Up to 40 libraries are at risk in Birmingham as a review of every library in the region begins.
Leisure cabinet member Martin Mullaney said that the “root and branch” examination was necessary as internet use and declining borrower numbers hit services. The study may result in library closure, or location changes, the Birmingham Post reports.
Up to 40 libraries are at risk in Birmingham as a review of every library in the region begins.
The Library Campaign – aims and objectives: to advance the lifelong education of the public by the promotion, support, assistance and improvement of libraries through the activities of friends and users groups.
If you haven’t become a member, please consider joining as this is a fantastic resource for any ” Friends of” Group. Details can be found here:
I hope they don’t mind me quoting some extracts from their wonderful article “Ideas Bank” from the Winter 2009 (No.79) issue:
Meet those in Charge
That means your head of libraries, the head of whatever department libraries are in, and the councillor responsible for libraries. Make sure they know you are there to defend the library service. You should be a very useful ally. If they don’t see it this way, the sooner you find out, the better!
1. Find out what plans they have.
2. Find out how the current budget is shaping up.
3. ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP. Brainstorm some ideas with them. Alternatively, if they don’t want to know, make it clear that you exist, you will be watching, you want to be consulted and you will take action if necessary.
4. Make sure you keep regularly in touch as the situation develops.
5. If need be, contact other friendly councillors to see if they can find out the library services plans/projected budget.
Meet the staff at all library branches
Invite all relevant councillors to visit you/the library
This includes your local ward councillors, and councillors that have a portfolio where libraries can provide useful facilities.
That could include culture, education, early years, adult social services, childre/youth, crime, employment…Almost anything can be relevant, IF you/the library service can show how useful the library already is, and have clear ideas about what more could be done.
Choose a time when something is going on that is relevant to their portfolio – storytime, homework club, old people’s club, reading group etc.
NOTE 1: Even if they don’t come, a message will be getting through to them…
Note 2: If they do come, get a photo! If the local paper won’t send a photographer, send them one of your own. Local politicians appreciate some publicity – and it ties them in with the library for the future.
Note 3: It’s not just other council departments that can work with libraries. For instance, local primary care trusts often work with libraries on health promotions, information, books on prescription etc. What contacts do you have?
Invite your MP
Prepare a list of useful contacts
You may soon need people to speak out for you. Some will be able to talk about the value of the library to the local community. Others might add a bit of spice, and ensure a bit of publicity. Ask everyone in your group who they know. Face-to-face contact is always easiest and best, so start your list with existing contacts. It can be so simple – who do you know that has a child at school? And so on.
1. Local organisations of all kinds. That might be anything from schools and nurseries to reesident/tenants’ groups, local history or other amenity groups, clubs of all kinds, churches.
3. Local celebrities
4. Conduits for local publicity. Local papers, local radio, local TV, community websites, blogs, community newsletters and bulletin boards – both physical or electronic, your own e-list and/or telephone ‘tree’, your own website, the Library Campaign’s website (always hungry for news). There are many more means to communicate than there were even a few years ago.
Find more friends! Get them ready!
1. Recruit members (individual and organisations) to your Friends group, explain the dangers to come.
2. Discuss with them what more the library can do for them, rather than what they could do for the library.
3. Make a list, obviously – and remember to get email addresses for everyone who has one. A real timesaver! If you have ameeting, post plenty of people at the doors to take down details.
Note down what useful contacts your members have, and/or any skills they are willing to contribute.
1. Circulate some kind of support pledge for signing by individuals, organisations, councillors, MPs, local celebs etc.
2. Make sure someone attends all council meetings (etc). Generally do all you can to make your faces known, and to make it known that libraries have friends and they are likely to make a fuss.
3. If you can, start extra activities going in the library straight away. Some services are pretty apathetic, but ought to twig that their jobs could be at risk. You can help them make their branch look good. Use it or lose it.
4. Make friends with the local media. Invite them to attractive events, or send them a (digital) photo and caption.
MERGING with surrounding areas could bring Lincolnshire’s library services into the modern age, according to the county council.
A plan submitted by Lincolnshire County Council was selected by the coalition Government’s Future Libraries Programme as a potential blueprint for how libraries could be run in the future.
The scheme involves sharing stock, staff and services and with four neighbouring areas giving users more choice in where they go and what they read.
One of the 10 phase one areas is South London – or rather, it is described as “Lewisham with Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark.” We’re not sure if that means Lewisham is somehow leading the programme.
It’s by no means clear what this work will actually deliver. The South London project is described as follows:
Closer working in South East London (Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, Southwark)
The Future Libraries Programme is an exciting opportunity to deliver a step change across library services in South East London. Through it, Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark, will look at options and opportunities for improving quality and reducing costs by working more closely together.
These library authorities – members of the South East Libraries Performance Improvement Group (SELPIG) – will build on individual strengths and distinctive features, to retain and improve best practice models and introduce new solutions.
Communities in Suffolk are being given the chance to run their local library as part of a pilot scheme.
The county-wide network of book loaning would remain, but groups could set local opening hours and choose events.
Suffolk County Council says grants would be provided to the groups, who would then employ the library staff.
Communities around the country will have the chance to test drive an ambitious change programme for libraries Culture Minister, Ed Vaizey announced today.
The Future Libraries Programme, formed by a partnership between national and local government, and driven by councils themselves, aims to help the library service during the current challenging financial situation, with an ambition to ensure libraries play a central role for communities in the Big Society.
The ten phase one areas are:
- Kensington & Chelsea with Hammersmith & Fulham
- Northumberland with Durham
- Bolton, with Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan
- Lincolnshire, with Rutland, Cambridgeshire, North East Lincs, Peterborough
- Oxfordshire with Kent
- Herefordshire with Shropshire
- Cornwall with Devon, Plymouth, Torbay
- Lewisham with Bexley, Bromley, Croydon, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark
Read in full at
The museums, libraries and archives sector offers a wide range of opportunities for community involvement through the provision of volunteering opportunities.
During 2008-09, over 38,000 people volunteered in the sector. Over half of these, almost 20,000, were in museums and galleries. Over 15, 000 people volunteered in libraries and almost 3,000 in archives.
Hundreds of jobs are set to go and more venues will be shut as the body running Scotland’s largest estate of civic museums and sports facilities has confirmed it must make cuts of more than £10 million.
Glasgow Life, previously Culture and Sport Glasgow, said the cash cuts required between now and 2013 were equivalent to the cost of running its museum service – which includes Kelvingrove, the Burrell Collection and the Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) – or the city’s municipal libraries.
The council-owned charitable trust, which employs about 2200 staff, has also said that the scale of the cuts between 2013 and 2015, immediately before and after the Commonwealth Games, will dwarf those of the previous three years.
A FORMER Wick librarian has helped launch a campaign to save the town’s library from a threat of closure.
David Morrison, chairman of the newly-formed Save Our Library Action Group (SOLAG), told Royal Burgh of Wick Community Council members that the group was ready to distribute a petition in shops throughout the town.
SOLAG vice-chairman David More said it had decided to act following disclosure of information which suggested that if the Highland Council’s library service had to make the full £666,000 savings requested of it, a large library such as Wick, Culloden or Inverness may have to be considered for closure.
HALF of Bolton’s libraries could be shut as part of savage cuts over the next four years.
Town hall officials have laid out in detail their savings plans for adult services and the museum and library service, as part of wider cuts being demanded by the Government.
And while they must wait until the outcome of a review of the entire library network before making any decisions on the libraries’ future, council leader Cllr Cliff Morris is warning residents to brace themselves for the worst.