Go (North) West

Editorial

So we have a new prime minister. Oh well. Moving on …

It’s great to see another library service going fines-free. Well done to Oldham, which is now the fifth in the North West alone to remove a key barrier to equality and usage, and the fourteenth in the UK as a whole. Also, in the North West I’m also delighted that Warrington – which went through an absolutely disastrous consultation about cuts a few years ago but has since come good – is looking to the future and that Manchester continues to go great guns. Elsewhere, outside of that region, things are less good, with ongoing drama in Northamptonshire and Essex as well as strike action brewing in Bradford.

Changes

National news

Opening the Book have been thinking

  • Libraries as a statutory service – DCMS. Useful information including how to complain about a cut library service.
  • Library closures scandal: parents urged to book a library trip in the summer holidays – Express. Mainly the Reading Agency press release but also Konnie Huq says “As a mother-of-two, I am all too well aware that public libraries can be a godsend during the long break. Feeling stressed before and during the summer holidays is all too common for many parents. Finding things to do and making sure your kids are enjoying every minute of their time can be a pretty full-on occupation. The Summer Reading Challenge is a fun, free activity for children which encourages reading for pleasure by providing access to books through local libraries.”
  • Library systems in use in UK library authorities – Local Government Library Technology. List of all library services with their provider, previous provider and consortia if applicable.
  • ‘Loss of library market making publishers risk-averse’, says Ann Cleeves – Bookseller. “Giving the closing keynote at the National Library Conference, held in Harrogate on Friday (19th July) as part of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, Cleeves called on her audience to be “disruptive, subversive”, in supporting the library service, saying:  “We need libraries more than ever – when there is a danger fake news may triumph, we need places where truth is told; and when we are riven with disagreement we need places where we come together to discuss our differences reasonably; we also need a place to escape.””
  • Magus of the Library Volume 1 Review – Anime UK News. “Magus of the Library, from publisher Kodansha Comics, is a relatively new series (only three  volumes in Japan so far), which promises to show us why libraries and books are so important. Set in a fantasy world, it aims to both teach and entertain with a collection of quirky and lovable characters – but does it deliver? Let’s find out!”
  • PM speech at Manchester Science and Industry Museum  – BBC. Boris Johnson said “… And we’re now going to have a £3.6 billion Towns Fund supporting an initial 100 towns. So that they will get the improved transport and improved broadband connectivity that they need. They’ll also get help with that vital social and cultural infrastructure, from libraries and art centres to parks and youth services: the institutions that bring communities together, and give places new energy and new life …”
  • Use of Volunteers in Public Libraries – Sheffield University. “I’m completing an MA degree in Librarianship and I’m currently carrying out my dissertation research on ‘The Use of Volunteers in Public Libraries’. I am looking for paid staff working in public libraries across the UK to complete a short online questionnaire on the topic of volunteers in libraries.”

International news

  • Canada – Vancouver Pride bans library from parade over event featuring ‘transphobic’ activistCBC. “The pride society says the decision is a result of the library allowing “transphobic and anti-sex worker speaker Meghan Murphy” to book space for an event on Jan. 10.” … “The VPS said it recognizes the role of libraries as hubs for public debate and free thought, “but not past the point that the speech is discriminatory based on protected grounds.”
  • USA – ALA denounces new Macmillan library lending model, urges library customers to voice objections – ALA News. “The American Library Association (ALA) denounces the new library ebook lending model announced today by Macmillan Publishers. Under the new model, a library may purchase one copy upon release of a new title in ebook format, after which the publisher will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title sold to libraries.”
    • Crowds rally for Drag Queen Story Hour: ‘It just shows how far we’ve come’ – Reno Gazette Journal. 600 attended. “Many waved rainbow flags and held posters that read: “Jesus wore a dress,” “Hate is a drag,” and “All are fabulously welcome.””.  One man protested. Library Deletes Photos of Children Fondling Drag Queens During ‘Story Hour’ – Breitbart. Drag Queens Are Bringing Families Together at Public Libraries Across the U.S. – Them. ““It came out of a community need I was hearing from parents about their kids being bullied for … not fitting into rigid gender stereotypes,” says Mills. Working with colleagues, they created a curriculum rooted in acceptance and kindness, collaborating with family-focused Pride events.”
    • Linkedin to libraries: drop dead – Boing Boing. Lynda.com online learning, used by many US libraries, is now moving to “LinkedIn Learning” … “If libraries accept this change, it will mean that any patron who uses this publicly funded service will also have to have a publicly searchable Linkedin profile. Linkedin’s explanation of why this is OK is purest tech-bro PR … condescending and dismissive. “
    • How To Promote a Library Event on a Small Budget – Princh. “Effectively managing the budget of the library is an important and continuous task. Any strategies to help promote library services, raise awareness for libraries and attract library visitors at a low cost are enticing for libraries to review and potentially implement. Egor Gerashchenko, chief of Marketing & Development Department, Central Library System of Moscow Region shares his experience in this blog about how he was able to effectively and successfully promote an event that attracted a substantial number of visitors, and media mentions at a very low cost. Read below to see how Egor was able to do this.”

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Aberdeenshire libraries to act as NHS hearing aid battery collection points – Mearns Leader. “Patients are reminded in order to receive a pack of batteries from their local library they must produce the NHS Audiology Booklet or leaflet that they have been given by their hearing aid consultant as evidence they are entitled to this service”
  • Bradford – Frustration as details of museum and library cuts still to be revealed – Telegraph and Argus. “Members of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Environment Scrutiny Committee had expected to learn more about what the vital services would look like after their budget is slashed when they met in City Hall on Wednesday evening. But they were instead told that details of closures, shake ups or job losses would not be revealed until September at the earliest.”
    • Strike action could be on the cards for Bradford library and museum staff – Wharfedale Observer. “The Unite union has announced it is holding a consultative ballot of its 50-or-so library and museum members in Bradford district to see if they wish to proceed to a full-scale industrial action ballot. Union bosses have accused Bradford Council of regarding libraries and museums as “soft targets” and said it should be “ashamed” of attacking “low paid, mostly female workers”.”
  • Brent – Library Operations ManagerSalary range: £42,684- £45,585 “This is a critical role in the successful running and development of the library services. The post holder will be responsible for effectively managing the senior staff at each branch and will ensure the smooth operation of our premises. Based at The Library at Willesden Green, the post holder will also be responsible for the hires officer, contracts and partnerships in the centre, generating opportunities for the service to develop and generate income. Developing new partnerships within the community and the Council, and ensuring the service continues to perform at a high level are also key responsibilities of the post.
    • Library Stock Development ManagerSalary range: £35,724 – £38,799 “This is a key role within the library management team, responsible for effectively managing the stock budgets, collections and supplier relationships. Collection development is an important aspect of the role and it is a priority for us to ensure that our stock continues to meet the needs and interests of our residents. The pos tholder will also take a lead on the effective promotion of the library stock, through staff development, campaigns and community engagement. Management of the Home Library and Community Outreach stock services also falls within the remit of the role.
  • Bridgend – Change to library services in Bridgend – Llantwit Major Today. “The reference library in Bridgend is set to move to Maesteg to pave the way for further development on the Sunnyside site.” … “Plans going before Bridgend County Borough Council’s cabinet on July 23 would see the local and family history service move to Y Llynfi Library at Maesteg Sports Centre on a temporary basis. It would then move to Maesteg Town Hall after its planned £6m redevelopment has taken place. Council officers said the library at Maesteg Sports Centre was the only suitable and cost-effective location for the service. The reference library receives around 6,000 visits a year.” … “the local authority said it needs to reduce the management fee payable to Awen by £150,000 between 2019 and 2021, based on reviewing the number of libraries and reductions in services or opening hours.”
  • Devon – ‘The rest was history’ Carol celebrates 20 years in the library – Sidmouth Herald.
  • Essex – Essex council which U-turned on library closures signs off plans – BBC. News. “A county council which saw celebrities back a campaign against its plan to shut libraries has signed off a five-year strategy for its loan service. But campaigners say they are still no clearer how this plan will operate.” … “On Wednesday, the council confirmed it was still seeking volunteers to keep the small branches open.”
  • Lancashire – Preston’s Savick Library shuts temporarily after problem is discovered with ceiling – Lancashire Evening Post. “Although we haven’t got a definite date for the library to reopen yet, we will do all we can to make sure that this happens as soon as possible. “
  • Manchester – New Chairperson appointed to lead Manchester City of Literature – Manchester City Council.
    • Spirit of Manchester” statue to tour Greater Manchester libraries – Manchester City Council. “After spending time on display at libraries in each of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs, the statue will end its tour at Manchester Art Gallery, where it will remain on view until it takes up permanent residence at Manchester Town Hall, which reopens to the public in 2024.”
  • Moray – Letter to Moray Council – CILIPS. Concern over opening Moray libraries up to the open market. “Our concern is that the above process may lead to library services being delivered in ways that may affect the local community’s ability to access an adequate public library service as required by the Local Government Act, particularly if the model that was ultimately pursued was one where library services were to be delivered by fewer paid and trained staff and without adequate Council funding”
  • Northamptonshire – Investigation at Desborough Town Council after conflict of interest allegations – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Kettering Council’s monitoring officer has commissioned an investigation after a complaint by a Desborough resident concerning seven of the town’s councillors also being involved in the Desborough Library and Community Hub which is asking for a large grant from the town council.
    • Extraordinary meeting this week about whether town council should buy Desborough library – Northants Telegraph. “Desborough Town Council is holding an extraordinary meeting on Thursday (July 25) to decide whether it should put up £210,000 from its own funds to help buy the building in High Street from Northamptonshire County Council”
    • Hope for nearly all under-threat Northants libraries – Northamptonshire Telegraph. “Northamptonshire County Council says that it has had business plans from 15 of the 17 libraries which will no longer receive statutory protection after the cash-strapped authority decided to reduce its library earlier this year. Just Higham Ferrers Library and St James’ library in Northampton are still to have a concrete proposal, with the authority saying it has extended the deadline to try to ensure the libraries remain open.”
  • Oldham – Always getting library fines? If you live in Oldham, it won’t be a problem for much longer – Manchester Evening News. “Over the past two decades, 14,000 people have had their library membership restricted due to long overdue books and outstanding fines. Town hall officers say large numbers of residents came from some of the most ‘deprived wards’ in the borough”

“Axing fines is not expected to lead to a loss of stock, Coun Fielding said, adding “Quite frankly, if you were going to steal a book and never return it, you wouldn’t be bothered about the fine anyway.””

  • Oxfordshire – Oxfordshire libraries raise profile with little help from Friends – Oxford Times. “More than 20 Friends groups are now active across Oxfordshire County Council’s network of 43 libraries, helping to extend opening hours and putting on a host of events. The first Friends group was formed at Stonesfield Library in 2013 and hundreds of volunteers are now involved across the county.” … “Having a Friends group not only helps ensure that the community and library users have a voice and can engage with us on how library services are delivered, but also helps to foster the sense of community ownership and pride in the library facility. “
  • Redbridge – Residents feel ‘blackmailed’ into backing Gants Hill hub plans but Redbridge Council says it is trying to save libraries – Ilford Recorder. “Our concern is that if the residents say no to a new hub and flats, this administration will close our library and blame residents and government cuts when the truth is they find funding for plenty of other things,””
  • Southampton – How Southampton City Libraries are helping hundreds of people with digital skills – Digital Unite. “We proactively recruit Champions via posters and on our website and ask them to commit around two hours each week. Following a short interview process we give them access to the training on the Digital Champions Network. We now have 11 Digital Champions in nine libraries, 4 are retired and 2 are studying. The teaching activity varies across our branches depending on the demand by residents and the availability of our Champions. “
  • Warrington – New three-year plan to transform borough’s libraries – Warrington Worldwide. “At the heart of the strategy is the mission to make Warrington libraries “valued community spaces that make a positive difference to the lives of the people that use them and to make them “welcoming spaces for all, offering the opportunity for reading, learning, enjoyment, reflection, calm, safety, creativity, insight and inspiration.”

Universal Offers reduced to four, or possibly increased to six

Editorial

Thank you everyone for a strong response to my article last post on the purpose of public libraries. I include some of the responses below. By coincidence, the Universal Offers have just been reviewed and give an idea of what library services are expected to actually do. Thank goodness that there are now fewer Offers – I had feared that they would grow in number and barely anyone can remember the old list now. There are now just four, although two are combined (Information and Digital, Culture and Creativity: with “Creativity” being new) so there is a case that the number has actually increased to six by stealth. The last one, Health and Wellbeing also has an “and” in it of course, because for some reason just “Health” is not enough of a buzzword. So the  public library service is still expected to do a very wide spectrum of things with very little actual focus. However, I personally am delighted that “Reading” is, thank goodness, still on its own and at the top of the list.

Changes

Purpose of libraries

“… I entered the profession (as it was then…) at a time when outreach was accepted as an important part of the library remit. However its role was to draw people into libraries so that they could be introduced to the books and information waiting there and that they might not otherwise have crossed the door to see. Recently it has seemed that these activities which were once a hook have become the sole purpose of the service, and as you rightly say are competing with other organisations providing similar things either more or less successfully but certainly not differently. You query the paternalistic intentions in the founding of many libraries – I would also say that libraries then actually expressed pride in the achievements and aspirations of individual towns and communities, and a thriving and well stocked library was one example of a prosperous community. I don’t think there can be any question that books (hard copy or digital) and unbiased information are any less needed now than they were a hundred years ago. The National Literacy Trust website offers stark figures regarding the literacy levels in the UK, and it is known that (like children’s reading levels over the summer) adult levels fall post formal education but can be restored with practice. This is apart from all the benefits of broadening the mind, dispelling prejudices and thinking laterally which reading can encourage. By letting access to library materials decline the world of fake news and its perpetrators increase their influence to the detriment of us all.” Retired library manager.

“I wouldn’t attempt to answer the question “What problem are libraries designed to solve?” because it is too limiting. As well ask what problem universities are designed to solve!  Public libraries exist so that everyone can have free access to existing human knowledge. Problems of recording and preservation are (with a few limited exceptions) the remit of other libraries and other organisations, but freedom of access (place, time, cost) and expert guidance are very much the province of the public library.” “Erstwhile school librarian”

“I totally agree with your editorial below: At [a conference] I had the same feeling; delegates were confronted with a plethora of 3d printers, toys, self-publishing, etc that seemed to be peripheral to the core library mission of providing free content across a range of formats. The fact that a) most people don’t know what libraries have and b) don’t know how to access it seems to be lost on much of the library leadership, who seem to be trying to do a thousand different new things at once – mostly badly. If they were to stick to their knitting and focus on marketing their free content and training users and staff in getting to it, they would engage more users, increase usage, and have a good story to tell funders.” Library supplier

“If people don’t “get” someone’s message, what needs to happen in order for connection to be made? The fault is rarely if ever 100% with the recipient… “like parks, but for information and culture” is as close as we’ve got yet (and even that is pretty hard external sell) … [Public Libraries News] is the most thought through.” Matt Finch

“I was thinking (again) and if organizations that have a clear purpose are being cut and under some threat – making big generalisations here – what hope for libraries? We’re good at talking ourselves up between ourselves, but where’s our elevator pitch for the wider world?”

“Something I was playing with today was that the library is a place to explore ideas; the problem it seeks to solve is what is it to be human. Novels ways to explore different viewpoints, meeting place to exchange & debate, creative activities to express & try out ideas.” Twitter.

“Interesting but narrow take on what a public library is for. For me it is simply “helping people to help themselves” Darren Smart

National news

  • Backlash grows against unstaffed libraries – Guardian. “East Finchley is one of about 150 libraries across the country now using “open library” technology to introduce unstaffed hours. This means you can access buildings, even if there are no library staff present, with your library card and a pin number and use self-service scanners to return and check out books.” … “There are clear benefits, but some argue that a library without a librarian isn’t a library at all. “It’s a folly … it is dishonest to represent this as a library service when taxpayers have paid for a quality service with a librarian,” said Nick Poole, chief executive of the UK Library Association.”
  • Drag queens oust God from the reading corner – Conservative Woman. “While God is being ejected from the reading corner, libraries are engaging badly made-up middle-aged men in frocks to read stories about sexual diversity to children. “
  • Four refreshed Universal Library Offers announced – Libraries Connected. “Libraries Connected today launches their refreshed Universal Library Offers, which demonstrate work that every public library service does to enrich the lives of individuals and their communities. The four revised offers are: Reading; Digital and Information; Culture and Creativity; Health and Wellbeing.
  • Is LIS research important to information professionals? – Robert Gordon University. Questionnaire for an MSc in library and information studies.
  • Nielsen Book to sponsor Libraries Week in two-year CILIP partnership – BookSeller. “Nielsen Book has joined forces with library and information association CILIP to sponsor its reading campaign alongside National Libraries Week in a new two-year partnership. The deal, announced today (17th July), sees Nielsen get behind Libraries Week, which this year focuses on the facilities’ future in a digital age and runs from 7th to 12th October. It will also support the Building a Nation of Readers campaign, which is attempting to bring together authors, publishers, booksellers, distributors and libraries to identify challenges to reading and potential collaborations.” …”A separate deal, also announced today, will also see Libraries Week sponsored by Rakuten OverDrive, a digital reading platform for libraries and schools.”
  • Philipa Coughlan meets Stephen Booth – NB Magazine. “My local library was a lifeline to me when I was growing up. It was not only where I discovered a love of books and reading, but it gave me a great start to my early education. I don’t think I’d be where I am now, making a living as a writer, without the existence of that little branch library. So I’m very sad when I see them closing. I do a lot of library events now as an author, and the situation is very patchy in different parts of the country. Some areas are losing most of their libraries, while others, like Nottinghamshire, have managed not only to survive, but to thrive. So we know it can be done. But it often comes down to political will on the part of particular local authorities, who too often see libraries as a ‘soft target’. I think it’s very short-sighted, as a good library puts far more back into the community than it costs. I have high hopes that Nottingham can do something splendid with its new central library. It’s a UNESCO City of Literature after all – and if any city should have a wonderful flagship library, this is it.”
  • Project: To what extent do Members of Parliament engage with public libraries in their constituencies, and how does this shape their perceptions of libraries? – University of Sheffield. “I’m a Masters student at the University of Sheffield currently working on my dissertation. I’m investigating how Members of Parliament engage with the public libraries in their constituencies, and am attempting to get responses from both Members of Parliament and frontline library staff in West and South Yorkshire. “
  • We have libraries that are under-utilised – why not revamp them as centres for women in business?‘  – Daily Telegraph (behind paywall). Libraries should offer private space to women who want to start businesses, MPs report say – Daily Telegraph. “In a bid to boost female entrepreneurship in post-brexit Britain, the group say that libraries should be “used more widely across the UK to provide the home of business hubs including specific support for women owned businesses.” The All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise says that “there is a national decline in the traditional use of libraries”, but the “unique reach and accessibility” of the buildings can attract a more diverse audience and host business support services.”

International news

  • Australia – How public libraries can help prepare us for the future – The Conversation. “Long-term planning is always challenging. It’s simply impossible to gather data from events that haven’t happened yet. Sometimes we may detect trends, but these can fall apart under what some foresight experts call “TUNA conditions”, when we face Turbulence, Uncertainty, Novelty or Ambiguity. Think of someone trying to predict that experiments with debt on Wall Street would lead to the global financial crisis and the political ripples that have followed. Think of trying, today, to foretell all the long-term consequences of climate change … Enter scenario planning”.
  • Canada – Online critics poke fun at Canada ‘warship’ library – BBC News. “The building – still in the midst of its revitalisation – is being compared to a tank, a battleship, even a deceptive dating profile picture. The criticism is centred over its current form compared to some original architectural renderings. “How did we get from A to B? Embarrassing. It’s so ugly,” said one Twitter user.” … “Another said: “Don’t judge a book by its cover. And don’t judge an unfinished building by its cladding.” Others pointed out that residents were lucky to “to live in a city that loves libraries” regardless of what the building looks like.”
  • Eire – Libraries across country to get funding for educational support– RTE. “Funding of €650,000 from the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2019 has been allocated to libraries across Ireland. The money will be used to provide supports for marginalised and socially disadvantaged communities.”
  • USA – Free Book Vending Machines Launched Across All NYC Boroughs – CBS New York. “When you think vending machines, it’s usually chips and soda. But these are filled with free books, and they’re for everyone, reports CBS2’s Cindy Hsu. The idea is to promote reading for toddlers to 14-year-old readers, especially in under-served communities” … ““They can take as many as they want, they are free. One hundred percent, and you don’t have to return them,” “
  • USA – Libraries Must Draw the Line on E-books  – Publishers Weekly. “We have reached a tipping point. Access to digital content in libraries is more than a financial issue; it is an equity issue. Ask yourself this: if libraries are effectively shut out of performing their traditional roles in the digital realm, do you trust Amazon to be the public’s open nd fair discovery engine?  To those who are truly stakeholders and champions of libraries, I ask you to weigh in and stand with us. And I challenge all librarians and library supporters to think about what our next steps will be.”
  • USA – National conference teaches librarians how to sneak drag queens past parents – Lifesite News. “The conference was held just as disturbing stories came to light across the country about Drag Queen Story Times (DQST) held in public libraries.”

Local news by authority

  • Barnsley – New Barnsley library opens in £180m regeneration project – BookSeller. “A new state-of-the-art library has opened in the centre of Barnsley as the “cornerstone” of a £180m regeneration project. Part of the Glass Works scheme, the new facility officially opened its doors on Saturday 13th July with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a poetry reading by Ian McMillan. The four-storey library is situated in the Lightbox building, which has a transparent glass exterior designed to illuminate Barnsley’s new town square.” … “Each of the floors provide digital services including cutting-edge virtual reality, a training suite with a 65-inch interactive touch screen and tablet computers. Fully accessible, it also includes a sanctuary room for people with autism and will host a music and memories group supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, designed for people living with dementia and their carers.
  • Bexley – Diversification sees boost in library visits – Bexley Times. “Visits to libraries in Bexley have soared by 45,000 compared to last year … “The Libraries at Night project was a great success earlier this year and along with our annual BookBuzz festival, the activities put on at all of our libraries bring all sorts of people in. Author visits, comedians and even live rock music are all part of the fun.” He added: “Our Crayford Library is home to a post office, Welling Library offers freelance or start up office space – The Workary – and the Central Library is home to our Local Studies and Archive Team. All our libraries run special sessions and clubs that range from ‘Bexley Battle Gamers’ to ‘Gardeners Coffee Club’. These are just some examples. Our community libraries continue to be busy and by managing their own time and programme have branched out in ways that would not have been possible before.”
  • Brent – Preston Community Library is ‘highly commended’ in The Booksellers prestigious awards competition – Brent and Kilburn Times. “The volunteer-run Preston Community Library (PCL), in Carlton Avenue East, has been recognised in The Bookseller Library of the Year 2019. They are the first community library to ever be shortlisted as the competition usually recognises publicly funded libraries. Volunteers celebrated its shortlisting on Sunday by awarding its annual certificates of excellence to children who entered The Saman Shamsie Young Writers’ Challenge”
  • Bromley – Bromley libraries: Council meeting halted after public outbursts – News Shopper. “Bromley library protesters forced a council meeting to be halted this week after calls for a review of the controversial service were pushed back until September. Two members of the public shouted “you’re a disgrace” at councillors as they proposed pushing back a debate on Greenwich Leisure Limited’s management of Bromley’s libraries. Workers are currently on indefinite strike over pay and vacant job posts, claiming they are being asked to act as management with no extra pay to fill gaps.” … ““The service is being run into the ground and that is not what was promised. We cannot continue to ignore this situation.” In response, council leader Colin Smith pointed out that the contract with GLL is already set to be reviewed at a scrutiny meeting in September. He said: “Naturally we would argue and rebut much of that, but there is little point tonight. The contract is being reviewed in September. I move no further debate tonight and we take it in September.”
  • Cumbria – Barrow Library will be hosting a BBC Virtual Reality experience throughout JulyEvening Mail. “The national tour has been devised in partnership with the BBC, Libraries Connected and the Scottish Library and Information Council. The experience will give members of the public the opportunity to try out new virtual reality experiences with state of the art headsets supplied by the BBC.”
  • Essex – Campaigners’ challenge over £18k library promise – Gazette News. “County Council bosses were unable to tell campaigners and councillors where proposals to give volunteers £18,000 to run libraries had come from. Council leader David Finch and culture boss Susan Barker were quizzed about the figure at a scrutiny meeting. Under the proposals any community-run libraries will be given a grant of £18,000 split across three years. But campaigners demanded to know how the council had reached the figure, when they say it can cost more than £30,000 a year to run some services.” … “The council employs around 660 staff across 225 full-time equivalent roles. Mrs Barker said: “If nobody comes forward we still need those 660 people.”
    • Everything you need to know about Essex County Council’s new library strategy – Gazette Standard.
    • How to run a library campaign: Save Our Libraries “Emma Batrick, a SOLE organiser, explains how the campaign has grown and how it is now organised. Andrew Coburn – a CILIP member, Library Campaign Treasurer, former Essex library services employee and longstanding UNISON officer – gives a professional view of the workforce.”
    • Josephine Backman Juliff, 11, key to Essex library success – Chelmsford Weekly News. “he Hamilton Primary School pupil made it her mission to spread the word about the importance of the service. And Josefine has been instrumental in giving young people a voice in the discussions. Josefine, who starts secondary school at Paxman Academy in September, also went out of her comfort zone to give an impassioned speech to more than 600 people. Josefine didn’t stop there decorating a window at her home with information on how to save the libraries and giving out leaflets.”
    • Library decision is ‘closure by stealth’ – Bishops Stortford Independent. ““I would say this revised strategy is worse than the proposed one. It represents a stealth closure of the library service across swathes of the county – a service that ECC is statutorily obliged to provide,” said parish councillor Daniel Brett. “Until and unless they agree to funding staff and maintaining stock, computers and staff at Stansted library, the fight for the library is not over.”
    • MP Sir Bernard Jenkin praises Manningtree community for efforts to save libraries – Harwich and Manningtree Standard.
    • Tendring Council promise no libraries will be closed – Clacton and Frinton Gazette. “A motion by Labour group leader Ivan Henderson, which calls on the county council to rule out the closures or any reduction in opening hours of public libraries in Tendring and to instead concentrate on making better use of them as community hubs was passed unanimously. “
  • Hertfordshire – Chance to use Berkhamsted’s library without a librarian – Mix 96. “The new system – known as ‘open+’ – replaces the traditional library membership card with a swipe card and PIN system.” … “Despite the change, the traditional opening hours at Berkhamsted – when the library will be staffed by a librarian – will remain the same. But the ‘open+’ system will allow users to access the building for an extra 31 hours a week.”
  • Manchester – Museum pieces find new home during Manchester redevelopment – Jewish Chronicle. “Items from Manchester Jewish Museum will be displayed in Central Library pop-up while permanent premises are closed for reconstruction” … “Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will open the pop-up on July 15 and it will be open to the general public from the following day. “We’re thrilled to be moving into such a busy and prestigious venue,” museum chief executive Max Dunbar said.”
  • Norfolk – New King’s Lynn library business support scheme launched – Lynn News. “The Business and IP (Intellectual Property) Centre at the London Road building is the first of three hubs to be set up around Norfolk, following the establishment of a similar centre in Norwich.”
  • North Yorkshire – Library of the Year: Harrogate Library triumphs on nine-strong shortlist – BookSeller. “Harrogate Library’s energetic approach and packed programme has seen it become a real centre of the community, with a strong track record across the board: with children, with older teenagers, experienced adult readers and library newcomers alike”
  • Oldham – Oldham Libraries to create three ‘Libraries of Sanctuary’ – Oldham Council. “The £47,000, awarded from the Control Migration Fund (CMF) – the Home Office Funding – earlier this year, will be used to build better community relations and foster good community relations, which will benefit the whole town. Free courses, classes and activities will be developed, including English conversation classes and cultural activities. Monthly community activities will also be on offer alongside a wealth of volunteering opportunities to increase volunteering at libraries and in their local area.”
  • Suffolk – Suffolk Libraries launches the first ever celebration of the county’s library service– Suffolk Libraries. “The first ever Suffolk Libraries Day will take place on Saturday 12 October 2019, at the end of National Libraries Week. Special events will be taking place at all 44 of our libraries, with the aim of showcasing everything libraries have to offer the community. The day will also raise funds to support the county’s library service.”
    • Chantry Library given £15,000 makeover – Ipswich Star. “Large parts of the work at Chantry Library, which has been open for 52 years, were paid for by its Friends group of volunteers who fundraised for the improvements. The Friends of Chantry Library spent £892 on a new carpet for the children’s area, £371.31 on new black out blinds and £2,190 of painting of walls inside the premises. New furniture worth £11,906.30 in total was paid for out of Suffolk County Council’s library reserve fund.”

The purpose of a public library, Essex and the rest of the public libraries news

Editorial

A sort of congratulations to Essex for backing down a bit on closing libraries. The protests against the deep proposed cuts there has been impressive, with all sorts of protests going on, ranging from marches to gaining celebrity endorsements. The council has been a bit taken aback, it looks like, from all this but it’s conciliatory response still includes volunteer libraries. The reaction by campaigners has noted this and complained about it. This story does not have a happy ending yet.

As expected, my daring to issue a press statement from GLL about the Bromley strike led to attacks on social media, with the very first tweet being from a now definitively ex-friend snidely suggesting I was in the pay of the leisure trust.  I notice the CILIP response to an open letter, also about GLL as it happens, states that it won’t talk about the letter on social media and I can quite understand why.

I have been off ill again this week, which is very annoying on all sorts of levels. Apart from, well, being ill, It has stopped me doing a bunch of work for a start, left me with an abiding dislike of doing nothing and delayed me writing about the CILIP conference and doing some more work on the Bromley dispute. But I have got better enough this weekend for me, after I was challenged on the issue, to have a think about the purpose of public libraries. And I think this purpose thing is important because we are as a sector a bit rubbish at explaining what it is, which is a bit of a downer when we are trying to persuade people of our cause. So have a look at my thoughts below and see what if you agree. I’d be fascinated to hear your responses.

Changes

The purpose of public libraries

I was challenged a few days ago to explain what problem public libraries are designed to meet, which got me thinking. Once up a time, of course,  the answer was simple. It was a very Victorian paternalistic desire to provide reading, study, job-seeking and other “betterment” services to the “deserving poor“. The system set up for this was above all local, due to the knowledge that the expected clients could not afford to travel long distances.

Nowadays, we still do much of the same stuff, although we would recoil at using such patronising Victorian descriptions. However, we have also added a ton of other stuff that has on the face of it only a tangential relationship with what we did before. These include council services, theatre shows, preschool entertainment, community centre style offerings, village hall style room bookings and social groups. Basically, there’s not been a service yet that the public library service can seemingly say no to.

This is fine in a way in that the sector is still addressing the central need of  providing resources to the resource-less: social groups for the lonely, theatre shows for those without a theatre, training on how to use the internet etc. That’s all good. It’s also a strength in that it means the service is definitely changing with the times.

But some of this is highly questionable and smacks of us trying to look busy. After all, community centres do community centre stuff better, theatres do theatre better etc. Sometimes, this search for replacement activity results in libraries trying to muscle into these services while perfectly good and better alternatives exist nearby.

But the main problem with this Jack Of All Trades approach – just look at the universal offers sometime –  is that the service has greatly expanded its remit while at the same time the budget has substantially shrunk. This has led to a lower quality service overall, notably on the book side but also on the building quality and staff side as well.

Don’t get me wrong. As purposes go, “resources for the resource-less” is a pretty long-term and lofty goal. If Labour eventually gets its act together and wins an election then it is hoped by many that we will be showered with money and everything will be OK. If not then it means an increasing need to muscle in on funding previously given to the health sector, the cultural sector, the charity sector and, well, probably the kitchen sink sector too. But I think the major problem with this catch-all approach is that as long as librarians fail to put a limit on their ambition then they will forever find the funding wanting.

News

  • Call for proposals – Game Library Camp. “Do you have ideas on the use of games in libraries that you want to share, games you want to test, questions you want to explore? We are pleased to open the call for proposals for workshops and talks at Game Library Camp 2019. “
  • Cressida Cowell: New Children’s Laureate wants to ‘take on TV’ – BBC. “Boosting creative writing in schools and halting the decline of primary school libraries will be the focus of her attention in the first instance. ” … “Cowell said that despite many attempts by previous children’s laureates, “no-one has answered the question, ‘If your children can’t afford books and you don’t have a public library… and your primary school library has closed, how can you become a reader for the joy of it?’”
  • Labour won’t just end austerity, it will enrich people’s lives – Guardian. Shadow chancellor of the exchequer writes. “It would be wrong to think of this as just being about the bare essentials of life. In recent years, spending cuts have led to the neglect, privatisation and even closure of public libraries, parks and leisure centres. Not only does this undermine social ties, it can – to those without the means to pay – deny access to a rich cultural life.”
  • Libraries boost UK economy and diversity aside from culture, report claims – Museums and Heritage. “In the period between January 2016 to December 2018 the British library’s Business & IP Centres helped facilitate the creation of 12,288 new businesses and 7,843 additional jobs, according to the new report.” … “We look forward to partnering with even more libraries up and down the UK to create innovative hubs for aspiring entrepreneurs, as we work towards our goal of opening 20 Business & IP Centres by 2023 and expanding business support to high streets via branch libraries,” he added.”
  • Libraries told to focus on books as lending slumps – Times (partial paywall). “Lending rates have dropped at much faster rates than in the United States or Australia, with people in England borrowing on average fewer than three library books a year.”. Report notes librarians point to deep budget cuts then quotes Tim Coates saying UK librarians “partially to blame” for focusing away from books.
    • English library borrowing plummets while US remains stable – BookSeller. “Coates said: “25 to 30 years ago the public library sector in the UK, which means the leaders of the profession, the local and national politicians and government officers responsible for the service, consciously and deliberately allowed the number of books available for lending in public libraries to fall. It happened in every council.  “
  • Library of the Year: Harrogate Library triumphs on nine-strong shortlist – Bookseller. “North Yorkshire’s Harrogate Library has won The Bookseller’s Library of the Year Award 2019. A further eight libraries are also celebrated on the shortlist, unveiled today, including a school library and a specialist audiobook library.” … “t won on a shortlist which presented strong competition: two Scottish libraries (newly refurbished Montrose Library and high-achieving Shetland Library); an outstanding school library in Solihull’s Arden Academy; Eltham Library, with its literary play space for children, The Enchanted Story Garden; Libraries NI, the only full library service to be recognised this year; the unique London Library, with its impressive lending collection; and audiobook library Listening Books. For the first time, The Bookseller’s Library of the Year shortlist also includes a commendation for a volunteer-run library,”
  • Library workers ‘put heart and soul into service’ – Unison. ““In Camden, libraries we have the most reported incidents of violence and aggression across the council,” she said. She  recounted her experience of an incident where a library member was banned after a malicious download onto the library’s computer system. But as he was being escorted out of the building by a colleague from security, “he said: ‘Look what I’ve got’ and pulled out a gun. “Imagine if I’d have been a lone worker.”
  • NAG Public Libraries Project of the Year Grant Launched – National Acquisitions Group. “his new grant aims to enable public libraries to take forward an innovative project, which may have already had a pilot phase, and develop it further.  One award of up to £5000 will be available, depending upon the strength of your application.”
  • National Libraries Conference aims for ‘continued survival’ of service – BookSeller. “A National Libraries Conference, due to take place later this month, featuring authors and publishers aims to ensure the service’s “continued survival” in a digital age, organisers say. Staged in Harrogate at the Old Swan Hotel on 19th July senior librarians from across the country will be joined by industry experts and leading authors. Keynote addresses will come from chief executive of Arts Council England, Darren Henley and best-selling author and libraries advocate, Ann Cleeves.”
  • Public Libraries – House of Commons Briefing Paper 5875. “This Paper gives a brief overview of the provision of library services in England, the role of the Secretary of State, and the work of the Libraries Taskforce.” … “Since 2010/11, library net expenditure excluding capital charges has declined by 36% in real terms from £1.15 billion to £741 million in 2017/18. Between 2004/05 and 2009/10 spending in real terms declined by 4%.”
  • Response to open letter to CILIP – CILIP. Response to complaint about GLL being allowed on the “Employer Partner Scheme”. “It is perfectly normal for membership associations to maintain relationship-based memberships for both institutions and individuals – to the respective benefit of both.” … “With regard to your broader points, CILIP has no formal mandate to intervene in any 3rd party labour dispute. ” … Use of the word “Partner” may be dropped … The issues you raise are important and while we are satisfied with the overall structure of the Employer Partner Scheme, it is clear that there is more to be done to clarify how the scheme operates and to allay any concerns members may have. … Given the reductive nature of social media, we do not feel that it is helpful to rehearse the discussion about this letter (which is openly available on our website) further via twitter, although we will of course always do what we can to support individual members.”
  • “Summer Reading Challenge kicks off as one in three parents say reading slips in holidays – BookSeller. “One in three parents say regular reading with their children slips in the summer holidays, according to a Reading Agency survey ahead of this year’s Summer Reading Challenge. To mark the Summer Reading Challenge’s 20th anniversary, The Reading Agency and libraries are calling on families to make space for reading over the summer by setting aside time each day to read together. According to a Reading Agency poll of 1,500 parents from across the UK,  90% of parents and carers reported routines ‘slip’ over the summer, with regular reading, bedtimes and healthy eating all disrupted. “

International

  • Canada – What’s changed since St. Paul ended library late fees? Usage bolstered while overdue rate holds steady — so far – Twin Cities. “The library tracked circulation specific to the 42,000 patrons with formerly blocked cards. That group checked out 19,000 items — evidence that going fine-free actively drew them back to the library. From January to March, circulation system-wide increased by a fraction of a percentage point — 0.06 percent, to be exact. That may not sound like a lot, but the numbers had been trending downward until then. The uptick represents the first circulation increase since a series of library renovations drew patron interest in 2015, and the first uptick since 2009 not attributable to a branch remodel or reopening. Overall, seven of 14 branches saw at least a 1 percent increase in circulation. Two libraries in particular saw double-digit increases in circulation, and both are located in low-income, high-minority neighbourhoods. Circulation at the Dayton’s Bluff branch went up 15.5 percent. Circulation at the Arlington Hills Library, also on the city’s East Side, went up 13.1 percent.”
  • New Zealand –  How New Zealand libraries are adapting to the 21st century – Stuff. “We love our libraries, hard” … “Following the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquakes – and the Christchurch mosque attacks – people flocked to their local libraries. “What we saw in response to all these events was how much the local library was the place to go for community, for manaakitanga, for aroha, for a safe, caring place for people to be. People come to the library looking for sanctuary,” says Cuttriss.”
  • USA – ‘Utter Insanity’: Activist Mommy Launches Petition After Kids Crawl on Drag Queen at Library Story Hour – Christian Broadcasting News. Talks about a programme to “indoctrinate” children.

Local news

  • Aberdeenshire – North-east libraries to become testbeds for rural entrepreneurship – Mearns Leader.  “The Library Innovation Network Aberdeenshire (LINA) has been developed in partnership between Aberdeenshire Council and Robert Gordon University (RGU) to create modern public library spaces with networks of resource for local entrepreneurs and small and micro businesses.”
  • Argyll – Opinion: LiveArgyll is inspiring people in Helensburgh – Helensburgh Advertiser. “LiveArgyll is a charity set up by Argyll and Bute Council to run leisure and sport facilities, libraries, halls, community centres and sports pitches across Argyll and Bute.” … “There is much going on within our libraries under LiveArgyll, with the Space Chase Summer Reading Challenge during the summer holidays. New activities are also in the pipeline including storytelling, T-shirt design and clay modelling for kids to enjoy. Opening hours in the library are increasing to permit people to visit during lunchtimes. Residents who can’t visit the library in person can now use the new Borrowbox ebook and eAudiobook service.”
  • Ealing – Ealing Library Strategy – Ealing Council. Cut from £4.431m (2019-20) to £2.8m (2021/22). £1.64m cut. Greenford and Wood End to be co-located and closed, Hanwell to be co-located, Pitshanger to volunteers
  • East Sussex – Plans for volunteer-run Polegate library – Sussex Express. “Last year the county council agreed to Polegate Town Council (PTC) taking on the former library building in Windsor Way and running it on their behalf. Under this agreement PTC would have paid ESCC for all staffing and running costs to operate the library with the same services and facilities as other East Sussex libraries. However PTC informed ESCC in February it no longer wanted to progress with a service level agreement. Instead it proposed a community library operated by the Polegate Community Library (PCL), which has been formed from a management group that was exploring community library options for PTC.”
  • Essex – Letter: Leader must think we were born yesterday over libraries U-turn – Gazette Standard. “When asked the question why the council had made a U-turn on its decision to reduce the number of libraries in the county, he obviously became agitated, took on an air of self importance and suggested no such thing had taken place” … “Never in my life time have I seen such an outburst of oppostion to the intimated loss of libraries. Mr Finch and his councillors became very concerned as to their futures in politics.”
    • Campaigners call for guarantees over library staffing – Clacton Gazette. “Labour’s Julie Young suggested the move was a “need to save seats, not libraries”. She called for the libraries to be manned by paid County Hall staff. Thousands of people responded to the consultation, took part in protests and signed petitions. County Hall saw more than 21,000 responses, 1,000 letters and more than 50 petitions handed over. Susan Barker, councillor responsible for customers and culture, said: “Our future libraries strategy has changed drastically due to what people told us.”
    • Campaigners in new bid to save Essex library services – BookSeller. “In an 18-page report commissioned by Save Our Libraries Essex (SOLE) without payment, Al Baghal said the survey used a number of leading questions that increased the chances of getting a positive response to the council’s plans.”
    • Essex library U-turn after celebrity-backed campaign – BBC. “Conservative-run Essex County Council had considered shutting 25 of its 74 libraries but leader David Finch has announced there will be no closures. However, the authority said volunteers would be sought to keep several smaller libraries running. Campaigners said they were cautious about using volunteers and wanted to see detailed plans.” … “An additional £3m will be invested in libraries over the next five years, Mr Finch said.”. Non-aligned councillor says “”[It would not have happened] if it was not for the public pressure, Save Our Libraries Essex, members of opposition and the Conservative councillors who have said something in private.”
    • Expert criticises reliability of ‘questionable’ libraries consultation – East Anglian Daily Times. “A leading expert in survey design has criticised the methodology of Essex County Council’s libraries consultation – prompting campaigners to call for a new one.” … “His findings identify various problems in the design of the council survey, saying it includes ‘leading questions’ and ‘complex questions, with difficult wording’ which “could lead to possible confusion’ with participants.”
    • Libraries saved as people power wins – Southend Standard.
  • Hertfordshire – Herts County Council appoints library service operator – but won’t say who it is yet – Watford Observer. “Hertfordshire County Council has selected the organisation it wants to deliver library services across the county. But – in line with EU procurement rules – it will not yet reveal whether the winning bid came from its own ‘public service mutual’. In October the county councillors decided to contract out library services, as part of a drive to save £500,000 without impacting on library services or improvements. And, at the same time, they agreed to set up their own organisation – a ‘public service mutual’ – that would submit a bid.”
  • Lincolnshire – Cleaner, greener, smaller mobile libraries to hit Lincolnshire’s roads – Sleaford Standard. “New, environmentally-friendly mobile library vehicles are to be introduced as Lincolnshire County Council works to become carbon neutral by 2050. The authority’s three large mobile libraries are coming to the end of their life and need to be replaced. In future, the council will be using smaller, environmentally-friendly vans to serve 234 stops across Lincolnshire, meaning less space for such a wide range of books stocked on board. To make sure communities have easy access to books between visits, the county council is approaching a number of parish councils to offer a collection of books to be based within the local community.”
  • Suffolk – What is digital borrowing? And why is it more popular than ever in Suffolk – East Anglian Daily Times. “Suffolk Libraries has revealed that in the past five years eBook and eAudiobook loans have risen by 151%. The news comes after data revealed that the number of physical book loans from Suffolk libraries had been dropping over the same period. According to Suffolk Libraries the total number of loans across all the formats offered by the library has increased by 2.5% in the past year alone. One area of real growth has been eAudio books: loans of these have increased by 50% in the last year.”
  • West Sussex – Library bans a playgroup from an under-fives ‘rhyme time’ session after complaints the children were singing about God – Mail. “A library has banned volunteers from a church-run playgroup from an under-fives ‘rhyme time’ session after complaints that the children were singing about God. Helpers from the Noah’s Ark group in Burgess Hill would visit the West Sussex town’s library once a month to sing songs about Bible stories.”. Council says “‘In Burgess Hill a partnership was formed with a local faith group some years ago before rhyme time sessions were offered across all libraries. ‘We have been very grateful to this group for their support but following feedback from families, we have decided to bring these sessions in line with the other Rhyme Times in our libraries which are led by staff. ‘Families can continue to access faith-based activities in community venues and library staff are very happy to help anyone looking for details of where they can join these.’”
    • Closing the library will leave a gaping hole in the heart of the community – Mid Sussex Times / Letters.  “For a year in 2013/14, I was able to volunteer with the library service and the children and family service to help deliver boxes of books to rural preschools. I learnt then how hard the librarians and volunteers are working to keep a vital service open and accessible to all. Of course, libraries aren’t just for the young, they are for everyone. I for one can say that if Hurstpierpoint were to lose its library, it would leave a gaping hole in the heart of our village. These cuts must be stopped.”
    • Further housing support cuts suspended — but reductions to West Sussex’s library service still on table – Littlehampton Gazette. “The libraries at risk would all be from the 13 rated as tier 6. They are: Angmering, Arundel, Broadwater, East Preston, Ferring, Findon Valley, Hassocks, Hurstpierpoint, Petworth, Pulborough, Southbourne, Southwater and Witterings.”
  • Wiltshire – Pop-up community banks proposed for Salisbury – which could see them in libraries and leisure centres – Salisbury Journal. “Cabinet member for finance Councillor Philip Whitehead called it an “exciting” initiative that could see pop-up banks launched in leisure centre and libraries in the county. “
  • Worcestershire – All libraries across Worcestershire will remain open despite staff cuts likely – Redditch Standard. “libraries across Worcestershire will remain open despite County Council chiefs admitting staff cuts are still likely.” Open Plus to be used.

Both sides of the argument – GLL, book issues and volunteers

Editorial

Trusts tend to get a bad press on library social media, and GLL due to its size more than anyone else. There’s an open letter against it included below and there’s currently strike action going on in Bromley, which is one of its services. In the normal PLN tradition of trying to cover both sides, though, I will mention here that GLL has ended lone-working in Dudley at no extra cost to the council and has included below a response on Bromley. If you feel the need to get angry at me for including these things, you are welcome to comment below but remember first the need for sharing information is part of the profession’s job. And that goes for both sides, and not just the one you agree with. This is also true for Tim Coates, who many of us have disagreed with for attacking the UK librarian profession at every opportunity. I include his chart on US, Australian and book issue trends here for you to make up your own mind. For me, the reason is fairly obvious – cut the bookfund and you cut the issues – but make up your own mind as to why.

I greatly enjoyed, as ever, the CILIP Conference this week, of which more at another time but I was saddened, after listening to a spirited talkthere, that the Libraries Change Lives Awards will not happen this year. Let’s hope they come back stronger than ever next year.

Right, good news bad news time. Havering have announced 5 libraries could be volunteer run and West Sussex have announced they may get rid of a mobile library and other services as part of a £500k cut. On the other side, Lewisham have cancelled deep proposed cuts and Nottinghamshire have rearranged opening hours for a slight increase. Being I mentioned volunteer libraries, I discovered on Thursday – while talking to an Austrian librarian – that 80% of their libraries are volunteer run and have been for decades, with a tier of government offering substantial training to ensure volunteer librarians are up to standard. Being that there are no standards in England even for paid staff, it seems unlikely that such a thing will happen here.

Changes

National news

  • An open letter to CILIP’s Board of Trustees – Various librarians. Protest letter concerning CILIP working with GLL. “Firstly, we are asking CILIP to provide more information on how Employer Partners areg ranted this status. Itis unclear how the process functions and whether adequate procedures are in place to ensure due checks, balances, and oversight are consistently undertaken” … “library workers in Bromley are currently engaged in indefinite strike action against GLL” … “We would also like to raise our concerns over CILIP’s partnership with the MoD”

“GLL has run the library service in Bromley for 18 months – during which time we have prioritised ways to make services better, providing nicer buildings, better stock, good ICT, more staff on the frontline and more activities. We are sorry that, despite these efforts, Unite has, for the fifth year in succession, called for strike action across Bromley Libraries. We understand that this year’s dispute relates to a 6% pay claim and unfilled vacancies. In their latest leaflet, however, we read that Unite is saying that we have cut budgets by 25% and that we are attacking library services. These statements are factually incorrect.

We are ambitious for the library service in Bromley: we have made significant investment to upgrade ICT in libraries since the start of the contract, and are now embarking on a major refurbishment programme of libraries in the Borough to make them lighter, brighter and more welcoming. This is alongside maintaining excellent stock levels and developing the activities programme. Throughout the strike, libraries across Bromley have opened as normal.

We are happy to resume negotiations with the union on condition they agree to meet the standards and performance we have committed to delivering as part of a modern library service.” Statement from GLL on Bromley, received by email, sent in response to statement above.

  • Libraries Change Lives Award – CILIP. “the Libraries Change Lives Award is on hold for 2019. ” … “It’s not been a decision lightly taken, but the award needed a refresh in both structure and reach. It’s so important that the amazing work the Libraries Change Lives Award team do reaches all library and information workplaces, and that meant a breather was needed to examine” (Dawn Finch via Twitter)
  • LibrariesDeliver Campaign Launches to Activate the Public about Libraries and Librarians – CILIP. “In an effort to raise awareness and make a meaningful, long-term impact on the future of library funding, CILIP and the EveryLibrary Institute today announce the launch of LibrariesDeliver, an advocacy campaign that connects people from across England in support of their libraries. The core of the campaign is LibrariesDeliver.uk, a new GDPR-compliant advocacy website designed to activate and connect an extensive network of individuals and advocacy groups about library funding and use. On LibrariesDeliver.uk library supporters can sign up to become part of the campaign, pledge to support libraries, create and field petitions about funding, donate to support libraries, and become better organised and connected.”

Chart from Tim Coates, who says: “In this country, local and national politicians and senior members of the library sector have argued for two decades that the advance of the internet and availability of eBooks have led to an inevitable decline of the need for libraries to provide books. Those responsible have reduced book collections and caused libraries to concentrate on other activities. The chart shows clearly that such a decline has not taken place in either Australia or the United States, and that therefore it was not inevitable at all. The reduction of traditional library service has led to the decline in use. There has been a continuous failure of public library strategy particular to the UK and it still goes on.”

  • The day the e-books stopped working – BBC. “Consumers who bought ebooks via Microsoft’s online store are losing access to their libraries.” … “Although many readers will not have even realised Microsoft had made a third run at the industry, experts say the cut-off serves as a reminder that you do not actually own a copy of most digital purchases outright but rather have purchased a licence that can expire.”
  • Social Capital for Libraries – Princh. “Unlike financial capital that depreciates with use, social capital actually grows the more it is used. Reach out with information about what libraries are doing and how they can be supported to do more. Reciprocity happens! No, it’s not simplistic thinking. What librarians make happen to others, they will help to make happen to libraries. However, when our intentions are solely to ‘use’ people to achieve what we want, it can backfire badly.”
  • ‘A network of infrastructures’: Exploring Public Libraries as Infrastructure By Louise Rondel, Laura Henneke and Dr Alice Corble – CUCR Blog. Academic look at Idea Store Whitechapel, Idea Store Watney Market and New Cross Learning.

International news

  • Australia – Libraries After Dark: a public health pilot – Medium. ” If Libraries offered a regular late night opening with activities and learning opportunities and a social get together this may divert people at risk of a loss spiral at the local pokies. In essence it was designed to encourage people to move from the local gambling lounge to their community lounge — their local library…”
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – The Love of Books: The Brave Librarians of Sarajevo – Al Jazeera World. “”The culture of our people, the identity, the history of Bosnia, for centuries in one place. And suddenly it was being swallowed by the fire and the flames,” says firefighter Ismet Tucak, who responded to the blaze at the National Library. Fearing the Gazi Husrev-Beg library would be attacked next, Jahic’s staff took the momentous decision to move their most precious works to safety. Dodging Serbian snipers and street violence, the small band of book-lovers – including the cleaner and the Congolese nightwatchman – moved the manuscripts, one box at a time, to preserve a valuable part of their written history.”
  • Canada – Library won’t partner with group planning to screen films about police brutality – CBC. “ssues of brutality, racism and militarization within police forces. Alex Khasnabish has arranged several film screenings at the library in the past and had been allowed to use the space for free.  But he said he got an email from the program manager at the library saying there were concerns about this year’s film choices and asking that a police representative be added to the accompanying panel discussions. “
  • Finland – Kuopio City Library ditches protective plastic covers for books: “This is climate action” – Uutiset. “nly scientific libraries housed books without protective plastic covers. “This is a groundbreaking thing,” gushed Rauha Maarno, Managing Director of the Finnish Library Society, who claimed that no public library in Finland has done this before Kuopio. And, it’s not just good for the environment — the new practice could save money and time too, Koistinen said. Books that no longer need to be covered will make their way to the libraries faster than before. The money saved can be used to acquire new books.” [This goes directly against my experience, where a jacketed book will happily last 40 issues while a non-protected one dices with tearing at every issue – Ed.]
  • France – Stanton Williams wins hotly contested French library job – Architects Journal. “‘In a time when local libraries and community centres here in the UK are being closed and under increasing budget pressure, the new Metropolitan Library in Clermont-Ferrand is a bright example that there is faith in the importance and transformational power of access to literature and culture that our cities and communities need more than ever.’”
  • Israel – Long Overdue Resolution Finally Passed – Times of Israel. Applauds removal of Dewey name from library award.
  • USA – Peitition: Tell U.S. libraries to stop pushing ‘drag queens’ on our kids – Life Petitions. “LifeSite and Personhood Alliance are combining forces to combat the new and twisted phenomenon of the “Drag Queen Story Hour” taking over America’s libraries.” and N.J. library planned a ‘Drag Queen Story Hour.’ Then came 2 days of nonstop phone calls – Leigh Valley Live and A library canceled an LGBT prom after backlash. Then a church stepped in – Washington Post. “The Buckman Bridge Unitarian Universalist Church in Jacksonville stepped in and held the prom Friday, the same night as the original event at the neighborhood’s library. “It was the right thing to do,” Grace Repass, the church’s past president, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “The LGBTQIA+ youth in our community deserve to have their prom and we wanted to support them.” and Breast ‘binder raffle,’ drag show held at public library for ‘Teen Pride’ – Christian Post.

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – North-east libraries to help support economic growth – Evening Express. “The Library Innovation Network Aberdeenshire (LINA) will combine creative co-working spaces with library facilities to help local entrepreneurs and small and micro businesses. “It is being developed by Aberdeenshire Council and Robert Gordon University (RGU) and funded by the LEADER Scottish Rural Development Programme.”
  • Buckinghamshire – You can now hire out your own tablet at Aylesbury Library – Mix96. “All you need is your Buckinghamshire library card and PIN to release a Hublet for up to two hours, completely free. The Hublets are ready to browse the internet using the library’s wifi and are preloaded with some favourite apps.”
  • Dudley – Staff boost for libraries across Dudley – Worcester News. “Libraries across the Dudley borough are to receive a boost in staff numbers, in a bid to improve footfall, security and customer service. Coseley, Cradley, Gornal, Long Lane, Lye, Netherton and Wordsley libraries will receive more staff so that at least two librarians will be on duty at any one time. Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL), which runs libraries across the borough, put the boost into force on July 1 to end lone working for staff”
  • Ealing – Ealing Libraries Need Our Help – Unison. “Ealing Unison led the lobby of the council meeting on Tuesday 11th June 2019 at the steps of Ealing Town Hall. Over 150 people from the local community, including Librarians, library users, young and old and Ealing Trades Council, assembled to send a message to Ealing Councillors that we value and use our Libraries across the borough …” … Lobby of cabinet meeting 16 July.
    • Save Our Seven Libraries by Akuba July 2019 – YouTube. “Inspired by the Save Our Seven Libraries UNISON-supported campaign I wrote this poem to first highlight the impact of Tory austerity poilicies since 2010 on library provision in the UK and the Labour party’s official response to them through the Shadow Culture Minister, Kevin Brennan’s response. I also point to the paradoxes in being part of a Unison-backed campaign that is challenging the Ealing’s Labour Council’s Draft Strategy Libraries Proposal 2019 – 2023 to cut its Library Service and use community volunteers to make savings due to central government funding reductions. The Campaign to Save the Seven local libraries under threat of either being closed or handed over to voluntary organisations will conclude at the Council Cabinet meeting on Tuesday 16th July. “
  • East Sussex – County pulls plug on plans for Ore community library and says it wants to sell off the building… – Hastings in Focus. “A bold claim from last April that Ore Library had been saved for the community – seen by many at the time as an electioneering stunt – has come to nothing. Worse still it looks like East Sussex County Council now plans to sell off the old library building which could dash all hopes of ever seeing it re-open as a community facility. This week East Sussex County Council announced it was puling the plug on attempts to reach an agreement with Ore Community Association about re-opening the library, a spokesman said: “A year ago we agreed in principle to lease the former Ore library building on a peppercorn rent to the Ore Community Association for a community library to be provided at the site.”
  • Essex – Letter: Tiny town that roared its protest – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Manningtree, often described as the smallest town in England has chosen to ignore its diminutive size, assert itself and stand tall; in March of this year it held the largest and possibly most successful of the Young People’s Marches for Libraries, across Essex.”
    • Letter: Tories sending mixed messages on library cuts – Times series. “We understand the library services may need to evolve and they may, for example, need to link in more with some of the work being done by local councils to help strengthen communities and combat issues such as social isolation. But this will require the support of Essex County Council to continue, rather than to be cut. There is also the issue of sustainability to consider. Increasing numbers of people are now trying to make more environmentally- friendly choices.”
    • Stansted Parish Council renews call for ‘proper library’ – Bishops Stortford Independent. “A community-run library for Stansted has been ruled out by parish councillors who want Essex County Council to stick to its promise of providing a new facility for the village. And they are calling on their county councillor Ray Gooding to fight their corner when it comes to deciding on the library’s future as he sits on the cabinet which will ultimately decide its fate.”
  • Havering – Havering Council consultation: Have your say on community-run libraries and new ‘community hubs’ – Ilford Recorder. “The proposals are for five of the 10 libraries in the borough – Collier Row, Elm Park, Gidea Park, Harold Wood and South Hornchurch – to become community-run with some support from the council. This means they would be run on a day-to-day basis by community groups, but they would remain in their current buildings and still receive financial and strategic support from the council.”
  • Lancashire – A new chapter for Chatburn Library as closed down facility reopens – Advertiser and Times. “Locals, schoolchildren and civic dignitaries gathered to celebrate the reopening of a village library that closed three years ago. Chatburn Library officially unveiled by County Coun. Albert Atkinson is the latest library to be reopened by Lancashire County Council. The county council’s cabinet agreed a proposal earlier in April this year to reopen the library and reinstate the running of it from Chatburn Church of England Primary School, on Sawley Road.”
  • Lewisham – Slight increase in opening hours  – News Shopper. “the authority will now work up a new proposal to plug the hole in the library budget, after development proposals were not found to make enough income. In the meantime it will fix the urgent problems with the Lewisham Library building – including its leaking roof, which are threatening its archives. “
  • Liverpool – Pools, parks and libraries – the facilities at risk as Liverpool heads for financial cliff-edge – Liverpool Echo. “Like many struggling cities – particularly those in the north of the country – Liverpool has been living hand to mouth for the past decade, borrowing, applying for funding and making its own investments in a bid to continue the basic services that citizens need and deserve.” … “the lack of clarity around the future funding settlement means those in charge of culture are getting nervous. Cllr Simon said: “There are no plans to make any changes to the library services at the point. “Looking into the future, it would be disingenuous for anyone to say anything is absolutely safe.” Cllr Simon admitted that the council has already had to ‘significantly’ reduce its replacement of books at facilities across the city.”
  • Merthyr Tydfil – Use of Merthyr Tydfil’s libraries increasing year on year – Wales Online. “Members of the council’s governance scrutiny committee heard that usage of libraries has gone up by about 10% in the past five years. There were 229,042 visits to Merthyr Tydfil’s libraries throughout 2018-19 and 47,349 members registered although this is because people need to register to use all sorts of services, such as the internet, and it includes users from other areas. The library service, which is managed day to day by Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Trust, is meeting all but one of its targets in full and is seeing an increase in users year on year.”
  • Nottinghamshire – Some library opening times to change across Nottinghamshire – West Bridgford Wire.  “The new opening hours follow a detailed review of current opening times and usage along with local knowledge and customer feedback.” … “Inspire, the County Council’s cultural partner, is currently contracted to deliver 1,487 hours of public access to the library service per week. The approved changes this increase this to 1,525 hours per week and will benefit library users across the county.”
  • Redbridge – Community hub to house libraries, police stations and pharmacies under one roof – Guardian series. “The new hub in Gants Hill will bring public services – such as council offices, pharmacies, libraries and police stations – together under one roof to make them easier to access and more efficient. The Gants Hill centre will be one of six central community hubs dotted throughout the borough – others will be situated in Barkingside, Clayhall, Fullwell and Valentines wards.”
  • Rochdale – Celebrating library digital services: Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers – Lorensbergs. “we introduce Rochdale Libraries’ longest running group, the Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers. This senior technology group is a fantastic example of how libraries are addressing the digital divide while satisfying the digitally inquisitive nature of their customers. Most importantly, it shows how there doesn’t need to be (and often isn’t!) a gap in digital capability between the generations. All you need is your local library to gather, support and inspire you.”
  • Shropshire – Shropshire libraries and theatre record increase in visitors – Advertizer. “Shropshire Council has revealed that 16,500 more visits were made to libraries in the county in 2018/19 compared to the previous year. ” … ““Usage of the cloudLibrary e-book system has doubled to over 24,000 loans and the e-audio has quadrupled to over 4,800 loans.  ” [Still tiny numbers compared to print – Ed.]
  • St Helens – St Helens library card holders to be able to use facilities across city region – St Helens Star. “A new service means that people can use St Helens library cards to use any other library across the Liverpool City Region. Library Light will launch on Monday, July 8 and means existing customers can access all libraries across the city region with their current library card. People can present their library card, and provide a name, address and contact number.”
  • Suffolk – Town without a bank gets Barclays services in library – EADT. “Barclays has begun a three-month trial of the paired [sic] down services for customers in Aldeburgh. The trial comes only months after Barclays became the final provider to pull its services from the town, leaving it without a bank. At the time there were huge concerns in the town as to what the impact would be for residents and businesses. The new sessions will take place at the town’s library on Mondays from 9am until 1pm until the end of August, when the scheme will be reviewed. Customers will be able to access a number of general banking tasks by visiting a Barclays’ “moment banker”, who will be based in a private office in the library.”
  • West Sussex – Worthing and Littlehampton’s mobile library taken off the road – Littlehampton Gazette. “West Sussex County Council operates two mobile libraries, one from Horsham and another from Bognor Regis. After a series of mechanical failures the mobile library based in Bognor Regis, which serves the rural south of West Sussex, has been deemed ‘no longer roadworthy’ and the decision has been made to take it off the road.”
    • Several West Sussex libraries could close as part of further budget cuts – Chichester Observer. “Questions hang over the future of a number of West Sussex libraries amid county council plans to cut up to £500,000 from the service’s budget. A report due to be discussed by the cabinet next week said ‘several’ tier 6 libraries could be closed to help save money. There are 13 tier 6 libraries in the county … According to an officers’ report: “Reducing the level of service as suggested would have an impact on the ability of the service to support the County Council outcomes effectively and would represent a reduction in service. This would require extensive community and staff consultation.”
    • Libraries and a tip could close amid £28m cuts – Argus.
  • Worcestershire – Council told to produce ‘vision’ for libraries before making future decisions – Worcester News. “Worcestershire County Council has been told it needs to use the results of a four-month consultation as well as an extensive peer review to create a strategy before it begins cutting more than £395,000 from the library budget this year. ” … “a peer review by the Local Government Association has recommended the council should consider abandoning this plea, promote the use of ‘open’ unstaffed libraries and also look at using single-staffed libraries more. “

US weirdness, the SDP again, Library Island and more fines free

Editorial

The more I read about US public libraries., the more foreign they sound. You can get into trouble in some for protesting when a member of the public brings in a gun, hidden or not. There is also no issue in many about adults watching porn on library computers, by the children’s library or not. Both are to do with the somewhat messed up views Americans have about their constitution. But another problem that has come up recently is religious fundamentalism and a certain unenlightened approach to anything but heterosexuality. There have been a ton of protests there about drag queen story times and just this week a protest from someone who genuinely believes the Earth is 6000 years old that libraries are a danger to children. Good grief. The American Library Association is trying to cope with mostly being far more liberal than a significant part of the country’s population but it must be a challenging time in such a divided country. It’s doing its best though and has just removed the name Dewey from a prize on account of Melvil’s behaviour, which was deeply inappropriate even when he was alive and is even more so now.

I need to report that my summary on the Single Digital Presence report last week was little inaccurate. The cost of the research is £266k (£236kI from Arts Council England plus £30k from Carnegie) and not the £320k reported. Oh, and it covers the UK – including Wales and Northern Ireland who effectively already have some form of uniform webpage – and not just England. However, I stand by my worries that this research, involved and well-run as it may be, but which at the moment is not giving a clear direction, is simply delaying a much needed national website for another 18 monthsor so and I have little hope of such a thing appearing for many years to come. This isn’t the fault of the British Library research but rather I think their brief and something more structural in the messed up and overly scattered national governance of public libraries in this country.

I have been in contact with Matt Finch for a while and heard much about his training so it was great to see him offering his “Library Island” training for free, of which more below. I am also delighted to report two more library services that have been fines free for apparently years but I had not included before – West Dunbartonshire and West Lothian. That makes 14 councils in the UK so far fines free.

Changes

Library Island

So I had a chance to talk Matt Finch about the making of his excellent Library Island resource free for anyone to use. For those of you not familiar with it – and it will be too many of you – it’s a training tool intended to make your library service think about what it needs to do in the future and how to put yourself in the shoes of your users and potential users. That sounds quite dry but, by all accounts, it is a fun game. Have a look at it here.

It has been tested in sessions all around the world from Australia to the USA and, in this country, notably in an event hosted by Libraries Unlimited. Although it requires a minimum of 15 people to do properly, Matt points out that this is an opportunity to invite partners/stakeholders along to help out and that it indeed strengthens the game to get their viewpoint. It can also help persuade them about the importance of libraries. In addition, getting people from all levels of the organisation – not just managers but library assistants and even caretakers – can help them understand the role of the library service better.

The game is a standalone activity, but forms part of a wider “scenario planning” approach which allows you to think about ten years or more ahead, trying different scenarios (e.g. halving of budget, increase in homelessness, NHS increasing spending on libraries …) but if this sounds like too long then Matt makes clear that it is not an exercise in science fiction or aiming to predict anything but rather to test your assumptions. And testing assumptions is important. Matt is clear that the library service should serve the needs of its local community. That sounds pat but time after time I see library services grabbing funding that’s available (I’ve given up reporting on ACE-funded theatre shows) with little thought for how it ties in with local need or indeed long-term strategy. I also see a lot of what Matt calls, in a wonderful phrase, “copy and paste innovation”, where a library service sees something shiny happening elsewhere and adopts it with little thought as to if it’s needed. For me, the ultimate example of this is makerspaces but there are others.

Matt, who I worry is one-man climate change inducing machine, has been to many countries in his travels and ended with a thought that rings true with me. This is that if you’re wondering about the future or if your service should do something or other then look abroad. Chances are that another country is already facing similar problems and you can learn from them. For instance, no-one tackles homelessness better than some New Zealand systems or has more of it than the USA so those are the places to look at if that’s an issue. But whatever you find out, remember it’s your local communities that your libraries are serving and not the other way around. Use examples from elsewhere but always this in mind. And then your library island will be a happy one.

  • My Visit to Library Island: Justin Hoenke – Mechanical Dolphin. “I’m featuring some accounts of the island from people who have attended Island sessions, or run Islands of their own, to give you a better sense of what it means to take part in, or even organise, your own Library Island. This week, we’re joined by Pennsylvania public librarian Justin Hoenke, who attended an Island session with colleagues from across the western part of his state in June 2019. The activity was embedded in a day-long event focussed on strategic & scenario planning for public libraries and their communities.”

“With Library Island, I felt differently about it from the moment I heard about it. Change?!?! Chaos?!?!? Games?!?!? Play?!?!?! Fun?!?!? What was this? Why were people smiling and moving around during this workshop? Library Island offered something different, a workshop that brought together learning with fun and unpredictability. At the end of the day with Library Island I was physically and mentally tired, but in a good way, a way I hadn’t felt in ages. I needed to get home and get to bed to recover, but my humming head wouldn’t let me fully put down the great experience I just had.” Justin Hoenke

  • 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.

National news

  • 100 years of the library: The service we should value like the NHS – but don’t – Politics. “The 1919 Public Libraries Act effectively created libraries as we know them today.  It removed the rates cap preventing local authorities from establishing new libraries and paved the way for a service available to all for free. But this is not a centenary that will be celebrated. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has issued no press releases and there will be no commemorative events …. But this is about more than evil Tories taking kids’ books away. It’s about the hierarchy that governs the way we – the media, politicians, everyone – think and talk about public services, cherishing some, and curiously indifferent to the fate of others.”

“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport monitors library service provision throughout England, but does not hold figures on the number of public libraries operating for all or part of their opening hours without staff. Following discussions involving the Department and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) the annual library statistics, will for the first time, report for each local authority the scheduled staffed and unstaffed opening hours per week for their libraries. This annual report will be published by CIPFA in November or December.” Mims Davis MP, DCMS Parliamentary Undersecretary.

  • Andy McNab: ‘At 16, I read my first book – and it changed my life’ – Guardian. “The main gist of what I tell anyone willing to listen is that the best soldier out there is the one with a library card.”
  • CILIP launches new Black Asian and Minority Ethnic Network – CILIP. “he network will provide a forum for BAME information professionals to share experiences, support each other and build connections. Working with CILIP and other partners, the network will support the advancement of BAME professionals in the workforce. The launch of the BAME Network will help to address the under-representation of people of colour within the library and information workforce as identified in the CILIP/ARA Workforce Mapping data (2015).”

“We appreciate the incredibly important work librarians do to champion authors and create welcoming spaces for all book fans. If you are currently employed as a librarian and can provide  proof of employment, you are eligible for a 40% discount on the price of a Capital Crime ticket. We’ve made 30 librarian tickets available and they will be sold on a first come, first served basis, with a limit of one per customer.” Capital Crime Festival 26-28 September, London.

  • How libraries change lives  – TedxExeter. “When was the last time you visited your local library? You might be surprised by what’s happening if you haven’t been recently. Ciara Eastell makes a strong case for these places of transformation and possibility, arguing that in an era of fake news and loneliness, we need our libraries more than ever.”

“We actively encourage people to speak to us as they are formulating their ideas for Engaging Libraries and are keen to be as helpful as possible. We are all friendly folk and can be contacted on  01383 721445 and engaginglibraries@carnegieuk.org). There is a blog that we published that gives a flavour of the programme and why we think public libraries are so well situated to connect people and ideas (because, guess what, they already do this!) and why we’re keen to support public libraries to establish partnerships with researchers:  https://www.carnegieuktrust.org.uk/blog/engaging-libraries-bringing-people-public-libraries-and-researchers-together-to-explore-health-culture-and-society/Jenny Peachey, Carnegie UK Trust via email.

  • Libraries on Twitter – Twitter Librarydata. Free tool to show what is trending on Twitter about the UK public library sector, other library sectors and internationally. “Data taken from the lists compiled by Sarah’s LibraryLists. For more exploration of libraries on Twitter, see Sarah’s Open Access article, Tweeting into the void?: creating a UK library Twitter list and analyzing best practice – successes and myths.”
  • Melvil Dewey’s name stripped from top librarian award – Guardian. “The American Library Association will rename the Melvil Dewey medal in recognition of their co-founder’s racial discrimination and sexual impropriety” … “The resolution explains that Dewey did not permit Jewish people, African Americans or other minorities admittance to the resort he owned, the Lake Placid Club. He also “made numerous inappropriate physical advances toward women he worked with and wielded professional power over” and was ostracised from the ALA after four women accused him of sexual impropriety, the resolution continues, declaring that “the behaviour demonstrated for decades by Dewey does not represent the stated fundamental values of ALA in equity, diversity, and inclusion”.”
  • More than 100 public libraries close every year due to Tory cuts – Mirror. “Since the Tories came to power, 817 have been shut or handed to volunteers, leaving 3,660 struggling on as councils try to balance books. Campaigners hope a Commons debate on the crisis next month will pressure the Government to protect library spending. Experts say the cuts are hitting the poor hardest as libraries cater for young parents, the old and jobless who cannot afford books.”
  • On-the-shelf idea: Time to get our libraries booked for business – City AM. ” why don’t we draw these threads together and transform a part of our local libraries into business hubs, which in turn could secure their future in the community?” … “We could repurpose a corner of all our local libraries into business “spokes”, radiating out from these main library hubs. The basic building infrastructure and good location already exists.”
  • Reading introduced as a prescribed treatment for mental health issues – South Wales Argus. “he scheme, which is known as ‘bibliotherapy’, is being launched in Wales following its success in England which has seen 931,000 people borrow over two million Reading Well books from public libraries. Free copies of the books will be available to members of the public to borrow from all 22 public library authorities in Wales from Wednesday, June 26, as well as supporting promotional material including leaflets containing the book list.”

International

  • Australia – Fee-free overdue policy prompts library renaissance among young TasmaniansABC News. “More than 8,000 new members signed up to the state-run library service in just five months between November 2018, when the changes were introduced, and March this year. It is a stark contrast to the loss of 900 members Libraries Tasmania encountered in the same period the year prior.” … “Data released in response to a question-on-notice during budget estimates showed the Education Department wrote off more than $330,000 in overdue fees last financial year as part of the reform. “We looked at what it was costing us in staff time, sometimes it was getting down to us chasing people through a debt collector,””
  • Canada – 10 big ideas from around the world to inspire Ottawa’s new super library – Ottawa Citizen. “The team behind the 216,000-square-foot project with a $193-million price tag is currently on what might be described as a library world tour, surveying standout institutions with an eye to shaping our own”. Many interesting examples from the world listed.
  • Global – What The Library Means To MePrinch. “we’ll take a look at quotes from people all over the world, from different demographics, backgrounds and stages in life; but all have been asked to share their personal thoughts, on what the library means to them.”
  • India – How Much Is India Spending On Its Public Libraries?Bloomberg Quint. “There were 70,817 libraries in rural areas and 4,580 in urban areas serving a population of more than 830 million and 370 million, respectively, according to the 2011 Census where libraries were notified (officially identified) for the first time. These numbers roughly translate to one rural library for every 11,500 people, and one urban library for over 80,000 people … There is no relationship between a state’s capacity to spend on libraries and its willingness to do so, studies have revealed … Public libraries in the U.S., U.K. and other European countries use library resources to cater to large populations. In the U.S., for example, the public library system provides services to 95.6 percent of the total population and spends $35.96 per capita annually, whereas in India the per capita expenditure on the development of public libraries translates to 7 paise [Less than one pence].
  • Pakistan – A Library Thrives, Quietly, in One of Pakistan’s Gun Markets – New York Times. “A local book lover, Raj Muhammad, hopes it becomes known as the home of the Darra Adam Khel Library. Located near a gun shop that his father built 12 years ago, the library opened in August, and Muhammad considers it a labor of love as well as a message to the area and the wider world. “I put books on the top of the gun market, making them superior to guns,” he said. “It’s a step for peace.” … “Now the military is helping Muhammad build a new library that can accommodate up to 65 people, seeing it as a way to help residents recover from years of traumatic violence.”
  • USA – Protesters against Maryland Drag Queen Story Hour outnumber event attendees – Life Site News. “About 100 Christians showed up throughout the day “to pray in reparation for the violation of childhood innocence and for the conversion of parents who’ve abandoned their God-given role as protectors of their children by bringing them to this depraved event,” according to Father Kevin Cusick, pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish.”
    • Florida library’s LGBTQ prom canceled over safety concerns – Fox News. “the event met opposition when conservative activist Elizabeth Johnston campaigned against the affair, urging her supporters to follow her lead. That was when the library decided to cancel the prom. “Express your disgust that this pervasion is taking place in a taxpayer funded library,” Johnston told her 636,000 Facebook followers.”
    • Man behind biblical theme park warns that ‘libraries are becoming dangerous places for kids’ – Yahoo. “Ken Ham, who is the CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis, criticized libraries for supporting LGBTQ-friendly narratives in tweets on Sunday. Ham is the founder of Ark Encounter – a giant replica of the Noah’s Ark located in Willamstown, Ky., – as well as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., which highlight and promote Christianity and Bible history.” and Man who thinks the earth is 6,000-years-old: ‘Libraries are becoming dangerous places for kids’ – Dead State.
    • Petition against Drag Queen Story Hour goes viral – Life Site News. “LifeSiteNews and Personhood Alliance have launched a massively successful petition campaign against the perverted “Drag Queen Story Hour” (DQSH) phenomenon. Personhood Alliance Education’s research has uncovered the fact that these offensive and dangerous events are actually partly funded and orchestrated by none other than the American Library Association (ALA).” … “The petition, therefore, urges the ALA to stop promoting homosexuality and the LGBT agenda and start promoting literacy again.”
  • USA – New York City Public Libraries Drop Kanopy Free Movie-Streaming Service – Variety. “Kanopy suffered a blow with the decision by New York City’s three public library systems — collectively the biggest library system in the U.S., with some 210 branches across the Big Apple — to drop the free movie-streaming service, citing high costs.” see also As Kanopy’s Popularity Grows, Can Your Library Continue to Afford It? – Indie Wire.”Kanopy said it did offer NYPL a capped model plan, but the two sides remained extremely far apart. IndieWire has learned that Kanopy insisted on a cap that was many multiples higher than New York was willing to spend.”
  • USA – Thinking outside the stacks: The Growth of Nature Smart Libraries – Children and Nature Network. “My data show that librarians want to participate in this movement, but they need your help. Nearly all of these initiatives represent the grassroots efforts of a unique constellation of actors working in specific local communities. After all, nation-wide 85% of public library funding comes from local jurisdictions. We need more research and knowledge creation on the impacts of these efforts, and we need your help to make this happen. Learn more about this project and its goals at Let’s Move in Libraries. 

Local news by authority

  • Aberdeenshire – Aberdeenshire libraries are going on a bear hunt – Press and Journal. “Knitted teddies are to be hidden across the region to celebrate We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. The search will be launched on Saturday July 6, in time for the school summer holidays, and small prizes will be on offer. Aberdeenshire Council’s communities committee chairwoman Anne Stirling said: “This is a really innovative way of marking the anniversary of this well-known children’s book by Michael Rosen.” … “Children and those young at heart can pick up a card from their local Live Life Aberdeenshire library to mark down the bears’ hiding places.”
  • Angus – New mobile libraries to serve isolated rural communities in Angus – Courier. “Angus Alive’s two new mobile library vans Isla and Glen were unveiled at Peel Farm in Lintrathen and will start their working life on Monday. The two new library vehicles, being slightly smaller than their predecessors, will make regular, scheduled visits to remote areas of the Angus Glens which have not had a library service in recent times.
  • Bath and North East Somerset – Brand new mobile library for B&NES to enter service at the start of July – Bath Echo. “The custom-designed vehicle will provide a full lending service giving access to DVDs, talking books and the three million books available from the LibrariesWest catalogue.”
  • Bolton – Cultural delights are what makes town great – Bolton News. “…libraries are a crucial part of any community. They give children access to exciting new worlds and knowledge without having to worry about the cost. The buildings are also local hubs – a great place for people to meet and socialise. Bolton Central Library is housed in a magnificent building, with a huge collection of books and fascinating and priceless archives.”
  • Buckinghamshire – You can now hire out your own tablet at Aylesbury Library – Bucks Herald. “‘Hublets’ are Samsung Galaxy tablets which customers can borrow for use within the library itself. All you need is your Buckinghamshire library card and PIN to release a Hublet for up to two hours, completely free.”
  • Cheshire East – Nantwich Library to launch 20th annual Summer Reading Challenge – Nantwich News. ““Last year more than 6,500 children took part across Cheshire East making us one of the highest participating authorities in the North West.”
  • Cumbria – TV licence to be bought for library – Times and Star. Town council buys tv licence for Cockermouth Library after county council declines to do so.
  • Derby – These Derby libraries will be handed over for a local charity to run – Derby Telegraph. “The Phillip Whitehead Memorial Library at Chaddesden Park and Blagreaves Library are set to follow in the footsteps of Sinfin, Spondon and Allestree libraries in becoming community managed libraries. A fourth library at Mackworth officially became a community managed library this month, on June 24″ … “A total of 10 libraries will be run by DHA [charity Direct Help and Advice] when the handovers are complete and this will leave five libraries still in city council control – Pear Tree, Alvaston, Mickleover, the Local Stdies Library and the Riverside Library in the Council House.”
  • Essex – Community won’t bid to run Manningtree library – Harwich and Manningtree Standard. “Members of Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley councils held an informal meeting to discuss the future of Manningtree’s library last Thursday. Essex County Council wants to shut a third of its libraries, while it hopes volunteers will run others, in a bid to save £2 million. But attendees of last Thursday’s meeting decided not to submit an Expression of Interest to the county council in the hope it would help to save the library service as it is.”
    • ‘No silence please over library plan’ – Clacton Gazette. “Tendring Council’s opposition – made up from Tendring First, Labour, the Liberal Democrats and independents – has called for an extraordinary meeting to discuss a motion concerning the future of libraries in the district. The motion calls on the cabinet of Essex County Council to rule out the closures or any reduction in opening hours of public libraries in Tendring and to instead concentrate on making better use of them as community hubs and to maximise the use of the buildings to generate income for the library service.”
  • East Sussex – Rallying call to Ore community to save local treasure – Hastings and St Leonards Observer. “The Save Ore Library Group is on the threshold of holding a public meeting and recruiting volunteers with a view to taking on the running of Ore Community Library. The Group was founded two years ago in response to plans by East Sussex County Council to close the library.”
  • Manchester – Watch a Brand New Manchester poem in 64 languages – Manchester Libraries Blog. “A brand new multi-lingual poem incorporating an incredible 64 different languages and written mostly by school children, takes pride of place from this week in Manchester Central Library for the next year.” … “Local school children and community groups have been invited over the last year to add new lines to a poem ‘Made in Manchester’ written by local poet Zahid Hussain. What makes the poem unique however is that the youngsters and others were all asked to contribute lines written in their own heritage language, to highlight the cultural diversity of the city – a city that is proud to be called home by people speaking more than 200 different languages.”
  • Norfolk – Plans for future of 11 axed children’s centres revealed – Eastern Daily Press. “A further three centres – in Loddon, Gorleston and Harleston – will be based in libraries and used to supplement their work with young children.”
  • North Yorkshire – Council pledges to continue supporting volunteer-run libraries – Craven Herald and Pioneer. “Stokesley councillor Bryn Griffiths said the continued success of the market town’s library was only due to residents agreeing to pay extra council tax for a library manager, as organising 32 volunteers was a complex job. Scarborough councillor Tony Randerson questioned whether the county would continue providing support staff. He said: “The libraries are coping on the basis that there is additional paid support by North Yorkshire County Council. Without that I think they would struggle really badly. It is essential that that support is kept on.”
  • Oldham – International bestselling author from Saddleworth inspired by local libraries – Saddleworth Independent. “When Saddleworth author Phaedra Patrick visited Oldham Library as a young girl, she dreamed that one day her own books would sit on the shelves there.” … “To celebrate the launch of her latest book, Oldham Libraries are running a social media competition on Thursday, July 27. A picture of Phaedra’s book will be posted in a mystery location and fans will be invited to guess where it is. A winner will be selected from the correct answers.”

“I am writing as a library user from Sheffield, I have been using libraries intensely since 2008, having always had an interest in reading. The interest I had for libraries and reading developed into a passion and hobby purely on the strength of visiting our beautiful art deco central library, which at the time had it’s own music library, fully staffed and stocked reference library and much more. In recent years our libraries in Sheffield have borne the brunt of austerity cuts, with 15 libraries now run by volunteers each with their own book collections in addition to the council controlled stock, these books are not on the main Sheffield Libraries catalogue meaning library users may be missing out on accessing particular titles.

The area of Tinsley, an area with high numbers of adults and children who speak English as a second language, now does not even have such a volunteer run library, having to make do with a small room full of books housed in a small room in the local community forum. This is despite the council owning an empty Carnegie Library literally just over the road. Book loans according to the councils own figures have declined at volunteer run branch libraries, as has income ironically in the same period charges for library fines, printing and other services were increased a few years ago. A new strategy obviously needs to be adopted in Sheffield, perhaps following the example of neighbouring Barnsley library service which has recently announced it is scrapping library fines in an attempt to boost library usage.

Libraries are such vital institutions, it is only right Sheffield gets the library service it deserves to enable future and current generations to change their lives as I have done mine through reading for pleasure.” Matt, Sheffield library user

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.”