Hundreds of libraries are closing across the UK, but in Southwark, London, there is a new one, see

The opening of this new library, at a cost of £14.1m, is at the heart of Southwark Council’s investment in the libraries service, which is being protected despite cuts in central government funding.

In a first for London, visitors to the library will not only get their fix of some 40,000 books, music CDs & films but will also be able to:

  • Enjoy day and night time theatre performances, run by the Albany , Deptford’s renowned performing arts venue, in the 150 seater theatre and culture space.
  • Have a coffee at the Waters Edge Café on the ground floor
  • Attend meetings at the same theatre space which converts into an open floor area of 150 m².
  • Take in an early evening class in one of the three separate learning spaces
  • Log on to free internet at one of the library’s 79 computers
  • Use the tube station whose exit and entrance is incorporated into the building, checking real time train times on the library plasma screens
  • Access council services such as benefits and council tax help, from January
  • Take in amazing views of the historic Canada Water basin, which it overhangs

The library’s wi-fi network, with nearly 30 laptops available for hire, reflects the growing trend towards the ‘library as living room’ ethos. Across Southwark’s libraries members currently clock up more than 10,000 hours of internet use each month on their wi-fi network alone.

Cllr Veronica Ward, cabinet member for culture, leisure, sport and the Olympics at Southwark Council, said:

“I’m so proud to be unveiling this amazing building. It’s an incredible, breath-taking use of space, both inside and out, and has all that you could need under one roof. You could find yourself learning in the morning, listening to a poetry performance at lunchtime, studying in the afternoon, watching first class theatre at night, and then relaxing in the cafe after that.

We’re definitely leading the way in London with our libraries - first the iconic Peckham Library, then our refit of John Harvard Library resulting in visitor number records beaten, and next year two more brand new libraries for the borough.

And now with this new ‘super’ library, we aim to put Southwark on the map as a forward-thinking, pioneering borough with libraries right at our heart.”

ISPs to police your downloads

If you are with Telstra Bigpond, iiNet, Optus, iPrimus or Internode, it is maybe time to look for a new ISP, see:

“Communications Alliance and five of Australia’s largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) today unveiled a ground-breaking proposed scheme to combat the growing problem of online copyright infringement.

The scheme is designed to encourage a sustained and positive change in the behaviour of internet users who engage in online activity that may be an infringement of copyright laws and potentially illegal under the Copyright Act 1968, typically via peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing or unauthorised content downloads.”

Essentially it’s three warnings and then we inform on you to or some other litigious entity.

We shall how the scheme develops, if it does commence.

How do you search?

Are you getting the most out of your searching? Mashable points out a few things that librarians have been telling their information literacy students for years on how to find what you really want, using the search giant Google as its search platform of choice. Need to find that needle in a haystack? You’re on!

How to use Google search more effectively via Mashable

Yes, of course I donated, who ever sees Jimmy Wales face and doesn’t donate, why they’d be a monster.

From Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales
Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff.Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views.Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn’t belong here. Not in Wikipedia.Wikipedia is something special. It is like a library or a public park. It is like a temple for the mind. It is a place we can all go to think, to learn, to share our knowledge with others.

When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.

If everyone reading this donated $10, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.

This year, please consider making a donation of $10, $20, $30 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.


Jimmy Wales
Wikipedia Founder

Yes Jimmy, Wikipedia is like a library except in your version, you can rewrite the books to make them better. How good is that. Of course unlike a library, you can’t sit in it, and get the benefit of its people, and feel its warmth in the winter and its cool in the summer, or any of the other myriad good things of a physical space. But, go donate anyway at

Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart

The newly opened Mailänder Platz branch of the Stadtbibliothek Stuttgart is a wonder to behold. From the outside, some have described it as a jail, the stark exterior barely hinting at the treasures that lie within. On the inside, the endless stairs, and just a glimpse of sky above, might have you agreeing with the jail analogy.

Endless stairs inside the bibliothek

Endless stairs inside the bibliothek, via The Coolist

But look closer, and you’ll soon see that this space is more than the sum of its utilitarian parts. A modern white interior plays backdrop to the colourful spines of thousands of books, couches on every level beckon you to sit and read, and there’s plenty of space for the kids and to listen to music.

Just add people and books and what a difference!

Just add people and books and what a difference! Image via The Coolist

You can take a virtual look around the new space via one of Oliver Wendel‘s amazing panoramas of the main library space and the “heart” of the building, and get a sense of the excitement of opening night via the library’s Flickr set or  in Karl-Stefan Röser‘s video.


No firm plan then

The recommendations from the newly released final report of the Re-conceptualising and re-positioning Australian library and information science education for the twenty-first century project:

Recommendation 1: It is recommended that a broader and more inclusive vocabulary be adopted that both recognises and celebrates the expanding landscape of the field, for example ‘information profession‘, ‘information sector‘, ‘information discipline‘ and ‘information education‘.
Recommendation 2: It is recommended that a self-directed body composed of information educators be established to promote, support and lead excellence in teaching and research within the information discipline.
Recommendation 3: It is recommended that Australia‘s information discipline continue to develop excellence in information research that will raise the discipline‘s profile and contribute to its prominence within the national and international arena.
Recommendation 4: It is recommended that further research examining the nature and context of Australia‘s information education programs be undertaken to ensure a sustainable and relevant future for the discipline.
Recommendation 5: It is recommended that further research examining the pathways and qualifications available for entry into the Australian information sector be undertaken to ensure relevance, attractiveness, accessibility and transparency.
Recommendation 6: It is recommended that strategies are developed and implemented to ensure the sustainability of the workforce of information educators.
Recommendation 7: It is recommended that a national approach to promoting and marketing the information profession and thereby attracting more students to the field is developed.
Recommendation 8: It is recommended that Australia‘s information discipline
continues to support a culture of quality teaching and learning, especially given the need to accommodate a focus on the broader information landscape and more flexible delivery options.
Recommendation 9: It is recommended that strategies are developed that will support and encourage collaboration between information education within the higher education and VET sectors.
Recommendation 10: It is recommended that strategies and forums are developed that will support the information sector working together to conceptualise and articulate their professional identity and educational needs.
Recommendation 11: It is recommended that a research agenda be established that will identify and prioritise areas in which further development or work is needed to continue advancing information education in Australia.

Book Industry Strategy Group report

The Book Industry Strategy Group final report came out yesterday. It is interesting reading, libraries are mentioned many times and there are a number of issues facing book sellers that are synonymous with libraries.

Public libraries, physical depositories of books, journals,
magazines and newspapers were essential elements in
community education, especially self-education, for three
centuries, places where readers were exposed to chance
encounters with unfamiliar material and the assistance of
helpful librarians. But the very concept of a public library is
currently under threat and may appear to some readers as
remote as the medieval monastery, especially when they
can access the contents of the Library of Congress from
their iPads. The Fisher Library of the University of Sydney
plans to eliminate 500,000 books from its collection. The
University of New South Wales Library is converting library
space to lounges, which are more friendly to people using
ereaders. It is difficult to imagine any government in 2011
committing large sums to the construction of new libraries.

Belated news, while there have been street libraries set up by Occupy protestors worldwide (see earlier posts) and librarians have been much in support. The Occupy Melbourne protestors briefly occupied the lawns of the State Library of Victoria until they were evicted according to this story.

Nice to see libraries standing up for property rights.

According to this story the “The Library said it welcomed free speech and would permit daytime protests, but would not tolerate a permanent occupation.”

New Library in Geelong

News from Geelong

Geelong Regional Library chief executive Patti Manolis said libraries were moving with the times from collection-based facilities to a multi-purpose spaces.

The Waurn Ponds Library was designed to meet the needs of both the traditional and modern library users, with computers, internet access, e-readers, iPads and yes, books.

 “We really feel that it’s our role to provide an educative time for the community to be able to transition to this new world of books,” Ms Manolis said.

“Libraries will always be there it’s just that the formats are going to be changing now to an electronic base.

“But what we’re able to do with 1000 square metres here is to be able to provide something for everybody.”

While many people still preferred the traditional “dead tree” books that have lined library shelves for centuries, Ms Manolis said communities were turning to the digital reading revolution.


I believe Geelong was one of the major towns to lose its A&R and Borders bookshops, luckily there is this new library.

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The Australian goes behind a paywall

The Australian newspaper begins a new chapter, as it moves much of its commentary and opinion behind a paywall. This is another part of News Limted’s worldwide plans to monetarise its news content on the Internet as well as on tablets and phones.

As well as beginning charging for its online content, News Limited has also been actively pressuring governments to restrict the provision of news by national media vendors such as the BBC and ABC. This was successful in the UK (prior to the phone hacking scandal) but given News Limited’s current war with the Labor government, won’t work here. If Labor is defeated however, the ABC can expect major cuts to its online budget.

For the moment the Australian’s main competitors remain ABC online and Fairfax newspapers and websites (SMH, The Age).

While The Australian doesn’t have a monopoly of news or opinion, it is attempting to value-add by making its product as more usable and accessible by designing interfaces for each platform you may view it on.

The free subscription offer starting now runs for three months, in that time subscribers will be able judge whether there is enough value outside of free content to make paying $2.95 a week worthwhile.

The Australian newspaper log in image