Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Life of Arthur Harding

The Bishopsgate Institute currently hosts a detailed online exhibition about the "life of the notorious East End criminal" Arthur Harding, based on Raphael Samuel's book East End Underworld.

The exhibition "charts Arthur Harding's life from birth until death, following the course of Arthur's life from his upbringing in The Nichol, through his involvement in the East End underworld of gangsters and criminals, to his eventual rehabilitation and marriage."


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crime Scene Edinburgh: Rankin and Rebus

The National Library of Scotland has organised a major exhibition around Ian Rankin's fictional Detective Inspector John Rebus. The exhibition explores the influences on Rankin, his life, and the character development of John Rebus as well as the seamier side of Edinburgh life, and the flourishing crime-writing scene in Scotland.
More details from the BBC:

The Exhibition lasts from Wednesday 24 October 2007 to Sunday 13 January 2008 and is in the Library's George IV Bridge Building.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Cuts in Library Services

The closure of public libraries continues, with proposals to axe five libraries recently rubber-stamped by Dudley Council, which claims that the cash saved will be used to update library services elsewhere. Campaigners against the closures have already collected over 700 names on a petition protesting against the closures, which will leave many families having to travel up to 8 miles to use a library.
full details in the expressandstar.com


Meanwhile the Dorset Echo reports that six parish councils are offering to top up opening hours in their local libraries. Opening hours have been reduced in all 34 Dorset libraries including the main libraires in Dorchester and Weymouth as an alternative to closing up to 13 libraries. The six parishes will be asked to find over £1,000 for one extra hour per week fora year.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

British Library 19th Century Digitisation Programme

The British Library is to scan more than 100,000 19th century books at the rate of 50,000 pages every working day for two years as part of a project to improve access.


[thanks to Library Link of the Day]

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

School Libraries in Crisis

If anyone has doubts about the level of commitment made to Libraries by successive governments they need look no further than the current Bookstart survey that found School Libraries under-funded, poorly staffed, and poorly supported by teaching staff.
"In primary schools lack of dedicated and trained librarians means that libraries are often closed, while in secondary school, where nearly six out of 10 schools have a trained librarian, the spending on books is so low that pupils are often put off."

Part of the problem goes back to the privatisation of the Thatcher and Major government's when Public Library support for School Libraries was effectively dismantled in many areas, but New Labour have had ten years to do something to correct the problem but have only exacerbated the problem. The decline in public libraries will not be reversed until schools encourage children to use both school and public libraries. If a school failed to provide computers for use they would be castigated, yet local authorities and central government have both failed to support school libraries - oblivious of the damage they are causing to children's education. Details are not yet published on the Bookstart website but here is the article in today's Guardian:

The research was carried out by the Book Trust and is available on their website: