It’s back – the annual celebration of all that libraries offer, run by librarians’ association CILIP. This time (3-9 October) the theme is lifelong learning. And that, says CILIP’s enterprising Scottish branch,
means anything “from knit n natter to mindful meditation and much more”.
Follow @librariesweek on Twitter. Or head to CILIP’s website to register for updates on what’s on, some bright ideas and a heap of advice on planning and publicity. This is a resource worth consulting
whether you are taking part in Libraries Week or not:
CILIP is also holding a FREE national online chat (Tuesday 4 October, 6.30-7.45pm) with author Kate Thompson. The theme is only too topical: “the power of public libraries to support a community through the worst of times”. The reference is, of course, to her book about the World War II underground library in London’s East End. We featured this in our magazine no 102:
Today, libraries are busy planning to be “warm banks” and all-round welfare centres, but let’s hope not bomb shelters.
Register here:

The Library Campaign is very sad to report the death of Guy Daines. Most recently the Policy officer for CILIP, Guy was briefly the Campaign Secretary (before we were a charity) and had always been extremely helpful to us ever since.
He started his library career in the London Borough of Camden where he was also an active NALGO steward (NALGO became part of UNISON.) In that capacity we think he was one of those who attended the conference in Sheffield which founded the Campaign.
Later he joined the staff of the Library Association (now CILIP) initially as one of the team who advised on employment issues though as the LA / CILIP is not a trade union, this also involved liaison with the relevant unions.
After a while Guy took on a more all-embracing policy advice role. He became Policy Officer dealing with professional ethics and equalities, as well as governance and many other issues. 
As part of this role Guy represented CILIP to the Library Campaign and was involved in the set up of Speak Up For Libraries (SUFL) the coalition of organisations and individuals who  organised conferences, parliamentary lobbies and other activities in the 20-teens. 
Guy was always well  connected  -if he did not know the answer to some library question he probably knew who did. He could brief on current policy issues more or less at the drop of a hat.
Outside work Guy was sociable – always up for a drink after official business finished and keen on cricket, but also involved with his church. Indeed, when he retired, one of his ambitions was to study ecclesiastical Latin.
After his retirement we did not see much of Guy but he remained a member of the Campaign and we will miss his common sense and friendship. We understand that’s death came after a ‘short illness’. He will be much missed.

Well! There is to be ‘a new public libraries strategy due in 2023… to make sure [they] are providing the best possible service for their communities’.
Whatever that means, it will be based on work by a new ‘advisory panel’ led by one Baroness Sanderson. Her job will be to act as an ‘independent chair’ and ‘provide a fresh, challenging and impartial
perspective on libraries to help formulate innovative new policy ideas’.
It’s not yet known who will be on this panel. TLC has been quick to urge that it should include library users.
In a hastily-sent email to the Baroness, we said: ‘We believe that library users and supporters have a lot to contribute to any review of the service at national level, as well as whatever contribution they may make locally.
‘Their perspective will be different from most, if not all, of the library bodies and others who have in the past been part of this sort of panel / review.’
Baroness Sanderson is billed as ‘an experienced former journalist [for the Mail on Sunday] and government adviser [to TheresaMay] who joined the government benches in the House of Lords in 2019’.
Meanwhile, we must go by what she has so far said: ‘I’m thrilled to be taking up this new role.
‘Libraries play such an important part in our lives, be that instilling a love of reading in childhood or encouraging economic, social and mental wellbeing throughout adulthood and into old age.
‘Too often undervalued, they are one of the most critical forms of social infrastructure we have and I look forward to working alongside the experts, and listening to a wide range of voices, so that we may
help develop ideas as to how we may promote and protect our libraries into the future.’
The government claims there has only been one previous national strategy, in 2016. TLC would say there have been quite a few, under different names. If you want to check up on the 2016 version, it’s all
there in the back issues of our magazine: issue no 93, pp 8-9.

Does your library’s name or location in the UK (village, town or city, but not street) begin with the letters E, F, G or Welsh Ff or Ng? If so, you can ask the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, to visit you on his next library tour: March 20-25, 2023.
Simon plans to give free readings in libraries for one week each spring, ‘from the flagship libraries of the big cities to smaller or mobile libraries serving rural areas… from A to Z, wherever the invitations take me’.
His ten-year journey will involve local communities, poets, high school students and/or writers’ groups in activities around the visit and in the audience. Each visit will also be live-streamed for an online audience.
Simon adds: ‘I also want to find a way of including alphabet letters from other languages spoken in these islands such as Welsh, Urdu or Chinese, and to involve communities where English might not be the
first language.’ Ideas welcome.
He launched his tour in 2021 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (A to Z in one go, as librarians suggested!), with C-D in 2022.
Details: Deadline 19 August.

Of all the book prizes, the Booker remains the most prestigious media magnet. If you fancy a taste of this high life – and belong to a book group – read on…
The Reading Agency (TRA) is offering six reading groups the chance to review one of the six shortlisted titles. Two members get an expenses-paid trip to attend the shortlist announcement party. Two
more (chosen by the judges) will attend the final award party.
In between, each group will read one of the six shortlist books. They will be expected to share their views with the Booker Prize’s and The Reading Agency’s community of readers via social media and two
dedicated websites. They may be interviewed about their experience and photographed or filmed.
TRA will be looking for ‘the most interesting, passionate and wide-ranging set of readers possible, as well as those who will shout the loudest about this year’s shortlist on social media, to help
encourage even more people to pick up those books.’

You only have until 12 August to apply.

The 2002 Booker judges (L to R): Helen Castor, broadcaster, author and
historian; Alain Mabanckou, author; Neil MacGregor (chair), best known
as director of the National Gallery and the British Museum; M. John
Harrison, author; Shahidha Bari, broadcaster, author and university

On the ball as always, libraries have a load of resources to help the nation celebrate the lionesses’ football triumph.
Libraries Connected has been working with The Football Association and UEFA to produce a bumper downloadable resource pack with something for all ages.
It includes activities inspired by football fan objects such as rosettes, fanzines and banners. Plus, of course, a reading list – books that feature trailblazing sports people. Other activities tie in
with the themes of Refugee Week/City of Sanctuary, inspiring women, and football itself. Ideas cover all ages and abilities including some linked to Rhyme Time, or Knit and Natter.
Artist Deborah Goatley-Birch developed the pack with a charity for adults with learning disabilities, autism and other health conditions.
Truly something for everyone.

Libraries were acknowledged to be essential venues for this nationwide “festival” of arts and tech. That’s good. What it means in practice is yet to be seen. The idea is to tell local stories via a variety of media – with a legacy of useful training for library staff to draw on in future. Check here to see if there’s a venue near you…

After the beer and the bunting, there’s still a jubilee feast for book-lovers. The Reading Agency (TRA) has compiled a book list for each of the seven decades since 1952.
Each has a theme, with some emphasis on the Commonwealth (the Games start soon). Plus a list of much more general questions to discuss in relation to any book you (or your group) might choose to read.
Get it all here:
Starting on 14 June (7pm), TRA and Libraries Connected are hosting a series of author events, again with a Commonwealth theme. Of course, you can join in online.
Find out more and sign for more updates here:

Cost of living crisis? The government is coming up with increasingly exotic solutions – from right to buy to… er bringing back imperial measures.
So it’s just the right time to point out that what really helps people is commonsense, low-cost, well-established support systems such as – public libraries!
The library chiefs’ organisation, Libraries Connected, is not just relying on universal common sense. It has evidence. Its new report finds that already 44% of library leaders are seeing increased demand for services such as information on personal finance and budgeting, help reducing household bills and practical support accessing food and clothing.
Over a third (38%) have already introduced new services specifically to help people cope with the crisis. And over 80% expect to see more people using their libraries to keep warm next winter.
Download this very useful document.

National Crime Reading Month is off to a galloping start, with events all over the country at book festivals, bookshops and – of course – libraries.
And there’s three more weeks to go, with more in the pipeline… Check regularly at
This weekend – 10 to 12 June – there’s Alibis in the Archive:
something special at the beautiful Gladstone’s Library in North Wales.
And you can sit back and see the whole thing on Zoom.
Find out more at

Libraries are (of course) rallying round to help any Ukrainians who have managed to jump through all the Home office hoops and reach this country. And their hosts.
Libraries are (of course) the obvious first point of call for anyone who ever needs information, help and a friendly welcome.
So, well done Libraries Connected for producing a leaflet in Ukrainian that explains what public libraries offer. It’s fun to look at. There’s an English version as an essential back-up for most of us.
You can download both, free, to distribute at will, from

Come to think of it, plenty of people – not just “new arrivals”- don’t know about everything that libraries offer them. That includes regular library users.
A simple leaflet like this should be part of the stock-in-trade of every single library. For mass distribution…

Every June, the Crime Writers’ Association runs National Crime Reading Month (NCRM).
There’s plenty on offer – or how about organising your own crime event to profit from the national publicity?
You can sign up to a mailing list for organiser updates and news, and to download promotional tools including logos, posters and press release templates: For advice and ideas,
This year the CWA is collaborating with national reading charity The Reading Agency. Bestselling authors will work as regional ambassadors for NCRM. They include Steve Cavanagh, MW Craven, Elly Griffiths, Alis Hawkins, Anthony Horowitz, Vaseem Khan, Nadine Matheson, Louise Phillips, Ian
Rankin, LJ Ross, Robin Stevens and Sarah Ward. Events – including online, discussions, author visits to book clubs, and exhibitions are just some of the things being organised. Look for the #PickUpAPageTurner hashtag on social media.
Sam Blake says: “This is a fantastic project that I hope will demonstrate the full breadth of the crime genre and bring new readers to discover books and authors they haven’t read before. Crime isn’t
just police procedurals but includes Young Adult, mystery and thrillers, as well as books that have become celebrated films like Ian Fleming’s iconic Bond. We want everyone to #PickUpAPageTurner in June and try something new.”

The Library Campaign operates in England and Wales. But we cannot ignore what is going on in Ukraine. Kate Thompson, who was heavily involved in the defence of Tower  Hamlets libraries a couple of years ago, has written this blog about the role libraries are playing during the war in Ukraine.

Maybe you (or your library service) will be holding a fun event for World Book Night on 23 April. Find out more at
Meanwhile, anyone can join the launch event run by The Reading Agency. Held at the British Library with both an in person and online audience, it is hosted by Bobby Seagull, with special guests Dr Alex
George, Lemn Sissay, Ayisha Malik and Dreda Say Mitchell. They’ll be talking about the stories that have shaped their lives, and why they tell the stories they do.
Perfect both for enthusiastic readers, and for those starting their reading journey. Following the event, everyone is invited to join in the #ReadingHour:, spending 7-8pm dedicated to reading.

Find out more and get your tickets now:

10 million adults in the UK are digitally excluded.  Many found themselves cut off from essential services and social contact during the pandemic. Libraries helped in many ways…
There’s plenty more to do. Find out how one key agency –  the Good Things Foundation – is creating essential tools to support libraries in their vital digital inclusion work.
Helen Milner, Group CEO, will explain the Foundation’s National Databank and its Device Bank, which enables libraries to obtain free mobile connectivity library users who are experiencing data poverty.
Plus a whole new programme now being planned to help libraries develop powerful local partnerships to reach into communities.
Monday 4 April 12:30 – 13:30, online
Book your FREE place here

Billed as an ‘Opportunity Knocks webinar, this FREE webinar will look at some of the ‘levelling up’ concepts that might be good for libraries.
Thursday 24 March 13:00 – 14:00, online
The UK Shared Prosperity Fund has as its stated goal “to build pride in place and increase life chances across the UK”. This ‘placed based approach’, with its focus on enriching the lives of those who face disadvantage, is core to the work of public libraries. It could be a huge opportunity for library services, and for local
authorities to put libraries at the heart of their bids. This webinar is a chance to understand the process, and how library services could be a core part of local investment plans.
• Helen Barnard, Pro-Bono Economics and Joseph Rowntree Foundation
• Andrew Laird, Mutual Ventures
• Library service lead talking about their experience
Book your place here.

Schools and libraries are gearing up for World Book Day on March 3. This is a worldwide celebration aimed specifically at children. (Grown-ups get their own event on April 23 – World Book Night).

Already there is a mass of interesting videos on And new live digital events are slated for the coming week on February 28, March 2 and March 3. Find them here:

The WBD website is bursting with ideas and downloadable goodies. So many that is is quite a job to track them down. For anyone thinking of doing anything with children, any age, anytime, a good introduction is

Here at TLC, we’d love to see Friends groups making more use of resources like this. Many can be used any time of the year, not just during the designated “Day” or “Week”. Many are particularly good on
activity packs, with ideas for games to play and things to do. Have a look.

For starters we recommend
British Science Week (March 11-20)
Shakespeare Week (March 21-27)

How do you turn a solid plank into a damp squib? For one answer, turn to the government’s White Paper on levelling up. This enticing concept, remember, was the major plank of the government’s offer to “left behind” communities that have turned Tory. Enticing, but mysterious…  

After long, long delays a White Paper has come out. The main message is there’s no new money. This hasn’t gone down well. Attached to this a thumping great 330+ page report analysing the nation’s many problems. This has been better received. But how can its big ambitions be turned into action?

Libraries should be part of the solution. It won’t be easy, though, to dig out useful ideas from the welter of recycled one-off funds and schemes now on offer. 

Luckily, you don’t have to read it all yourself. Libraries Connected invites you to a FREE webinar, 1-2pm, 24 February, where experts will wrestle with questions such as:

•                    How do the White Paper’s “missions” resonate with the work of libraries?

•                    Is levelling up only for the north or will it be a set of principles for all areas of the country?

•                    What funding and development opportunities will there be?

•                    How can libraries get in on the action including at the regional level?

The speakers are:

·         Professor Michael Kenny, Bennett Institute Cambridge

·         Philip Clifford, Senior Adviser at LGA (devolution, place-based growth and international policy)

·         Paul Clifford, Head of Economic Development, Barnsley Council

Book your place here

The annual BookTrust Storytime Prize has been awarded to The Whales on the Bus (see what they did there?) by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt (Bloomsbury).
But this year’s award is different. The shortlist of six books was road-tested not by a judging panel but by families and librarians. All the libraries in England were given a set to read aloud. And 300 also
had a package of games and activities, tailor-made  for each book.
It’s all part of a major initiative to get young families into libraries. As a regular habit. And getting parents carers/confident about sharing books and stories.
BookTrust, the children’s reading charity, is re-framing its work to focus on “the families who need more help developing a reading habit”. Its own research shows that only 49% of families in poverty with children aged 0-5 are registered with a public library.
The Storytime programme will be expanded nationwide once the pilot is evaluated. Beth Southard, one of the team who piloted it in Norfolk libraries, said: “We’re really hoping we’ll increase our accessibility for some of the families that have been a bit harder to reach. We’re particularly interested in the idea of creating reading as a habit. “[The families] really enjoyed the content and the fact it’s a whole
package. It’s not just coming for stories and then going home. It feels like there’s a whole thing to unlock with it. That’s had people coming back each week.”
Local mother Savanah said: “We’ve really enjoyed BookTrust Storytime. It’s opened our eyes a little bit too. It doesn’t have to be a big, long, boring book. It can be short and sweet, but a lot of interaction
with colours and pictures and things. “It’s a really positive environment. The library team have been great. As we’ve got to know them, we come to a place where it’s really
comfortable and everyone is happy.”

FEBRUARY 4 is the deadline to nominate a ‘local service champion’ for UNISON’s promotion campaign.
We bet you know at least one in your library service…
UNISON says: ‘Local government has been an easy target for cuts, yet unlike the NHS people have been less likely to defend it.
‘People working in local services during the coronavirus pandemic have gone beyond the call of duty to keep the country going, yet their efforts have often been overlooked.
‘This isn’t right – UNISON aims to raise the profile of these unsung heroes and everything that they do.’
The campaign will end with a national ‘day of celebration’ in June.
Nomination form here:
Spread the message with: #Localservicechampions

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