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    Public Libraries News

    posted 17 Oct 2012 13:49 by Martin Russo

    It’s not good news for libraries in Northern England urban areas today. According to council papers, Gateshead Council are considering moving five libraries (Sunderland Road, Low Fell, Winlaton, Lobley Hill and Ryton) towards being volunteer run with three more moving into cheaper locations, including one to a children’s centre. If the figures are understood properly, the proposed budget cut will mean that the libraries budget will move from £4.3m at the start last year to a mere £2.7m at the end of next year, a cut of over a third.  Sefton Council have moved a step closer to confirming the closure of seven libraries while apparently reprieving a further three.  Completing the cuts trio, a battlefield familiar from earlier on this year, the Manchester Evening News reports that Trafford, have announced that they are aiming to substitute some volunteers from a portion of paid staff inall their libraries in order to meet a cut of £136k p.a.

    News

    • Curse of “oh, we already did that” - Wikiman.  Things are changing fast so if something like a library facebook page failed three years ago, there’s no reason it would fail now.
    • How library services are changing - District Dispatch (USA).  Highpoints of recent library changes in Arlington are “creation of the library’s Digital Projects Lab, a pop-up, tech-filled space that provides the technology resources for community members to create digital projects. The lab offers patrons scanners, tablets, printers, as well as visual and audio editing software.”, changeable spaces, investment in website, community garden provide food for the poor, highly successful twice-annual book sale.  ““Our funding comes from a local municipality, and we make sure that the friends of the library understand when our library budget have been cut,” she said, adding that local funding support allows her libraries to provide community members with ebooks and Internet access. “We need support to continue to be a resource for the community.”
    • How the Brooklyn Public Library changed my life - Explore + Create + Share.  “I have been able to make a difference in the lives of others, and in my own life because of the opportunities and programs I found at my local Iibrary. It was definitely one of the most rewarding jobs I could have ever done. It has made me stronger, more skilled and equipped for the working world and more confident in who I am as a person. I can truly say I’ve discovered a lot about myself because of the summers I’ve spent in programs at the library. Brooklyn Public Library has forever changed my life.”
    • Librarian code of ethics - Libraries Interact (Australia).  “IFLA has published a Code of Ethics for Librarians and other Information Workers.  This code’s aims are: • encouraging reflection on principles on which librarians and other information workers can form policies and handle dilemmas improving professional self-awareness
      • providing transparency to users and society in general. “
    • Love your library: Julia Donaldson kicks off our celebration of libraries -Guardian. “It’s a shame I can’t invite every child in the UK to one of these library visits, but I had the idea that you might like to share in my celebration of libraries by telling me what you love about your own library, or perhaps writing a poem about it or drawing a picture.”  Julia lists ten things she likes about libraries:
    1. Place for books by your favourite author
    2. Inspire you to write.
    3. Characterful buildings
    4. Librarians are characters
    5. Author visits
    6. Books are free to borrow
    7. Great places for research
    8. Summer Reading Challenge
    9. Quiet and noisy
    10. Lots more events

    Changes

    • Gateshead – Five libraries under threat: Five (Sunderland Road, Low Fell, Winlaton, Lobley Hill and Ryton) to be volunteer-run or closed.  Wrekenton and Chopwell to relocate to “alternative community locations” (not counted as under threat, pending decision on location), Felling Library to move into Children’s Centre (not counted as under threat), Books on Wheels to be either managed by voluntary sector group or run by council but with volunteers. These changes would mean £748k cut from £3.49m budget (2013/4).  £100k cut in budget 2012/13 mainly from bookfund and voluntary redundancies. Budget 2011/12 had been cut from £4.3m.
    • Sefton – Seven libraries under threat (Ainsdale, Aintree, Birkdale, Churchtown, Crosby, Litherland and Orrell): three others reprieved.
    • Trafford – Volunteers to partially replace paid staff in all branches to meet budget cut of £136k p.a.

    Local News

    • Brent – Library campaigners unite to honour first anniversary of closures Brent and Kilburn Times.  “Campaigners from all six branches marched across the borough carrying a makeshift flame. During the commemoration on Saturday, residents marched from Kensal Rise Library, in Bathurst Gardens, to Preston Library, in Carlton Avenue East, taking in all six closed buildings along the way. The relay was also honoured with celebrations including multi-lingual readings at each reading room. Joining the torchbearers was Ray Tucker, a former European Champion runner and novelist Adam Baron.”
    • Community run libraries: It is proposed that five libraries are offered to the community to become community run libraries. These are Sunderland Road, Low Fell, Winlaton, Lobley Hill and Ryton.  
    • Co-locate: It is proposed that savings are also achieved by relocating Wrekenton and Chopwell libraries into alternative community locations. Felling library will also move to the Children’s Centre in Felling. Relocation or co-location for community run libraries should also be considered with a view to improving savings further.
    • Volunteer commissioned – It is proposed that the Readers at Home service is commissioned from the voluntary sector. If this is not deliverable then it is proposed that the service would be delivered by in-house managed volunteers. Gateshead – LibraryService Review report - Gateshead Council (Item 08).
    • Gloucestershire – Library visits fall after hours are cut - This is Gloucestershire.  “VISITORS to Up Hatherley Library have dropped by more than 20 per cent since it cut its opening hours last month. On September 3 new opening hours came into force reducing opening hours from 47 to 35 a week.”.  Ebooks have been introduced: “since we introduced the virtual library in April this year, 3,391 customers have already registered for e-Books and they have downloaded 8,226 titles.”.

    “I have not heard any complaints from the community, but clearly the opening hours reducing by seven hours was going to have an impact. But a 20 per cent reduction does sound like a lot and is disappointing.”

    • Isle of Wight – DCMS submission – Friends of the Isle of Wight Library Service. “The Secretary of State does not wish to discuss the volunteer community libraries, he feels these are little used, we totally disagree, it is not always about numbers but about access to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups 18% of library users are made up of elderly, disabled, children, young mothers, these groups in almost half of the Isle of Wight are without a local library, they are isolated, lonely and the disregard of these groups is a breach of library policy and the 1964 Act. There have been leaks from within County Hall that it is still council policy to eventually have only two libraries, if the DCMS sit back and do nothing, this will be taken by the IW Council as government acceptance of their policies and that they have a free hand to dowhatever they like without fear of retribution from Whitehall. “
    • Nottinghamshire – Council announces multi-million pound strategy - Build.  “Nottinghamshire County Council’s has announced a multi-million pound, ten-year Library Strategy to enhance the library provision across the county.  Council Committee Chairman Councillor John Cottee announced the strategy earlier this year, saying that libraries are the very ‘heartbeat’ of local communities.”
    • Sefton – Formby library safe for now as public urged to share ideas on Sefton Council budget plans - Formby Times.  “Libraries in Ainsdale, Aintree, Birkdale, Churchtown, Crosby, Litherland and Orrell will be closed over the next two years if the move is given the go-ahead by next February. Until then library users across the borough will be given the opportunity to have their say. Consultation over the scheme is expected to begin on October 29 and last through to January 14.”

    “For an unemployed job-seeker, or a single mother trying to claim benefit, the accessibility of a branch library such as Churchtown is a life-line in the brave new world of online Government.”

    • Trafford – Tory-controlled Trafford council to axe 180 jobs in £34m cuts - Manchester Evening News.  “Some 180 workers at the region’s only Tory-led  town hall are set to lose their jobs, while terms and conditions for all remaining staff could be slashed. Workers would see their sickness entitlement halved and would be forced to take five days’ unpaid leave a year. The two-year savings plan would also see volunteers part-run all the borough’s libraries.”  Closure of six libraries discussed but decided against.  “Meanwhile, a volunteer scheme introduced at two libraries last year – to uproar among campaigners – will be extended across the borough, saving £136,000 a year.”
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