News

Publishers begin "buddying" schemes

Random House and Bloomsbury have begun "buddying" programmes to support their local libraries and library authorities. More than 20 Random House staff have volunteered to be part of a pilot scheme pioneered by deputy group sales director Ed Christie and key accounts manager Kate Gunning.

Christie, who lives in Oxfordshire, has met with the county's principal librarian Liz Rooke to discuss ways in which the publisher can support libraries in the county, while other members of staff across the company have visited their own local libraries.

Christie said: "It's our own in-house initiative, but we've worked closely with the Reading Agency, which has put us in touch with particular librarians." He said the publisher was not selling to the libraries, instead helping them with more information and useful tools, such as children's activity packs and reading group recommendations.

"It's the first staging post in what we intend to be a long-running relationship," he said. "We believe in libraries . . . Our mantra is that book borrowers are book buyers, and libraries are the curators of books and evangelists for books."

Rooke said that although it was "early days" for the initiative, she thought it would be very useful in supporting libraries with events and reading group activities. "We're starting to see the benefits already," she said.

Meanwhile, Bloomsbury has begun partnering with the Kensington and Chelsea and East Sussex library services. Both are areas in which chief executive Nigel Newton has homes. Bloomsbury digital media director Stephanie Duncan said the point of the relationship was to focus on the needs of libraries, rather than the publisher"s priorities. "Nigel's idea was that instead of saying: 'We'll do an author event here because it's relevant to our schedule for this book', we'd focus on [libraries'] needs, and try to get authors to visit libraries when it suits them," she said.

Bloomsbury also plan to implement a "sustained series of events" year-round, as well as making posters and web assets—such as author interviews—available to libraries. Miranda McKearney, director of The Reading Agency, said it was working with the publishers on the experimental scheme: "This is part of a much wider action plan to build sustainable long-term relationships between publishers and librarians. With the Society of Chief Librarians, TRA is especially keen to ensure geographical equity, so that every community and library service benefits from new and closer ways of working with publishers," she said. "We are also keen to ensure that libraries benefit from working with a wide range of publishers, including independents."

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This is not what publishers ought to be doing. There is a major role for them to play in the problem of public libraries, but this is absolutely not it. Libraries need a budget for books and more books, before we spend time and money on author events to bookless, normally closed, libraries.

I agree Tim, lovely to get some extra events and publicity, but the central issues about library relevance to their local communities needs long term commitment and change.

The NUJ welcomes any initiative to prevent library closures and indeed improve library provision by local authorities. Well done Bloomsbury and Random House for this interesting idea.

We urge readers to use and promote their local library. If it is threatened with closure or reduction in opening hours, then assure library staff of your support, lobby the council, get involved with (or help set up!) a local group in support of the library, and link up with others opposing cuts to local services.

The Library Campaign, Voices for the Library, UK Library Watch, Public Libraries News all have useful websites. If any NUJ members are involved in this sort of work, please get in touch with us and update us on what is happening in your local area. We can put you in touch with other members working to save local libraries.

Recent successful campaigns include that in Oxfordshire where the council has withdrawn a proposal to close 23 of the county’s 43 libraries. Speech of Philip Pullman, author of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, to a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall:
http://www.philip-pullman.com/assets/pdf/OxfordshireLibraries.pdf

Bill MacKeith
NUJ Magazine and Book Industrial Council
bmackeith@btinternet.com

Website links for the NUJ comment above:

http://www.librarycampaign.com/Home
http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/
http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/

I am sorry to say that UK Library Watch appears to be no longer operational.

Ian Anstice
Public Libaries News

The library in my village in now on the danger list.
The Buddying scheme is not what is needed, however well meaning
Kristian Berggreen

Since its inception Poolfield Press, a small publishing house, has been donating a percentage of its books to its local libraries if they want them. We see this as a duty to promote reading and good literature amongst children and to institutions which have enormous benefit for the local population and which are,increasingly,under threat.

This is not what publishers ought to be doing. There is a major role for them to play in the problem of public libraries, but this is absolutely not it. Libraries need a budget for books and more books, before we spend time and money on author events to bookless, normally closed, libraries.

I agree Tim, lovely to get some extra events and publicity, but the central issues about library relevance to their local communities needs long term commitment and change.

The NUJ welcomes any initiative to prevent library closures and indeed improve library provision by local authorities. Well done Bloomsbury and Random House for this interesting idea.

We urge readers to use and promote their local library. If it is threatened with closure or reduction in opening hours, then assure library staff of your support, lobby the council, get involved with (or help set up!) a local group in support of the library, and link up with others opposing cuts to local services.

The Library Campaign, Voices for the Library, UK Library Watch, Public Libraries News all have useful websites. If any NUJ members are involved in this sort of work, please get in touch with us and update us on what is happening in your local area. We can put you in touch with other members working to save local libraries.

Recent successful campaigns include that in Oxfordshire where the council has withdrawn a proposal to close 23 of the county’s 43 libraries. Speech of Philip Pullman, author of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, to a public meeting in Oxford Town Hall:
http://www.philip-pullman.com/assets/pdf/OxfordshireLibraries.pdf

Bill MacKeith
NUJ Magazine and Book Industrial Council
bmackeith@btinternet.com

Website links for the NUJ comment above:

http://www.librarycampaign.com/Home
http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/
http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/

I am sorry to say that UK Library Watch appears to be no longer operational.

Ian Anstice
Public Libaries News

The library in my village in now on the danger list.
The Buddying scheme is not what is needed, however well meaning
Kristian Berggreen

Since its inception Poolfield Press, a small publishing house, has been donating a percentage of its books to its local libraries if they want them. We see this as a duty to promote reading and good literature amongst children and to institutions which have enormous benefit for the local population and which are,increasingly,under threat.