Manifesto for Libraries for the General Election 2017

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The Speak Up for Libraries alliance is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in the General Election.

 

Support for libraries overdue

 

The election offers us another chance to make sure central government understands that libraries are a low-cost, essential council resource for all communities. They are vital to national agendas such as ‘Digital by Default’. And they are deeply valued by local residents and the nation as a whole.

Already, many library services are threatened by, or experiencing, deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning them over to volunteers to run.

Yet the Government continues to cut the grants given to local authorities. Local councils currently face an estimated overall funding gap of £5.8bn by 2019/20. Although libraries are a statutory service, they are often seen as a soft target for cuts. Such cuts often save little but do great damage.

If people wait another five years, their own library could go. Nationally, a postcode lottery is a reality with only some communities benefitting from the presence of a council funded and professionally run library.

Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to reading, learning, information and leisure.

Libraries are, or should be, a trusted public space for everyone.

They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combatting the digital divide.

Speak Up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking the government to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

 

Support for libraries overdue



Speak Up for Libraries is asking MPs to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election:

  • Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service.

  • Enforce the commitment in law for local authorities to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.

  • Acknowledge that libraries are important to individuals and communities – especially in times of hardship.

  • Enforce the duty that local authorities have to properly consult with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.

  • Ensure that local authorities receive sufficient funding in order to deliver properly resourced and staffed library services.

  • Recognise that properly resourced library services contribute to the health and well-being of local communities and of society as a whole and therefore complement the work of other public services and of national government agendas.

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Download a copy of the manifesto here: SUFL – GENERAL ELECTION 2017 manifesto

 

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NOTES:

Speak Up for Libraries is an alliance of individual campaigners and national organisations: Elizabeth Ash, Alan Gibbons (Campaign for the Book), The Library Campaign, UNISON and Voices for the Library.

Decisions on policy and funding for public libraries in the devolved countries (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are made by their own assemblies/parliaments. Therefore, those seeking election to Westminster will have no say on library provision in their own countries.


Library closures:

  • Since 1st April 2016, Public Libraries News report that 134 static libraries and 7 mobile libraries are under threat of closure/handed to volunteers.
  • Public Library Statistics produced by CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) show that the number of public libraries in the UK has fallen from 4482 in 2009/10 to 3850 in 2015/16 (a drop of 632).
  • Statistics compiled by the BBC in 2016 show that the number of paid staff in libraries fell from 31,977 in 2010 to 24,044 now, a drop of 7.933 (25%) for the 182 library authorities that provided comparable data.



Local government funding and expenditure:

In a press release issued by the Local Government Association (LGA) responding to the final Local Government Finance Settlement published on 20/02/2017, Chairman of the Local Government Association, Lord Porter, is quoted as saying:

“Councils face an overall £5.8 billion funding gap by 2020. This will push councils perilously close to the financial edge over the next few years and force them all to make significant reductions to the local services communities rely on, including filling potholes, collecting waste, maintaining our parks and green spaces and running children’s centres, leisure centres and libraries, to plug growing funding gaps.”

 

Support for libraries overdue

Website www.speakupforlibraries.org
Twitter @SpeakUp4Libs
Facebook www.facebook.com/SpeakUpForLibraries

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Save the date – Speak Up for Libraries Conference returns early in 2017

Following the success of the conferences in 20122013, 2014 and 2015, plus the Libraries lobby in 2016, Speak Up for Libraries is planning to hold another national conference on Saturday 18 February 2017.

Save the date - 2017 Conf

This will be held in a central London location with good transport links.

Speakers, details of venue and a full programme will be announced shortly, so put the date in your diaries and watch this space.

This is an event open to anyone interested in libraries including library users, library workers and those who campaign for libraries.

Speak Up for Libraries Conference - 2013
Speak Up for Libraries Conference – 2013
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Speak Up for Libraries update

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An update

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CILIP’s new Action Plan 2016-2020 sets the objective of securing the interests of all libraries in national policy through a series of campaigns beginning in 2015 with My Library By Right.

In delivering this policy objective, CILIP has decided to work in parallel with the SUFL coalition to pursue their respective interests rather than as a partner. This will enable both CILIP and SUFL to work independently, able to harness effectively our differing perspectives and approaches to campaigning to the benefit of users.

CILIP acknowledges the great contribution that the other partners in the coalition have and are making to ensuring the future of our public library service.

Speak Up For Libraries has appreciated CILIP’s participation and assistance since the coalition was established in 2012. It has been important that the professional body for library staff has supported the campaign and helped to run our conferences and other events. The ‘My Library By Right’ campaign is a sign that CILIP will still be campaigning on the issues affecting libraries.

SUFL respects CILIP’s decision on how to use their resources in the future. SUFL will continue to campaign around our founding principles and we hope to work with CILIP when the occasion arises. However the urgency surrounding cuts in public library services is unabated and SUFL will do what we all we can to support users and staff of those libraries hit by such cuts and to make the case for a properly funded public library service accountable and run at local level.

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If you are not currently in touch with Speak Up for Libraries, join us on social media and email us to be added to the mailing list for future events and updates.

 

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Speak Up For Libraries is a coalition of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff, now and in the future.

Website: www.speakupforlibraries.org

Twitter: @SpeakUp4Libs

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SpeakUpForLibraries

Eventbrite: http://sufl.eventbrite.com

Email: SpeakUp4Libraries@gmail.com

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Manifesto for Libraries for the General Election 2015

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The Speak up for Libraries alliance is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in the General Election – and local elections.

 

Support for libraries overdue

 

 

Already, many library services are threatened by, or already experiencing, deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning them over to volunteers to run.

This is a once-in-five-years chance to make sure central government understands that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for the work of local councils, and for national agendas such as ‘Digital by Default’ – and deeply valued by local residents and the nation as a whole.

Yet the Government continues to cut the grants given to local authorities, meaning that although libraries are a statutory service, they are often seen as a soft target for savings. Such cuts often save little, but do great damage.

If people wait another five years, their own library could go.

Nationally a postcode lottery will become a reality, with only some communities benefiting from the presence of a council funded and professionally run library.

Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to learning, reading, information and enjoyment.

Libraries are, or should be, a trusted public space for everyone.

They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combating the digital divide.

Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking the government to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

 

Support for libraries overdue



Speak up for Libraries is asking MPs to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election:

  • Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service.

  • Enforce the commitment in law for local authorities to provide a ‘comprehensive and efficient’ library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services.

  • Acknowledge that libraries are important to individuals and communities – especially in times of hardship.

  • Enforce the duty that local authorities have to properly consult with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.

  • Ensure that local authorities receive sufficient funding in order to deliver properly resourced and staffed library services.

  • Recognise that properly resourced library services contribute to the health and well-being of local communities and of society as  a whole and therefore complement the work of other public services and of national government agendas.

SUFL colour banner PNG

 

Download a copy of the manifesto here: SUFL – GENERAL ELECTION 2015 manifesto

 

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NOTES:

2015 Elections – This year there will be a General Election on 7 May; on the same day in England direct elections are to be held in all 36 metropolitan boroughs, 194 second-tier districts, 49 unitary authorities, as well as for various mayoral posts.

Decisions on policy and funding for public libraries in the devolved countries (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) are made by their own assemblies/parliaments. Therefore those seeking election to Westminster will have no say on library provision in their own countries.

Library closures:

– Statistics produced by CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) show that in the five years up to April 2014, 330 public libraries (including mobile libraries) have been closed.

– Since April 2014, Public Library News reports that 233 static libraries have been put under threat of closure/passing to volunteers. 8 mobile libraries under threat. 11 libraries (3 static and 8 mobile) libraries closed, 9 libraries passed to volunteers. 1 entirely new volunteer-run library. http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com

Local government funding and expenditure:

– There was a 33% real term cut to government funding of local government in England between 2011- 2015 (Comprehensive Spending Review 20112-2015)

– A further 10% cut to Government’s Core Funding of local government in England planned in 2015/2016 (Spending Review 2016-2016)

– Additional funding cuts are widely expected in 2016-2018

In a press release issued by the Local Government Association on announcement of the 2015/2016 Spending review, Sir Merrick Cockell, Local Government Association Chairman, is quoted as saying:, “… the fact remains that some councils will simply not have enough money to meet all their statutory responsibilities. Services such as culture and leisure facilities, school support, road maintenance and growth-related programmes will bear the brunt of these cuts.”
http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/4044082/NEWS

Support for libraries overdue

Website www.speakupforlibraries.org
Twitter @SpeakUp4Libs
Facebook www.facebook.com/SpeakUpForLibraries

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2014 Speak up for Libraries conference date announced.

After the success of their 2013 conference Speak up for Libraries are planning to hold another one on Saturday 22/11/14. The venue will be CILIP HQ in Central London.

Speakers and a full programme will be announced shortly, so put the date in your diaries and watch this space.

Speak Up for Libraries Conference - 2013
Speak Up for Libraries Conference – 2013
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Local elections – Speak Up For Libraries!

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The Speak Up for Libraries alliance is urging people everywhere to make public libraries a central issue in local elections.

This is a once-in-four-years chance to make sure local councils understand that libraries are a low-cost, essential resource for their work – and deeply valued by local residents.

Already, many library services are threatened by deep cuts, widespread closures of vital local branches – or the damaging policy of turning branches over to be run by volunteers.

Yet the unprecedented cuts to government grant that local authorities are facing mean that libraries, despite being a statutory service that councils must provide, are once more in danger of being seen as soft targets for savings. Such cuts often save little but do great damage.

If people wait another four years, their own library could go. Nationally a postcode lottery will become a reality with only some communities benefiting from the presence of a professionally run library.

Libraries remain the lynchpin of communities, offering access to learning, reading, information and enjoyment.

Libraries are a trusted public space, a place for everyone.

They play a crucial role in improving literacy standards and in combating the digital divide.

Speak up for Libraries believes that libraries, far from being obsolete, are more important than ever. That is why we are asking local politicians, and the government, to make a public commitment to their survival and development.

Speak up for Libraries is asking local councillors to sign up to the following manifesto when standing for election;

  • Acknowledge that libraries are important to people – especially when times are hard for individuals and communities.
  • Give a commitment to engage with communities to design services that meet their needs and aspirations.
  • Ensure library services are properly resourced and staffed.
  • A commitment to a service that is publicly funded, managed and run by paid professional staff.
  • Recognise that properly funded library services contribute to the health and well-being of communities and so complement the work of other public services

And lobby the Government to:

  • Give libraries a long-term future, with a vision for their future development and clear standards of service
  • Enforce the commitment in law to provide a “comprehensive and efficient” library service. This commitment should also include digital, ICT and e-book services

-ends-

Notes:

  • Speak Up For Libraries is an alliance of individual campaigners and national organisations: Elizabeth Ash, Campaign for the Book, CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals), The Library Campaign, Unison, Voices for the Library.
  • Local Elections – This year there will be Council elections on 22 May for the London Boroughs (32), all Metropolitan Boroughs (36) and a number of unitary authorities (20). There are no local elections in Scotland or Wales or for County Councils in England. The local elections in District Councils are not relevant as they are not responsible for public library services
  • Library closures:

– Public Library Statistics produced by CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) show that there was a net loss of 212 libraries or mobile libraries in the UK in 2011/12 and 71 libraries (including mobile libraries) in 2012/13.

– Public Library News estimate that in 2013/14 493 libraries (including mobile libraries) in the UK were closed, or planned to be closed, or became community managed libraries managed by volunteers.

– Since April 2014, Public Library News report that 78 libraries (including mobile libraries) are threatened with closure and 5 libraries to become community managed libraries run by volunteers

http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com

  • Local government funding and expenditure:

– There was a 33% real term cut to government funding of local government in England between 2011-2015 (Comprehensive Spending Review 20112-2015)

– A further 10% cut to Government’s Core Funding of local government in England planned in 2015/2016 (Spending Review 2016-2016)

– Additional funding cuts are widely expected in 2016-2018

In a press release issued by the Local Government Association on announcement of the 2015/2016 Spending review, Sir Merrick Cockell, Local Government Association Chairman is quoted as saying:

“,,,the fact remains that some councils will simply not have enough money to meet all their statutory responsibilities. Services such as culture and leisure facilities, school support, road maintenance and growth-related programmes will bear the brunt of these cuts”

http://www.local.gov.uk/web/guest/media-releases/-/journal_content/56/10180/4044082/NEWS

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Speak Up For Libraries supports National Libraries Day

The Speak Up For Libraries coalition is encouraging all library supporters and campaigners to get involved with National Libraries Day on Saturday 8 February 2014. The day is becoming established as one where libraries can be celebrated and their achievements given as much publicity as possible. We want anyone who believes in their library service to go along to local events or, if necessary, organise something to spread the good word about libraries.

The financial situation for libraries of all sorts is grim at present so National Libraries Day is a way of reminding politicians and voters how important libraries are and why they need to be protected and indeed developed.

Go to http://www.nationallibrariesday.org.uk/ to find out more and in particular what is happening in your area. Or ask at your local library.

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2013 SUFL Conference Outcomes

The 2013 Speak Up For Libraries conference was a very positive and productive day. A number of workshops were held to get a sense of what library supporters need to help protect the public library service.

The workshops also served the purpose of helping to direct the future work of the Speak Up For Libraries coalition.

Download the workshop feedback

What help do library campaigners need

  • A central (online?) information point where campaigners et al can go to for data, legislation, reports, good practice etc is needed. Needs to be kept up to date.
  • A centralised list of groups and campaigns involved in protecting the public library. More networking between groups and sharing of experiences, advice, strategies etc.
  • We need a full time person to co-ordinate resources and a national campaign.
  • There is an urgent need to make Councillors, Senior Officers and politicians more aware of what libraries do and what they can achieve. There is a need for more joined up thinking in local and central government, linking libraries in with other strategies.
  • There is an urgent need for a clearer leadership structure within the public library sector and a desperate need for enforceable standards.
  • More emphasis on positive stories and more evidence about the socio-economic impact of libraries is needed.
  • Targeted promotion of library services locally and nationally especially to non-users. Prioritise outreach. Use social media more to reach targeted audiences.

the panel 2013

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High profile speakers complete Speak Up For Libraries conference line-up

High profile speakers complete Speak Up For Libraries conference line-up

A range of influential figures from the most important organisations in public library services have confirmed as speakers at the Speak Up For Libraries conference, which takes place on 23 November in London.

The speakers are:

  • Yinnon Ezra, Advisor for Libraries at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS)
  • Brian Ashley, Director, Libraries at Arts Council England (ACE)
  • Janene Cox, President, The Society of Chief Librarians (SCL)
  • Alan Gibbons, author and founder of Campaign for the Book
  • Phil Bradley, President, the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP)
  • Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government, UNISON
  • Steve Davies, Lecturer in Social Sciences, University of Cardiff

The conference aims to support those that care about their libraries – including library users, campaigners and staff – to understand more about the challenges facing libraries, what can be done and to set a national agenda.

Delegates will have the chance to hear what experts think the future of public libraries looks like, to discuss what local campaigns need and ask speakers their questions.

The Speak Up For Libraries conference takes place on Saturday 23 November in central London. Event details and booking: https://speakupforlibraries.eventbrite.co.uk/

Speak Up For Libraries is a coalition of organisations and campaigners working to protect libraries and library staff, now and in the future. Speak Up For Libraries partners include The Campaign for the Book, CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, The Library Campaign, UNISON and Voices for the Library.

NB – If you want to pass on information to those not online, you can find our booking form on the resources page

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