Tag Archives: libraries

Library A to Z update

It’s been over a month since the Library A to Z Kickstarter was funded and we just wanted to update you on how things are progressing. So far, the illustrator Josh Filhol has finished the art work. In the end he managed to produce illustrations for every letter, even those that didn’t have many words against them. The illustrations are vibrant and are going to look great in the book and on the other advocacy resources. Content for the book is also coming together nicely and Andy is in contact with designers for promotional items such as posters. We don’t have a definite timescale for when the resources based on the illustrations will be available for download, but we’ll make sure we announce it when it happens.

"W" (by Josh Filhol)

“W” (by Josh Filhol)

Arts Council England publish Evidence review of the economic contribution of libraries

Yesterday, Arts Council England published a report focused on the economic contribution of libraries. As well as economic contribution the report also commented on the value libraries played in the following key areas:

  • Children and young people’s education and personal development
  • Adult education, skills and employability
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Community support and cohesion
  • Digital inclusion

With regard to economic benefits the report highlights:

…whilst libraries may not ‘turn a profit’ they provide us with many 

things that support local economies, from information for businesses, to

access to essential text books. Libraries have a local presence and may

contribute to a sense of place. Then there are the beneficial effects of services

accessed in a library whether that be a social reading club, support to quit

smoking, or help looking for jobs online. These are the services that ensure

effective and financially efficient public spending and enable us to lead

healthy and fulfilling lives.

Further to this the report comments:

…evidence is already sufficient to conclude that public libraries provide positive outcomes for people and communities in many areas – far exceeding the traditional perception of libraries as just places from which to borrow books. What the available evidence shows is that public libraries, first and foremost, contribute to long term processes of human capital formation, the maintenance of mental and physical wellbeing, social inclusivity and the cohesion of communities. This is the real economic contribution that public libraries make to the UK. The fact that these processes are long term, that the financial benefits arise downstream from libraries’ activities, that libraries make only a contribution to what are multi-dimensional, complex processes of human and social development, suggests that attempting to derive a realistic and accurate overall monetary valuation for this is akin to the search for the holy grail. What it does show is that measuring libraries’ short term economic impact provides only a very thin, diminished account of their true value.

The complete 60 page report can be read at Arts Council England’s site.

 

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The final figure for the Library A to Z is £4,543 (225% funded)

The Library A to Z crowdfunding closed today after 4 weeks and we’re really pleased to say that, thanks to the generosity of 155 backers, it has exceeded the initial goal of £2,000. The final amount was a fantastic £4,543, which means that the following has been funded:

  • £2,000 covers the costs of the illustrator, Kickstarter and card processing costs, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing.
  • £2,500 enables the production of a series of posters using the illustrations and makes them available for anyone to download under creative commons licence, edit if wanted, and to print for use in library advocacy.
  • £3,000 enables a pack containing books, posters and other materials to be made up and sent out to at least five different press / media organisations pushing the positive message about libraries. Backers will prioritise who we send them to (and will happily send these out internationally as well as within the UK depending on the geographical spread of our backers).
  • At £4,500 each person with a pledge of £20 over above will be sent an assortment of 5 greeting cards with images from the Library A to Z. It would be great if backers could send at least one of these to a local politician (your local councillor perhaps?) to ask about support for libraries in your area.
It seems such a long time ago that the initial A to Z list was crowd sourced at Library Camp East and it is fantastic that it has turned into something that so many people have thought was a great enough idea to support. Thank you to everyone who has pledged or shared the idea wide enough for this to be funded, including The Library Campaign, whose £1,500 pledge gave the crowdfunding a huge boost.
Huge thanks also to Andy who came up with the idea of crowd funding this, found an illustrator and set up the Kickstarter.
Now we move on to putting the book together, and as we do this over the next few months we’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Gary
Library A to Z illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z (Josh Filhol)

Library A to Z Kickstarter funded to 190%

Fundraising for the Library A to Z is not yet closed, but with one week to go it is already 190% funded. On Monday, after three weeks, we’d reached around £2250 with 120+ backers, but The Library Campaign showed their support for the project by becoming the main sponsor and pledged £1,500, which is fantastic, and gratefully appreciated,. As is the £2250 all of the other individual backers have also pledged. This means that the current total pledged stands at just over £3,800! This funding means that the full colour book, posters and cards will be produced, along with press packs featuring this material. We still have a week to go and further stretch goals we can achieve, dependent upon the money we raise. We’re already wondering if we can reach £4500, and if we did how much more we could achieve with this project.

A huge thank you to everyone who has generously pledged and promoted this project.

Gary

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Guest post: No one seems interested in feeding the minds of the young people

The following guest post, written by Annie Creswick-Dawson, comments on the current situation of Birmingham’s Bloomsbury Library in Nechells.

Nechells is a ‘deprived’ area of Birmingham where the Bloomsbury Library provided a study space, community room and library facilities.  Refurbished in the 1990s, it had deteriorated by 2013 and there were urgent repairs required for which funding had been agreed. However, at the last minute the funding was withdrawn. Following the theft of lead from the roof, the building was so badly damaged by heavy rainfall that neither the heating nor the lift could function and in October the Library was closed.  Although there had been an arrangement with a nearby community centre for temporary services to be run there during the repairs, the library service has so far been unable to provide any alternative service there. It is not yet even providing the service of a library van which they ‘hope’ to provide once a week.

I had visited the Library in 2013 to record the sculptures on the exterior of this attractive library building and was disturbed by the obvious state of disrepair. It was warm and there were a lot of young people working away in the study area, and the staff were friendly and helpful, which makes the whole sorry story seem even sadder to me. Saddest of all was when I started to look into the situation this year only to find that it had been closed and no adequate substitute provided. It is just appalling that, after initial complaints, there has been little or no opposition because people in the area ‘have got used to services being withdrawn’.

This seems to be a prime example of Councils being able to withdraw services because people have been so used to the deprivation that they see no point in complaining. Protest has no effect and they have other priorities: there is a food bank in the area but no one seems interested in feeding the minds of the young people and helping them to get the best education possible by having a quiet study area in a local place.

My interest stems from my visit and the fact that I was visiting to record the sculptures by my great grandfather Benjamin Creswick. He was a Sheffield knife grinder, a job in which the life expectancy was about 30 years of age. Making efforts to get other employment, he visited Ruskin’s Museum set up for the working men in Walkley, Sheffield. Ben became a pupil of Ruskin, who recognised his talent and supported his family, teaching him how to find commissions amongst other help. After some time in London, Ben became the head of the Birmingham School of Art where he stayed for nearly thirty years.

It is ironic that Ruskin inspired sculpture celebrating the life of ordinary people at work and at play and in the close knit family unit. This included a more formal panel showing the civic pride of Birmingham with the arts representing the city’s wealth in industry. It also featured the real wealth in the youthful figures presenting the city with the fruits of their work. Ironic because this sculpture now stands witness to the dismantling of the systems which sustain the people who are the very lifeblood of the city.

While my interest started in the history and the wish to preserve the sculptures, it seems now to demand the protection of the library service and the recognition of its utmost importance to the communty. I am sorry for the length of this diatribe but it seems so important to see if I can help to raise awareness of this dire situation and hope it may help to make sure it is not just allowed to be another case of library closure.

If anyone in the Birmingham area could put me in touch with local commmunity groups I would be most grateful.

Library sculptures

Annie Creswick-Dawson was born in Edinburgh and spent most of my formative years in my grandparent’s studio. My grandfather, trained by his father Benjamin Creswick, was a bronze founder and silversmith and he trained his wife who worked with him in the studio as a jeweller. She worked in the studio as a general helper and had a very liberal arts education which has led to a lifetime of interest in the arts and crafts.

Having been an amateur artist working mainly in gouache and watercolour, she recently became interested in working with natural materials and now runs courses in this interesting type of work. Annie has spent some years in researching the life of Benjamin Creswick and his connection with the great Victorian John Ruskin and it was this research that brought about her interest in the Bloomsbury Library both for the sake of the sculptures and the tragic loss of the library service to the community.

The London Libraries Change Programme (LLCP)

The London Libraries Change Programme came into being in 2008 and finished in 2011. It was part of a wider initiative, the London Cultural Improvement Programme, and included the 32 boroughs and the City of London, the regional cultural agencies (Arts Council England, MLA Council, English Heritage and Sport England), London Councils and Capital Ambition and had a remit to improve cultural services in London.

In October 2008, the LLCP Board (1), Chaired by Andrew Holden, Director of Engagement at the MLA and made up of members of the ALCL and other MLA officers, commissioned the consultants RSE to prepare a feasibility study, funded by Capital Ambition, outlining the scope of the programme and the key areas for potential ‘improvement’;

 

  • Leading the sector both externally and internally.
  • Supporting the development of a strong and well utilised workforce.
  • Improving procurement and stock management processes.
  • Modernising service delivery through the use of new technology.
  • Combining skills and resources to undertake marketing and communication.

Four options were given with estimated savings over a five year period;

Option 1: Sharing best practice which is anticipated to yield savings of £1.9 million.

Option 2: Integration of library services with local authority customer services, which is anticipated to yield savings of £3.8 million.

Option 3: Joint management posts are anticipated to yield savings of £5 million.

Option 4: Sub regional library services are anticipated to yield savings of £13 million.

“Overall the potential options combined could save an estimated £2.3 across London in the first year and £19.8 million over five years. “

RSE also made some recommendations, let’s look at some of these in more detail;

2.1.1. The sector needs strong leadership

“There is a perception within the sector that the role and contribution of libraries is widely misunderstood and undervalued. The Association of Chief Librarians and Museums, Libraries and Archives Association (in London and nationally) provide leadership within the sector, but there is a clear view that this role could be strengthened and enhanced”

That the SCL and the MLA ever provided leadership in the sector is highly debateable, SCL members have been accused of pushing through policies that have resulted in cutting the sector and recently were criticised for not fully supporting National Libraries Day and the MLA were seen by many to be ineffectual and instrumental in developing the neo-liberal agenda now prevalent amongst SCL members!

2.1.3. The programme needs to tackle workforce costs and skill development

Staff accounts for 58% of all costs within Libraries……”

“It is recommended that the programme:

f. Benchmark workforce levels and productivity across London…..”

In July 2009 the LLCP Board and the London Cultural Improvement Group commissioned CFE to undertake workforce benchmarking research; the final report was published in October of that year.

“The objective of this was to provide greater understanding of how the London library workforce is utilised and to highlight areas for efficiencies that might arise from joint authority working and the development of shared services.

This report draws together findings from primary research with the library sector and wider stakeholders, and aims to:

  • Benchmark workforce structures across London libraries using a range of input, output and outcome measures to identify drivers of variation in staffing levels and effective working practices.
  • Highlight examples of best practice in staff deployment and document options for shared services, i.e. ways in which local authorities can work together to utilise library staff more effectively.
  • Identify areas where efficiencies can be realised through improvements in workforce utilisation and shared services and provide assumptions about the level of estimated savings achievable. “

The research also highlights potential cuts to the London Library workforce of anything between 1-10%.

It’s very difficult to assess the impact of the programme on subsequent cuts to library services and jobs acrossLondondue to the cuts imposed on Local Authorities by the present Government but all that can be said is that all the authorities involved in the programme have cut staff and services!

Inconclusive I know,  but until a full impact analysis of the programme is made public we will never know!

(1) “The Board comprises of Andrew Holden (Programme Sponsor and Chair) Interim Director MLA London; David Ruse Director of Libraries, London Borough Westminster; Rosemary Doyle Head of Library and Cultural Services, London Borough Islington; Sue McKenzie Head of Libraries London Borough of Brent and President of London Libraries; Cllr G. Reardon, London Borough Waltham Forest; Cllr F. Rea, London Borough Camden; plus Local Authority representatives including HR, resources and library and cultural services tbc and Ken Cole, Advisor, Capital Ambition Ex officio.”

London Library Change Programme Board; Workforce Benchmarking Project; Project Initiation Document Feb 2009

All the reports relating to the Programme can be found at;

http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/policylobbying/culturetourismand2012/lcip/londonlibrarychangeprogramme.htm

Evidence sessions for Parliamentary Inquiry into library closures

The second evidence session for The Culture, Media and Sport Committee Inquiry into library closures will take place on Tuesday 21 February (Committee Room 15, Palace of Westminster).

The Committee will hear evidence from representatives of Arts Council England, Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), Isle of Wight Council, Leicestershire Library Services and the Local Government Association.

Further details of the session can be found here.

The session will be screened on the internet via Parliament.tv

The first session saw Abby Barker (Voices for The Library),  Sue Charteris (author of the report on Wirral library closures), Andrew Coburn (The Library Campaign) and Miranda McKearney (The Reading Agency) give evidence.

Below are some of the comments and points raised during that session (paraphrased).

  • Miranda McKearney: The passionate work of campaigners over the past 18 months has started to shift the debate about what libraries mean to us all.
  • Abby Barker: A lot of people making these cuts don’t understand what a library is, or what it does, or what librarians can offer.
  • Andrew Coburn: In local areas libraries offer a social place to build communities, based around services they provide.
  • Abby Barker: Local libraries are important. Not all people can get to the central library branch. There is room for both large ‘destination’ libraries and small libraries to provide services. They complement each other.
  •  Abby Barker: The cuts are focused on books & buildings. Librarians aren’t just there to stamp books. Librarians are there to enhance your experience of the library.
  • Andrew Coburn: A lot of what library staff do is about direction, mediation & assistance. The fewer library staff there are in the system the more difficult it is to get an answer from anywhere in that system.
  •  Miranda McKearney: Even though ‘you clearly have access to the things you need to live your life. Lots of people don’t’. (Response to MP about why libraries are needed)
  • Abby Barker: If comprehensive & efficient could be more clearly defined, local authorities may be able to make better decisions.
  • Abby Barker: Library consultations are being run from the top down and local authorities are not listening to or taking into account users needs.
  • Andrew Coburn: What’s the point of the Secretary of State having powers of intervention if they aren’t used? He needs to “grasp the nettle.”
  • Andrew Coburn: How will volunteer run libraries affect the statutory duties?
  • Abby Barker: Volunteers can add value to a library service, but they shouldn’t be seen as a replacement service.
  • Miranda McKearney: Partnership working on a national level with librarians is difficult because there aren’t enough of them.
  • Miranda McKearney: There are some things you can only do nationally to improve library services – we need a national strategy!
  • Sue Charteris: Local authorities need to look at equalities assessment of local needs.
  • Sue Charteris: Isn’t keen on having more regulations, but feels local authorities need guidance from Secretary of State & Arts Council England.
  • Sue Charteris: Library services need proper communications teams to sell their benefits.
  • Sue Charteris: There has to be a prominent role for librarians in providing public library services. They are key.
  • Sue Charteris: Volunteers are well-placed to do certain things in libraries, but a sound policy on volunteering by local authorities is key.
  • Sue Charteris: The Secretary of State role needs to be more pro-active nationally.
  • Sue Charteris: Current public library legislation needs to be looked at, because it is “cumbersome” and out-of-date.
  • Sue Charteris: Believes that some kind of peer review would be useful to ensure library services are heading in the right direction.

Is Kent County Council on the road to widespread library closures?

Will the library closures soon reach Kent? (Image c/o eyebee on Flickr)

Last Friday, Kent councillors got together at County Hall to discuss their recently published report on public libraries across the county. Up until now, Kent had been reasonably quiet compared to other parts of the country, seemingly holding back on closures until they see how effective other councils have been in tearing down their public library services. The only hint about what was likely to come was a previous council meeting when the closure of 40 libraries were proposed (there are around 103 libraries in Kent including mobile libraries). At the time of writing, the actual discussions in that meeting are still a mystery and the meeting minutes are currently subject to an appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

What Kent decides next will be significant. As one of the largest library authorities in the country, a programme of closures similar in scale to other authorities could have a significant impact on communities across the county. Either closing 40 libraries or forcing local communities to run them will result in a serious assault on the library service and a devastating impact on those that rely on them the most.

The meeting itself suggested that there is justification for the people of Kent to be concerned about the council’s intentions. The Head of Libraries for Kent has suggested that libraries could easily move into surgeries, schools or shops. Of course, such proposals are absurd and are completely unsustainable. In fact, within the last three years one such library in the county that shared a premises with a local school was closed due to lack of use and a need for the school to expand. Even more disturbing is the Head of Libraries claim that the council is ‘prepared’ to be challenged, suggesting that no matter how hard the people of Kent fight for their service, the council will ensure that they enact the changes that they plan to put together.

There have also been claims that parish councils have offered to run public libraries within their communities. This argument was most recently heard in Gloucestershire where, in actual fact, community groups hadn’t so much ‘offered’ to run the local libraries for the council as forced into doing so to ensure that their service is not closed down. No details have been revealed by Kent regarding which parish councils have offered to take on public libraries across the county, but this is no subject to a Freedom of Information request so hopefully this information will be available soon.

But perhaps most disturbing of all are the ‘locality boards’ that are being established in the county to decide on the future strategy for the public library service. So called ‘locality boards’ were used by the council as part of its ‘Vision for Kent 2011-202’ consultation and were established as follows:

Locality Boards will advise county and district councils on the public service priorities and deliver the countywide ambitions for the locality.

The role of Locality Boards is to:

– advise county and district councils on the public service priorities for the locality;
– deliver the countywide ambitions within the locality;
– advise county and district councils on service provision, moving towards combined place based commissioning where appropriate;
– improve the local accountability to residents for public services in their totality;
– oversee public services in each Locality through direct oversight and community leadership.

The ‘core’ membership of each Locality Board will comprise the elected County Councillors with divisions within the Locality and an equivalent number of District Council Cabinet members. Additional membership of each Board will be decided by the Locality Board depending on the business needs of the Locality.

It is not clear at present what form the ‘locality boards’ will take (indeed many have not even been created yet). Hopefully these boards will be transparent and the public can be fully involved and engaged in the process. Previous boards have placed restrictions on public involvement as well as the distribution of the detail of their meetings. It will be interesting to see how transparent and open these ‘locality boards’ actually are.

As things stand there is much to concern residents of Kent about the sustainability of the plans that have so far been discussed. Indeed, there have been suggestions on a number of local forums that proposals have already been presented to some residents. On one forum it was reported that residents had recently been invited to a meeting hosted by the council examining how it could save money. Attendees were asked to vote on 19 money saving proposals that detailed the pros and cons of the cut in question alongside the amount of money that could be saved. The proposal apparently put before residents for libraries read as follows:

Reduce spending on Libraries by £3 million by closing the least well used libraries and focus on the main town centre hubs.

Kent currently has 101 permanent libraries. which cost £20million to run -the saving would would retain 20 main libraries across the County.

OR alternatively

Transfer the running of smaller libraries to local communities with the Council providing specialist advice.
Saving made would be £3million.

In favour:

(1) Are Libraries an essential service or are they “nice to have”?

(2) Do Libraries still meet the modern needs of society?

(3) Many have access to books and computers in their own homes and do not need KCC to provide them.

Against:

(1) Some feel that libraries provide a community focal point.

(2) A library is more than a place to borrow books, particularly the free internet access.

(3) Some feel that specific groups rely on the services and expertise of Library staff more then others- eg. the young and elderly.

At present it is unclear as to the significance of this meeting, but it has certainly prompted much concern amongst local residents who appear to believe that the councils has already decided on its course of action.

Certainly their concerns are not eased by the attitude of some councillors across the county. During the meeting at County Hall referred to earlier, one councillor (Jean Law representing Herne Bay) observed:

We've closed libraries before without an outcry says Cllr Jean Law #libraries #kcc
@PaulOnPolitics
Paul Francis

Unless there is full transparency and a willingness to engage with local communities (not just parish councils) then there is very much a chance that libraries will be closed without an outcry. People will simply wake up one morning and find that their library has either been closed or ownership transferred before they have had an opportunity to engage in the process. Let us hope that transparency will be at the heart of this process, for the sake of all the people of Kent.

Paraxis library stories

Paraxis is a site dedicated to publishing new short stories and related art works from established and new authors. A couple of months ago it put out a call for works with a library theme. The editors received contributions in which “writers, readers and artists explored the part libraries play in people’s lives in a cornucopia of ways” and also non-fiction discussions “on the relevance and nature libraries of libraries”.

The contributions they selected have now been published on the site as Paraxis Vol.2 : The Library and they show the range of feelings about libraries and the value people place on them. The Paraxis editors are obviously well aware of cuts being made to library services and comment that “The tragedy and disgrace of our generation is that we are in danger of leaving a poorer cultural inheritance than the one we inherited.

Why not take the time to read some of the pieces on the site? Here are a few links to a selection of works published in Paraxis Vol.2.

Why do libraries matter?” (Alan Gibbons)

A library user since I was a child…” (Susan Davy)

Dear Janet…” (Terri Lucas)

I enjoyed wonderful adventures when I was seven years old.” (Sam Ford)

 

Don’t forget that we’re always looking for contributions too, so if you feel inspired by these pieces please get in touch at (stories@voicesforthelibrary.org.uk) and share your positive library experiences on the Voices for The Library site.

Save our Libraries Day - Gloucestershire

Save our Libraries Day - Gloucestershire (c) FOGLibraries

Comment on Arts Council England “Culture, knowledge and understanding” report

The Arts Council England (A.C.E.) recently published “Culture, knowledge and understanding: great museums and libraries for everyone“, which is its first major publication covering libraries since it was announced that A.C.E. would take over the responsibility for them from the Museums Libraries and Archives Council.
It explains what the Arts Council considers as important and what they are planning to do. It starts with a summary of the situation, including this paragraph which rebuts the arguments of people who say libraries are naturally declining, stagnating or middle class:

“Although public libraries have seen a decrease in the numbers of people borrowing books, evidence shows that where there has been strategic investment – such as in promoting children’s reading – visits rise. And patterns of use are changing, with a significant increase in users accessing services digitally. Libraries have innovated in response, offering enhanced digital provision and actively promoting libraries as local social spaces which can draw in and support new users. Unlike museums or the arts, differences in people’s socio-economic status do not affect their likelihood of using a library; neither does illness or having a disability.” (p.9/10)

The Council makes very clear that they do not have large amounts of money.  In fact, they have far less than the old MLA and so are keen on things which save money while still continuing the service:

 “The Arts Council is keen to see museums and libraries continuing to innovate in their approaches to engaging with communities and making more effective use of volunteers; we are keen to see them working together to achieve this” (p.11)

This above quote shows, and it is a recurring theme in the document, the importance of Museums, Arts and Libraries in working together and learning from each other in order to spread good ideas and make the most of less money.  Similarly, the Arts Council is not against outsourcing, be it private or through trusts.  They especially like the idea of philanthropy:

“Museums and libraries similarly need to strengthen their business models, diversify their income streams and look at new ways of encouraging private giving and supporting enterprise. Likewise, they need to continue to explore new ways of collaborating and improving efficiency in order to thrive
not just survive.” (p.12)

The document lists five aims.  These are listed in colourful management-speak and would be relatively meaningless to show here in their original form.  However, a rough translation of the aims is:
  1. Funding new initiatives that show original thinking, especially if they will save money
  2. To get more people to use libraries
  3. To find ways of surviving with less council money
  4. A lessening in the dominance of white middle class staff
  5. Encourage more children in

The Council is keen on advocacy work for libraries and working with the Local Government Group, Society of Chief Librarians and the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals “to develop clear messages about the public value libraries can provide and a shared vision for the library service in 10 years’ time.”.  It is perhaps at least good to see that the Council thinks libraries will still be here in 2021.

Other key points raised in the report were:
  • Libraries are at the heart of the community and are not just “nice to have”.
  • They are innovative.
  • The quality of services they provide is important.
  • They need to be invested in.
  • Communities want to be involved in the development of library services they receive.
  • Libraries help create empowered citizens and this ability to empower should be expanded right across the broader arts sector.
  • Digital access to information is important, but A.C.E. also recognises that not everything is accessible digitally/online and not everyone wants to, or can access services in this way.
  • Rural services may be able to benefit from collaboration across the arts sector.
  • Libraries have a broader impact on our wider life experiences.
  • A.C.E. recognises the educational, knowledge and informative roles libraries have, as much as their arts/cultural role.
  • Advocacy is essential at all levels of the profession.
  • Relationships and partnerships between libraries and all sectors need to be developed.

It’s encouraging to see that the report is so positive about the role/services libraries can and do provide and how they are developing to meet users needs. The acknowledgement that libraries provide opportunities for citizens that other arts sector areas don’t, but can take advantage of in the future, is important, as it demonstrates that libraries do have a uniqueness and this is partly why they have a key role to play in the future. However, how does the steady increase of removing professional staff from libraries and replacing them with volunteers tie in with A.C.E.’s acknowledgement of the importance of providing quality services?

It’s important that the report also goes some way to allaying fears that the Arts Council may have placed its focus on the cultural/arts aspects of libraries at the expense of education and knowledge, etc.

As indicated earlier in this post, the Arts Council does have a 10 year plan, but for this year, the main activity, appears to be simply to continue with the Future Libraries Programme with guidance from the Local Government Group, which may cause some worries amongst those who do not highly regard it. There are certain aspects of this programme that aren’t necessarily seen as successful by local communities or the library profession, especially when they involve reductions in service.

It is worth noting that you can email your views as to what you think is important for the Arts Council to consider to museums.libraries@artscouncil.org.uk.  Get emailing.