to Government-Backed Program – Food and Wine. “Launched in 2001, Pub Is the Hub is a not-for-profit organization that works with pubs that are “thinking of broadening their services.” Since 2013, the group has received government funding for its efforts — over £500,000 in total — including an additional £188,000 (about $250,000) announced this week for 76 new projects in rural pubs across England. Though the exact beneficiaries were not disclosed, the U.K. government did provide the examples of the new projects which include Post Office facilities, grocery stores, libraries, and children’s play areas (which, as a parent who lives in England, I can adamantly say is greatest thing a pub can have).”
  • Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1 – Carnegie UK Trust. “he aim of Engaging Libraries Phase was to enable public libraries to pilot public engagement activities on health and wellbeing. Engaging Libraries: Learning from Phase 1 provides an overview of the 14 Engaging Libraries projects across 16 public library services, identifies factors which facilitated the successful delivery of Engaging Libraries projects and factors which inhibited some projects, and uses case studies to illustrate reflections from the programme on working with partners, new skills, knowledge and approaches and the benefits of a network.”

“Taboo breaking: Engaging Libraries demonstrated that libraries can be a space for discussion and debate about subjects which can be taboo or difficult to talk about such as death, body image and mental health. As safe, trusted spaces public libraries were the ideal venue for engaging people on tricky or touchy subjects.

Experimentation and risk: Engaging Libraries revealed that public libraries embraced the opportunity and have the appetite to experiment and be creative with public engagement activities. Libraries also worked in diverse partnerships across different sectors and disciplines.

Safe space: Engaging Libraries showed that funding opportunities can be valuable in giving public libraries the space and permission to forge new partnerships as well as build on existing links, reaping benefits for the library, its community and partners.”

  • ‘I’m an Orkney librarian driving to a school when a wave engulfs my van’ – Guardian. ” There are occasions when our mobile library can’t go out; this has an impact on more isolated people who don’t have much human contact and really look forward to it. I always feel like I’m letting them down when this happens.”
  • Public Libraries 2018: Netloan Customer Survey Results – Lorensnbergs. ” The critical importance of libraries in supporting digital inclusion and skills development continues to grow: nearly half of public libraries saw increasing numbers of customers request this kind of help (this is the second year running that this size of increase in help needed has been reported). Only one library authority this year reported a decrease”

Axiell Selflib

International news

  • Canada – The library steps up in Thunder Bay – Star. “The Thunder Bay Public Library has emerged as an unlikely hero in a city in crisis. The city’s library system offers the community much more than rows of books, microfiches and the Dewey Decimal System. It has become a leader in a city whose racial struggles are openly displayed for the world to see. Libraries have long been community hubs, places of collective learning and knowledge sharing. And this has been especially true — and especially important — in Thunder Bay in recent years.”
  • Global – Parents, Babies & Libraries – Princh. A look at rhymetimes, baby sessions.
  • Indonesia – No quiet rules at Indonesia’s flyover library – Mail. “Several years ago, the flyover in suburb Ciputat, part of Jakarta’s greater metropolitan area, was strewn with rubbish and roamed by intimidating street thugs, Febrianti said. But armed with books and paint, local organisations set about transforming its down-and-out reputation. Artists painted murals on the walls, installed planter boxes and a futsal pitch, and a library with several dozen books was built on site.”
  • USA – 7 unexpected things that libraries offer besides books – Conversation. “The Westport Free Library in Westport, Connecticut – population of roughly 28,000 – has a Robot Open Lab where the public can learn how to program robots to respond to simple commands, catch and kick a small soccer ball and even dance.” … “the library loans health equipment such as blood pressure monitors. ” … “The Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina offers Chapel Hill Open Data in partnership with the town. ” … “or those who want to build and fix things, Chattanooga also has an extensive hand- and power-tool collection filled with hammers, wrench sets, drills and saws among many other tools. “
  • USA – With Vaccine Misinformation, Libraries Walk a Fine Line – Undark. “Earlier this month, Hoopla — an online service that allows public library cardholders across the U.S. and Canada to download or stream movies and television shows for free — quietly pulled the documentary “Vaxxed” from its collection. The film, which peddles a repeatedly debunked theory linking vaccines to autism and claims to expose a vaccine-related coverup within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can still be found on DVD at libraries around the U.S. “

Local services by authority

  • Barnsley – New landmark library to open in July following delays in building schedule – Star. “The project, called Library @ the Lightbox, was due to open in the Autumn of last year but the project was slowed by the presence of Sough Dyke, which runs beneath part of the town centre, which caused construction problems with the foundations. It was hoped the facilities would have been open in the Spring, but the date has now been confirmed as Saturday July 13. The building replaces the temporary library, opened in Wellington Street, to replace the 1970s building in Shambles Street, demolished following public opposition to make way for the new college building.”
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Books and Maps  – Bath and North East Somerset Council. “Bath and North-East Somerset libraries will not be charging fines for the late return of books and maps borrowed from 2nd April 2019.  This includes large print books. *This is a trial to be reviewed and only applies to books borrowed in Bath and North East Somerset Council libraries.  It does not apply to items borrowed in libraries in neighbouring authorities. Overdue reminders will be issued after 7 and 21 days by email or text.  If postal overdue reminders are required a 50p charge will be applied to all categories of borrower.”
  • Birmingham – Birmingham Children’s Libraries – Designing Libraries. “BookSpace refitted the children’s libraries, independent of their associated adult libraries, adopting designs and layouts that were purposely created to be similar but respectful of each of their unique characteristics. With registered borrowers increasing by 24% amongst younger children and issue rates up 19% it’s a success story that other authorities could embrace. Each of the five children’s libraries had its own reasons for requiring a refurbishment. In the case of Kings Norton Library, it was a 100 year old Carnegie Library with the original oak shelving and a leaking roof! The brief to BookSpace was to get children, parents and carers excited about reading and books; to create a recognisably new space and to celebrate each of the libraries individual features.”

Libraries being advertised on back of bus in new Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council adverts.

  • Devon – Unlimited Value: leading practice in unlimited value creation – Libraries Unlimited, University of Exeter and others. “From 2016, a research partnership including Libraries Unlimited, the University of Exeter Business School, the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and Open Data Institute (ODI) Devon has been worked together to understand how libraries can learn to develop a better understanding of their ‘social value’ – the difference that libraries make to the people and communities they serve. The project, named Unlimited Value, received £200,000 funding from Arts Council England’s research programme”
    • Storybook Dads receives donation from libraries – Charity Today. “Storybook Dads, the Devon-based charity that works to support prisoners in maintaining relationships with their children through stories and reading, has received £1,000 from fellow charity Libraries Unlimited”
  • Dorset – Voices: We must continue to cherish our libraries, galleries and theatres – Dorset Echo. “Literature permits people to express their emotions and thoughts to be presented to society, and society can listen to it to understand a meaning which is crafted to their emotions. Another person will view it in a different light. The arts are unappreciated and disregarded like that song that people don’t want in their heads. Our libraries, galleries and theatres are honourable establishments, and they must continue to be cherished.”
  • Dundee – Redundancies and library budget hit as Leisure and Culture Dundee agrees £860,000 in savings – Courier. £860k cut. “Board members agreed at a meeting yesterday to introduce voluntary redundancies and early retirement schemes, as well as a 10% reduction in the resource budget for books and periodicals in libraries. Staffing levels will gradually reduce at the organisation as vacancies will be “closely examined” and may not be automatically filled once an employee leaves.”
    • Concerns over potential impact of Dundee library cuts – Courier. “The warning comes after Leisure and Culture Dundee (LACD), the arms-length organisation that runs the service, announced plans to decimate libraries’ budgets this week.  The organisation has to find £860,000 to balance its budget this year and aims to do this through a combination of cuts and price increases.The cuts include reducing the resource budget of libraries – the money available for new books and periodicals – and cutting staff numbers through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.”
  • Essex – Essex Council library petition stats have been ‘manipulated’ – Gazette Standard. “The figures, published ahead of a County Hall meeting today, reveal 58,245 signatures were made across 53 petitions. The data has been broken down into petitions representing individual libraries and those jointly submitted between libraries. Others listed, such as five petitions from SOLE (Save our Essex Libraries), represent libraries in general. Wivenhoe library is listed as having just 16 signatures on one petition, despite strong opposition voiced by residents. And Brightlingsea library is not listed at all.” … “Wivenhoe resident and campaigner Rosalind Scott said more than 1,200 signatures came from the town’s online petition and at least 200 more on paper. Brightlingsea’s petitions had more than 500 signatures.”

“As you will appreciate, the consultation has not long closed and it will be some time before the evidence from it is fully analysed and brought back to Cabinet. There is a lot of work to be done to consider all the responses, suggestions and additional evidence, carry out a more detailed equality impact assessment, review the needs assessment and the strategy and identify options for the best way forward. We expect the results and final strategy to be presented to Cabinet this summer for us to decide on the future direction for Essex Library Services. I can assure you that no decisions have yet been made on the strategy and will not be made before that meeting. The library service will continue to run as is until a new strategy is adopted and implemented.” Cllr Susan Barker, Cabinet Member for Customer and Corporate Services in letter received.

  • 8,000 signatures to save Hockley Library – Leigh Times Series. “MP Mark Francois added his name to a petition of over 8,000 signatures which have been put together by local campaigners in a determined attempt to save Hockley Library from being downgraded by Essex County Council. Although the petition relates to Hockley Library, many constituents in Rayleigh have also added their names in support and the MP did so as well when he met Bob Barrett, also recently christened “Hat Man”, because he has frequently been in village and town centres over the last couple of months, wearing a very high profile hat, to assist in attracting attention to persuade passers-by to sign the important petition.”
    • Dermot O’Leary says axing libraries in Essex ‘a tragic shame’ – Gazette Standard. ““It is difficult. I am not a county councillor, I have no idea how tight their budgets are, I am sure it is the same across the board but it would be a tragic shame to get rid of libraries because of the support to the community. “Communities have to use them for their work. They are utterly important parts of the community and what they can give young minds.”
    • Plan to set aside £109k to save two libraries is unanimously backed – Echo. Basildon Council will pay to help cuts. “Council bosses say they are prepared to to fork out more than £100,000 in a bid to save two libraries from closure. Essex County Council has put about two-thirds of libraries, including Vange and Fryerns libraries, at risk as part of plans to reform the service.”
  • Gloucestershire – Town library may be on the move amid concerns it could ‘close within the next 12 months’ – Gloucestershire Live. “Stonehouse library could be relocated as part of plans to keep the service running ‘for many years to come.’ Both Gloucestershire County Council and Stonehouse Town Council are proposing to move the library from Elm  Road into the Town Hall. An investment of nearly quarter-of-a-million pound would be needed to ensure the current building is kept up to date and fit for purpose.”
  • Hampshire – Libraries taken over for Girlguiding night – Gazette. “Kingsclere and Silchester Division were among the 3,500 Girlguiding members who attended the mass takeover at 36 libraries across Hampshire which involved sleeping over at the sites. Girls from all sections had the opportunity to take part in creative, challenging and fun activities based on their favourite children’s fictional characters such as Paddington, The Hungry Caterpillar and Mary Poppins.”
    • Civic chief officially opens refurbished town library – Romsey Advertiser. “There’s a new community room available to groups and organisations, and a larger children’s library, meaning we can accommodate more customers and encourage more young readers. “
  • Hertfordshire – St Albans Library reopens – St Albans Review. “As part of the facelift, the library now has an upgraded children’s area, new computers, a bookable meeting room, and ‘CreatorSpace’ offering access to virtual reality headsets, 3D printing and digital sewing machines”
  • Kent – Cuts to opening hours at Tonbridge libraries are reduced – Times Local News. “Kent County Council will go ahead with its plans to cut library hours – but has made changes to its initial proposals which benefit Hildenborough and, to a lesser extent, Tonbridge. Under the original plan, the town’s main library was slated to lose 18 hours a week – or a third of its opening time. It was designated as a second-tier library – ‘town’ rather than ‘town plus’ – but has been reclassified as Tier One. That means it will lose 13 hours, down from 55 hours a week to 42 rather than 37.”
    • Richard Styles: Why do we need libraries? – Isle of Thanet News. “Kent County Council consulted on the future of the library service in Kent recently, and in short order decided to go ahead as planned. It does beg the question as to why they bothered, as over 2,500 individuals and organisations took the trouble to respond, seemingly, to no purpose. It does democracy and the standing of local government no good, to set up a consultation, set all the questions in a closed fashion and then pointedly, ignore all alternative suggestions”
  • Manchester – Bringing libraries to life – Arts Professional. “In Manchester, the city council’s library strategy has become more outward-facing. While keeping books, reading and information at the core, there is an emphasis on other things, including increasing participation in activities.” … “Following the growth of the Library Live programme, a natural development was to expand the model across the city-wide network of libraries. Initially, we are piloting it at three branch libraries with a programme called ‘Creative Spaces’. However, as we approached this roll-out, our vision of the expansion and the programme of activity was challenged very quickly.”
  • North Ayrshire – Consultation on future role of libraries and community centres – Largs and Millport Weekly News.  “With Council budgets coming under sustained pressure, North Ayrshire Council wants to work alongside communities in shaping the future services. To help make that happen, a working group was set up last year to develop proposals for more effective ways of ensuring people continue to access community facilities in challenging economic circumstances.”
  • Northamptonshire – Danesholme library to stay where it is thanks to Corby Council’s help – Northants Telegraph. “Danesholme library was one of the libraries under threat of closure as part of Northamptonshire County Council’s plans to only keep 19 as a statutory provision and hand over the remaining 17 to community groups. The library had been facing a move across the road from its long-term home at the end of the shopping parade at Danesholme Square into the Danesholme Communicare Centre. But after discussions from the library group with the council, the authority voted yesterday (March 26) at the One Corby meeting at Corby Cube to grant a new five-year lease to the area’s community association at a minimal rent.”
  • Nottingham – Specialist designers to be appointed for new Nottingham Central Library – Business Link. ““When we committed to a new Central Library, we committed to a better library than the existing one and the best children’s library in the country. To achieve this, it’s important we recruit specialist designers so we create something we and our children can be proud of in a great new area of the city.”
  • Oxfordshire – Banbury Library users urged to speak up to improve their health and wellbeing – Banbury Guardian. “Staff in a dozen Oxfordshire’s libraries have been trained to help turn conversations with customers into constructive lifestyle support as part of a county council pilot project”
  • Powys – Town unites in protest over library plans – My Welshpool. “A crowd in the hundreds marched through Welshpool on Saturday to send a clear message to Powys County Council (PCC) that they oppose plans to downsize the town’s library. The Save Welshpool Library march attracted around 4-500 people of all ages at its peak through the town centre, with many attending their first protest march.”

“29/03/2019: Please excuse me for copying the Town Clerk’s comment on our Page verbatim but it deserves to be spread far and wide. Robert Andrew Robinson commented-“For information: Welshpool Town Council resolved on 27th March 2019 to ask their solicitors to serve notice on Powys County Council to seek implementation of the Charter between the two authorities. This is with regard to section 5.5 which states “5.5 Reduction or ceasing of services. Powys County Council will not cut any services in Welshpool without first giving Welshpool Town Council the opportunity to consider taking over such services”. The solicitors were instructed this morning (28/03) to take the process of serving notice forward. Town Clerk.” Thank you, Welshpool Town Council.” Save Welshpool Library Facebook.

  • Rochdale – Eyes down as call goes out for book bingo – Rochdale Online. “Book bingo will challenge library users to dip into popular titles and mark their special bingo cards, with the chance of scooping cash prizes. Timeless calls like ‘garden gate’, key of the door’ and ‘clickety click’ will be temporarily shelved and replaced with varieties like ‘re-read a book you love’, ‘made into a film’ and ‘includes magic’. Players can pick and mix any book from five of 25 categories and, after completing a line, can enter a free regional prize draw with a £200 first prize.”
  • South Gloucestershire – Two authors share first place at Concorde Book Award 2019 – South Gloucestershire Newsroom. “The Concorde Book Award is a long-running ‘young people’s Booker’ run by South Gloucestershire schools and public libraries in which groups of young people read a shortlist of novels. They are then encouraged to join a reading group, whether at school or in a local library, to read six books and talk about them with other group members, before voting on their favourite title.”
    • Hanham Library re-opens to welcome South Gloucestershire’s 5,000th Open Access user  – South Gloucestershire Newsroom. “Hanham library has become the latest in South Gloucestershire’s to offer residents the use of its facilities seven days-a-week, thanks to the installation of Open Access technology. The introduction of the system at Hanham Library also marked the fact that more than 5,000 people have now registered to use Open Access in South Gloucestershire’s libraries. Since Open Access was launched in South Gloucestershire in October 2017, registered users have visited our libraries more than 40,000 times. Feedback from users has been positive, with 88 per cent of users attending the introduction to Open Access sessions saying they feel they are helpful and the system is easy to use.”
  • St Helens – Cash prize on offer for St Helens bookworms – St Helens Reporter. “Readers in St Helens are being challenged to take part in a fun game of Book Bingo at their library, alongside thousands of people across the North West. Players can choose to read any book from suggested categories, such as “a book you have always wanted to read”, and when they complete a line, they will be entered into a free regional prize draw for a chance to win £200.”
  • South Tyneside – Whitburn village library all set to re-open – Sunderland Echo. “Whitburn Library is to re-open on Saturday after being closed to enable the charity to upgrade the computer network, re-decorate, train volunteers and install new toilet facilities. The library was under threat because of cuts by South Tyneside Council but has now been taken over by the charity Friends of Whitburn Library – set up by vet Rory Thomson.”
  • Suffolk – Children’s Month: April 2019 – Suffolk Libraries. “This April will be the first ever Suffolk Libraries Children’s Month – a brand new campaign to encourage more children and families to use their local library. Children’s Month will launch next week on International Children’s Book Day on 2 April and run throughout the month, starting with a launch event at Bungay LibraryTo help encourage greater use of libraries, Suffolk Libraries is also removing overdue charges for children’s books from 1 April.  “
  • Swindon – Community library in Swindon to offer extended hours – Swindon Advertiser. “Readers who use Liden library will soon be able to go and borrow books when there are no librarians on duty. It is the first library in Swindon run by community groups or parish councils to allow the sort of extended hours access that the central libraries run by Swindon Borough Council offer, using their library card.”
  • Warrington – LiveWire launches new social club for men to combat social inclusion – Warrington Worldwide. “Burtonwood Library staff decided to organise the group after hearing feedback that local men felt there was a lack of social events and opportunities for them in the area. If the group is successful then it could potentially be rolled out to other libraries in Warrington, as needed.  Drinks and biscuits were donated by Burtonwood Co-op, Old Hall Spar and Asda Westbrook, and the men who attended enjoyed chatting over a brew and a biscuit or slice of cake. Burtonwood PCSO Neil Brown also attended the first session, to offer support and discuss any community issues. There was also the option to enjoy a game or cards or dominos and there are plans for potential other activities with the club as it grows. “
  • Westminster – Help shape the future of libraries in WestminsterWestminster Council. “We want to hear from the community, users and staff to help create a plan of action, that will open up our libraries to deliver more for future generations.” Including Connected Libraries, independent report.
  • Worcestershire – Worcester library cuts: staff not even consulted – Socialist Party. “28 people came to Worcester Socialist Party’s second, very successful public meeting over the threats to library services. A rep for public sector union Unison in Worcestershire County Council explained that although there has been a ‘consultation’ over cuts to services, no consultation has been held with staff”
  • York – York Explore, which runs city libraries, to pay back £900,000 debts – Press. “The mutual’s annual report shows that it lost about £650,000 in the last financial year to March 2018 and is likely to lose money again in the current financial year, with net current liabilities of £876,853 at March 2018. However, the report says: “Forecasts for the year ended 31 March 2020, which is the first year of the new contract, show that as a result of increased income and identified cost savings the society will make a surplus. “It has been agreed that the final balance owed to City of York Council at 31 March 2019 will be repaid over a period of four years.”

151 becomes 150, social media and one more fine-free

Editorial

Although the last ten years have been pretty darn tumultuous ones for public libraries, one thing has been constant – the number of public library services in England being 151. That is going to change on 1 April, when Bournemouth and Poole formally unite (along with Christchurch) to become the 150th – or first, depending, on how one looks at it – library service. I understand that the publicity from the new council on its creation will feature libraries, which is great. Best of wishes to them.

It seems like barely a PLN post goes by without another library service announcing it is going fine-free and this one is not going to go against the trend: Bridgend’s libraries will become the first in Wales to take the step on 1 April. Not so wonderful is another Welsh trusts in Blaenau Gwent which, if I’m reading the news report correctly, spent money earmarked by the council for books on other things it needed instead. Hmm, not so impressive. Finally, a big thanks to Caitlin Murphy who has kindly answered a few questions on her role in social media for London Libraries below.

Changes by authority

An interview with Caitlin Murphy of @LDNLibraries

Caitlin Murphy knows her social media

How long have you been involved in social media / what’s your background?

Like most people, I initially started using social media for personal reasons to keep up with friends and family. In 2006, I was tasked with putting together a directory for a membership organisation I worked for, which was going to be a very tedious task. My boss still wanted the printed book, but he let me start a Facebook page, which turned out to be very successful, not only as a way for members to connect, but also for the organisation to promote itself and its events, and it is how they do their membership directory today. I’ve keenly followed the development of social media platforms since.

When did you take over the London Libraries @LDNlibraries twitter account and how come?

We didn’t so much take it over, bur start anew as we didn’t have the login details for the previous account – a good lesson there – this was in late 2016 to promote events around the first Worlds of Possibilities Festival that was to take place during Libraries Week. We organised the festival, wrote up the Arts Council grant application and did the publicity around the events. The @LDNLibraries Twitter account represents London’s public libraries across all the local authorities. We set up the Twitter account in October 2016, along with a Facebook page and Instagram account. We learned quickly that Twitter was the most popular platform for us to use, and have focussed on it the most. We think that while Facebook is good for events, and Instagram for sales or promotion, Twitter fits best with our brief, which is promoting public libraries in London.

Do you have a strategy with it? What do you cover? What don’t you cover?

Our first step was to consider the tone that we wanted to strike. Because its not an account for one library or one authority we needed a broad brush for this large canvas. We aim to be welcoming, approachable and a bit irreverent, and remind people that libraries adapt with the needs of their communities. Ultimately people go to the library because they want to, either for leisure or study or personal advancement and so library accounts need to reflect that welcoming atmosphere and spirit of possibility. We work to make the account reflect that balance of usefulness and pleasure.

In terms of strategy, we always use an image, we always tag 10 accounts – usually other London Libraries, but sometimes authors, publishers, news outlets, bloggers, or listings sites. Initially we put out posts that could be modified by other libraries to suit their audience, for example #NationalStoryTellingWeek or #Halloween to promote good practice. The widened scope of library Twitter has been hugely encouraging. More authorities are using Twitter as a platform and using it really well.

“we always use an image, we always tag 10 accounts”

We aim for 50 RTs as that should get us 5000 impressions or so. The vanity metrics aren’t important, but we do need to know whether our tweets are being received well or if we need to alter anything.

Any hints and tips you can give? Are including Twitter handles and hashtags a good idea?

Reaching more people in wider audiences would certainly help. If libraries were to promote their social media presence more in the libraries and on their websites and in the library I’m sure their followers would rise dramatically. Websites should indicate Twitter, Facebook and Instagram account handles (as below). And libraries should display their handles on the opening hours sign on the library doors, at the self check-outs and service desks.

” libraries should display their handles on the opening hours sign on the library doors, at the self check-outs and service desks”

A Twitter tag cascade would also help with retweets and cross promotion. We retweet as much as we can, but the volume is ever increasing. I would suggest that, when neighbouring authorities post something, they tag one another and retweet. Reaching out can only help libraries promote the amazing things that they are doing and the events they are hosting. In term of hashtags, be opportunistic!.Planning is good, but checking what’s trending on a certain day and tweeting about it has gotten us some of our most popular Tweet results and demonstrates that libraries feel the pulse of current events.

Some library services have to cope with limited freedom due to corporate social media policies. Any suggestions for what can be done for them?

Some authorities have one account for all of their libraries and some authorities have individual accounts for each library. Some accounts can’t be tagged in images, but can be mentioned in posts. I head some good advice at a conference once which was “Ask forgiveness not permission.” You can take it from there. Practically, there is nothing that stops an individual from promoting what they see in a library, be it a chess club or an author talk.

Orkney Libraries are the famous example of Twitter social media accounts. What do you think of them? Are there other good library accounts you’d suggest following?

Orkney is an inspiration as an account because you can really see the personality behind it. They obviously put a lot of thought into the tone that they want to strike. Its also remarkable because it’s not a place that anyone is going to casually find themselves at, but people are so interested in. They have really succeeded in making the ordinary really interesting and extraordinary with humour and intelligence. @ShetlandLibrary is also fantastic and the way that the two accounts have built a friendly rivalry is very entertaining. They also have a supportive rapport with @AnnCleeves based on her Shetland novels which is lovely to watch. Twitter has the reputation as being a venting ground, and those accounts have really demonstrated how to rise above that and have concentrated their efforts on promoting the wonderful things that happen in their libraries in a hugely entertaining way. Look up their Fortnite tweet. We’re still chuckling! @NYPL is very good – and they have linked accounts, cross-promoting their blogs and events such as @NYPLRecommends, @LIVEfromtheNYPL and @young_lions, which shows their incredible effort and coordination. Love them or hate them, @Waterstones does great book tweets, and good images of their book displays.

Any other questions you’d like me to ask but I haven’t?

I’ve mentioned Twitter a lot because that has been our greatest success, but I think that Instagram deserves consideration for libraries as it is growing so rapidly with audiences that may not use Twitter as actively. Instagram is image based and posting links is limited, but with some research it can reach out to a different audience. And it would be a fabulous tool for people who use the library to show their affection for books and learning.

“I think that Instagram deserves consideration for libraries as it is growing so rapidly with audiences that may not use Twitter as actively”

Caitlin Murphy is a communications consultant with expertise in internal communications and stakeholder engagement. Her career has taken her from Toronto to Moscow and now, London. She also really enjoys libraries.

News

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole agree council tax – BBC. “The borough councils of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are set to merge into a single unitary authority in April as part of a reorganisation of local government in Dorset.”
  • Concern for elderly as hundreds of computers are lost to Scotland’s libraries – Herald. “Resarch revealed by Open Knowledge International, which campaigns on data literacy, shows that Scotland had 4,264 computers in libraries in 2017-18, 281 fewer than in 2010/11. The decline in publicly accessible computers comes amid a greater push for government and other essential service providers, such as banks to digitise their services to cut costs. Age Scotland raised concerns about the loss as increasing numbers are being pushed onto the internet to get vital services.”
  • Essential reads: Sally Rooney, Lee Child, Jojo Moyes and Stephen Fry top list of top e-books in UK libraries – Evening Standard. “The list was compiled by Libby, an app for borrowing e-books and audiobooks from libraries.”
  • This is your last chance to sign the petition to protect our libraries – Big Issue. “At The Big Issue we never tire of banging on about the power of reading to improve lives,” says Big Issue editor Paul McNamee. “We have lobbied for better literacy across Britain. We have called for libraries to be kept open.
  • UK libraries dumped 11% of computers since 2010-11… everybody has one anyway, right? – Register. “Almost 4,000 computers have been cut from public libraries in England since 2010, with some 680 internet-connected machines lost in the past year. The figures, collated from Parliamentary information sources by UK Labour’s shadow digital and culture team and published by Huffington Post, show the extent of budget cuts on local services across the country.”
    • Digital exclusion will worsen as 4,000 public computers cut from libraries and jobcentres – FE News. “Research published from the House of Commons Library – commissioned by Labour’s shadow culture team –  shows that almost 4,000 public computers have been cut from libraries and jobcentres. Good Things Foundation knows from our work with our network across the country that having access to a computer and having digital skills can greatly improve a person’s life chances and quality of life.”
  • UK publishers urged to tackle library crisis – BookSeller. “Coates, a former Waterstones boss, argues the main problem with libraries is not a lack of funding but a shortage of books inside them. According to his analysis of figures last December, library spending on books fell 20% in year-on-year in the 12 months to the end of March 2018 ” … ““In America public libraries thrive and publishers support them. Publishers in the UK have lost interest in public library services because they now sell so little to them . What they are missing by this lack of concern is the longer term advantage that libraries offer of bringing readers into the market.” The campaigner has continually questioned why library services in the US and Australia appear to have held up while figures for the UK show a service in decline.”

Axiell Selflib
International news

  • Canada – This Library Takes an Indigenous Approach to Categorizing Books  – Yes Magazine. “The library aims to counter Western, colonial bias and better reflect the knowledge of Indigenous peoples. By offering an alternative to the widely used Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems, this library aims to take steps toward decolonizing the way information is sorted, cataloged, and shared.”
  • USA – Library fines hit Seattle’s lower-income neighborhoods hardest – Crosscut. “the proposed seven-year, $213.3 million property tax levy the mayor rolled out last week, Seattle Public Libraries would do away with late fees, following a trend of libraries across the country looking to make access to their materials and services more equitable. “We find that fines are barriers in ways that they really shouldn’t be, and they don’t need to be, and we can have a better system,”
  • USA: Library fines with Meg DePriest and Beth Crist – Princh. “Should library fines be abolished? Are they a vital source of revenue for libraries, or do they do more harm than good? Are they in line with the mission of libraries, or are they contradictory to it? You can find the answer to these and many other questions in episode two of the Princh Library Lounge! In this episode our host, Vicky Woolbarn, is joined by Beth Crist and Meg DePriest, two experts on the topic of library fines.”
  • USA – Oh it’s such a perfect library – Big Issue. “New York Public Library is issuing 6,000 new library cards emblazoned with Mick Rock’s iconic photograph of Reed as featured on the Transformer album sleeve, to celebrate the opening of the Lou Reed Archive.”

Local news by authority

  • Blaenau Gwent – Council gave trust £82k to spend on library stock but only £27k was used – South Wales Argus. “he county borough’s libraries are run by the Aneurin Leisure Trust, with money transferred from the council into a book fund to run services. Blaenau Gwent council allocated £82,000 to the book fund for 2017/18 but only £27,000 was spent by the Trust. Spending on resources for libraries in Blaenau Gwent is the lowest in Wales, according to the Museums, Archives and Libraries Division (MALD) of Welsh Government.”

“The meeting heard the council is working with the Trust to try to increase further the amount it spends on libraries. At a scrutiny meeting on Monday, Cllr Phil Edwards asked how many years libraries had been ‘robbed’ of funding which had been allocated for resources.”

  • Bridgend – Good news for book borrowers as Pyle Library reopens – Glamorgan Gem. “Pyle Library reopened this week and there was good news for all libraries in Bridgend county borough – fines on overdue books are to discontinued. Awen Cultural Trust, which runs the libraries, announced that it will be abolishing all late fines from April 1.” … “The registered charity, which runs 12 branches, a mobile library and a housebound service on behalf of Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC), will be the first in Wales to eliminate the fines, following in the footsteps of some libraries in England and the Republic of Ireland. “
  • Cheshire East – Conservatives launch Cheshire East manifesto for May’s election – Winsford and Middlewich Guardian. “Maintain the borough’s libraries and children’s centres”
  • East Dunbartonshire – Three East Dunbartonshire libraries ‘saved’ after new funding is found – Herald. “The fate of the libraries – around 40% of the local authority’s complement – were discussed on Thursday night as the local authority met to set its budget and how it fills what they say is an almost £8 million shortfall. In an 11th hour move, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat council administration has agreed £200,000 extra funds for its culture arm, the East Dunbartonshire Leisure Trust, which operates the library service to stave off any closure.”
  • Hertfordshire – St Albans Library reopens after major refurbishment – Hertfordshire County Council. “St Albans Library recently reopened its doors after a short closure, to show off all of its new and exciting features to the public. The library has had a complete facelift, with an improved children’s area, IT and study facilities, new low-level shelving to make the most of the views of the St Albans skyline, a bookable meeting room and a new CreatorSpace facility, which will be fully open to the public from Monday 25 March.”
  • Highlands – Bravery award for Fort William ‘gun’ incident librarianBBC. “A librarian has been recognised for her bravery in an incident where a man came into her building holding what looked like a handgun. Sandra MacLean, 63, who was working as a supervisor at the time, “calmly and discreetly” evacuated Fort William library of visitors and staff. After alerting police, she then went back into the building to make sure the man was still there. Ms MacLean left the library and locked it to make sure he could not escape. The man, who was 26, was jailed for 18 months in connection with the incident which happened on 25 May 25 2017. The gun was a replica.”
  • South Gloucestershire – Kingswood Library closes its doors but will reopen nearby soon – Bristol Live. “Kingswood Library has closed its doors while work is carried out to relocate it across the road. The library building, which was located at the end of Kingswood High Street, will be closed permanently from today (March 18). But the service will open to the public again on April 8, just across the road inside Kingswood Civic Centre.”
  • Suffolk – New chapter for The Coffee House duo at Bury St Edmunds Library – Bury Free Press. “Lucy Newell and Jessica Darnell, who run the business, moved into the library, in Sergeant’s Walk, at the beginning of the month after the lease at their Ixworth premises expired.”
  • Windsor and Maidenhead – Container library set to tour Royal Borough on the back of a lorry – Maidenhead Advertiser. “The container library was officially relaunched at an event outside Wraysbury Town Hall on Wednesday. The mobile library is attached to the back of a lorry and is set to journey across the Royal Borough. Its destinations will include Sunningdale, Wraysbury, Holyport, Shifford Crescent and Woodlands Park, and will contain hundreds of books, as well as eBooks, eAudiobooks, large print books and eMagazines. The self-service kiosk will also allow residents to make payments for council services like council tax or green bin subscriptions.”

It’s an honour

Editorial

Good to see computers being replaced in Lancashire this week but, overall, the Huddington Post estimates an impressive 4000 public computers have been lost since 2010. Perhaps if public libraries were more respected then not so many would have been killed. Libraries Connected have a plan about that, wanting to encourage more people to be nominate especially impressive public librarians for the Honours List. You can read about it below, and my thoughts on why you should in a separate post. Another MBE here or BEM there won’t make all the difference of course but it can’t hurt. What will make a difference is yourselves, working hard to make your library services as good as possible and spreading the news that libraries are worth more than any honour.

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If not now, when? Plus a fair bit of good news

Editorial

A fair amount of good news today. In a subject close to my heart – not least because I’ve seen children cry and people walk away from libraries over the issue – another library service, Blackpool,  has announced that it will get rid of all fines. That makes nine services in the UK so far and I understand that there’s a lot of interest out there from other ones as well. The debate about practicality of waiving fines seems to be over before it even started: the time has come for getting rid of fining your customers,  it’s just working out how to fund it.  In other news, Powys has backed down from £200k cuts thus continuing the tradition of Welsh and Scottish councils being more willing to change their minds on the issue than their English counterparts. Cambridge has scrapped new computer charges after noticing they were only making one tenth of the expected income, due to, well, the people who use them not having tons of money. And a Suffolk library is being refurbished and having its opening hours extended. It’s a joy to report on libraries today frankly. My thanks also to Liz Gardner for taking the time in this post to explain the idea and practice behind having video bedtime stories. It strikes me as a really good and duplicatable idea. Get on it, Public Libraries News readers.

Finally, it’s the couple of weeks of the national library petition. It’s got nearly 33,000 signatures already but could do with a ton more. Get on it, sign it and tell people you know how important it is. Because, of if not now, when?

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