Tag Archives: United Kingdom

In a country like Britain, obsessed with the now, libraries are a political battleground

“Relative to our basic understanding of what a city’s main library ought to provide, it seems mind-boggling: 240,000 works of non-fiction, quietly taken from the shelves, and either given to other institutions or handed to a local company which “buy, recycle and find a second life” for old library stock – a polite formulation for a process that often results in books simply being pulped. The people in charge reckon the breadth and depth of their collection remains “good across all subject areas”, whatever that means. Horrified campaigners say what they have done is “morally reprehensible” (via The Guardian)

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ProQuest Digitizes the Early 20th Century’s Most Influential British Magazines

“ProQuest is improving outcomes for researchers of British politics, news, culture and society by boosting the availability of digital primary sources from the first half of the 20th century. Its new British Periodicals Collection III digitizes the archives of the most important magazines of the period – all highly influential in their mix of news, politics, art, photography, literature and satire – and extends the scope of the popular British Periodicals program. The collection enriches context-based exploration of important attitudes, events and movements, such as empire and decolonization, first-wave feminism, and consumer society. British Periodicals Collection III is part of ProQuest’s massive global digitization program that’s rescuing rare, important and fragile print works and making their contents available to researchers.” (via Proquest)

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The great British library betrayal: Closures bring national network to brink of ‘absolute disaster’, reveals official inquiry

“Library services are on the brink of disaster and can only be saved if they become more like coffee shops with wi-fi, sofas and hot drinks, a report will recommend on Thursday. A combination of funding cuts and declining attendance threatens the viability of the library network unless urgent action is taken, according to the Independent Library Report for England, which was commissioned by the Government. “We’re at a critical moment for the libraries and if we’re not careful we could lose so many,” William Sieghart, who wrote the report, told The Independent. “I and a lot of people think it would be an absolute disaster.” (via The Independent)

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Campaign to free our history – reform copyright

“During the First World War Centenary, a collection of leading museums, libraries and cultural organisations have launched a campaign to provide greater access to important historical works through copyright law reform. Display cases in the Imperial War Museum, National Library of Scotland and University of Leeds sit empty. They should contain letters from the First World War; from a young girl to her father serving as a soldier and from soldiers to their families back home. Because of current UK copyright laws the original letters cannot be displayed. At the moment the duration of copyright in certain unpublished works is to the end of the year 2039, regardless how old the work is. The Free Our History campaign wants the term of copyright protection in unpublished texts to be reduced to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years.” (via CILIP)

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Libraries see surge in erotic book borrowing

“The borrowing of erotic fiction from UK public libraries has leapt by 500% over the past 12 months, in what is being called the “Fifty Shades” effect. Last year’s most popular erotic fiction title, Indigo Bloom’s Destined to Feel, was borrowed almost 11,700 times. The surge is attributed to EL James’ bestselling novel, which took third place in the most borrowed titles list.” (via BBC News)

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