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Posts tagged United Kingdom

UK prison book ban (that wasn’t) withdrawn
January 24, 2015 | 2:46 pm

GraylingThe notorious policy introduced by UK Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary of restricting access to books for prisoners in England has been withdrawn after December's court decision that it was unlawful - despite the insistence by its instigator that there never was such a policy in the first place. But not before Grayling's department spent £72,000 trying to defend it, a recent report revealed. Frances Crook, CEO of the Howard League for Penal Reform, which co-led the Books for Prisoners campaign against the ban, described this to the UK Independent as: “a scandalous waste of public money." At the time of the original...

Where publishers ought to be behind libraries
January 20, 2015 | 12:25 pm

bookshelves-at-the-libraryAs a recent, rather vexed, letter to the UK Guardian points out, publishers and booksellers facing an apparent decline in appetite for the printed word ought also to be looking to their libraries - and supporting them more. Because it's a no-brainer to conclude that the more libraries are buying books, the more robust and healthy the book trade will be. In the context of a recent article in The Bookseller on apparent declining sales for adult print fiction in the UK, the letter writer, a Ralph Gee of Nottingham, asks: Has the editor of The Bookseller compared the fall of print sales...

Lib Dems make late, paltry promise to tackle UK’s obscene illiteracy levels
January 20, 2015 | 10:25 am

Clegg The UK Liberal Democrats, coalition partner and fellow-traveler with the current Conservative-led government, have made a public commitment "to end child illiteracy by 2025," according to a weekend announcement by party leader Nick Clegg. "The plans mean that every child born in 2014, who will leave primary school in 2025 will be able to read and write at a standard identified to lead to success in secondary school and beyond," the announcement claims. "Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, the Liberal Democrats have a clear plan to protect the education budget from cradle to college." There's already considerable skepticism abroad over the details, the...

Lincolnshire County Council goes outlaw in bid to eradicate Lincolnshire public libraries
January 19, 2015 | 12:25 pm

Lincolshire County Council appears to be acting in clear contravention of UK law in persisting with its plan to close many of the county's libraries. At least if the statement on the Save Lincolnshire Libraries website is anything to go by. Entitled "Astonishing Misuse of Public Money and Political Power," it reads: Lincolnshire County Council has published plans to implement its unlawful decision of December 2013 to close thirty libraries unless volunteers take them over. This not only ignores the High Court judgement of July 2014 that quashed this decision but also the Localism Act which gives charities and social enterprises...

TalkTalk picks up Blinkbox from Tesco: Hudl tablet safe for now
January 9, 2015 | 10:25 am

tescologoUK ISP and media player TalkTalk Group has announced the acquisition of "the blinkbox Movies business and the Tesco broadband and fixed line voice base from Tesco Plc." And UK supermarket major Tesco, as many will remember, has won recognition for its own Hudl tablet brand, now expanded with its successor the Hudl 2. Mid-2014 Tesco also launched the Blinkbox Books ebook platform, which is not mentioned in the TalkTalk press release, but further statements by TalkTalk to The Bookseller indicate that Blinkbox Books, as well as the allied music service, remain ... ahem ... on Tesco's books. Tesco also confirmed...

UK government responds to Sieghart library report, meets skepticism
December 23, 2014 | 6:25 pm

public lending rightFollowing the release of the Sieghart report on the UK library system, in full the "Independent Library Report for England," the current UK government has announced its official response. As reported in The Bookseller, Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, has welcomed the report and agreed to the implementation of the libraries task force recommended in William Sieghart's review. Despite a few optimistic headlines here and there, such as Michael Kozlowski's claim over on Good E-Reader that "UK Libraries to Undergo a Renaissance in 2015," Vaizey's comments have been greeted with profound skepticism in many quarters. Despite his statement that "I...

UK prison books crackdown overturned, Grayling disgraced
December 6, 2014 | 4:25 pm

GraylingThe widely castigated UK government policy of imposing heavy restrictions on prisoner access to books, as part of an Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme, has been ruled unlawful by the UK High Court, in a humiliating defeat for Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor Chris Grayling,  In his ruling, Mr Justice Collins said “I see no good reason in the light of the importance of books for prisoners to restrict beyond what is required by volumetric control and reasonable measures relating to the frequency of parcels and security considerations," and that he did not "regard access through the [prison] library services as sufficient.” “The...

Book review: The Loney, by Andrew Michael Hurley, Tartarus Press
December 4, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Tartarus Press is becoming one of the most diverse as well as the most accomplished and fastidious independent UK presses devoted to horror and dark fiction, and The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley is absolutely off their ordinary beat and all the more striking for it. Instead of the society and theatrical pieces of Reggie Oliver, or the decadent horrors of Mark Samuels, we have the grim, bleak realm of poor man's English Roman Catholicism, and a chilling coastal setting in the remote Lancastrian preserve of the title - "a dangerous place. A wild and useless lenght of English coastline. A dead...

UK libraries protest copyright restrictions with empty spaces
December 1, 2014 | 12:25 pm

copyrightThe Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals and other libraries and library associations in the UK are in the midst of a campaign to move unpublished individual works to the current copyright regime of the author's life plus 70 years, instead of the British "Orphan Works" category, which restricts their exhibition until 2039. And they have now moved their campaign from petitions to displays with empty spaces to make the point. CILIP explains: Up to 50% of archival records in the UK are ‘orphan works’. This is when the rights holder cannot be identified and/or traced. The Imperial War Museum has an...

Amazon adds UK post offices to bricks-and-mortar footprint
November 27, 2014 | 4:42 pm

British Booksellers AssociationAmazon has just expanded its distribution and delivery network in the UK by partnering with the Royal Mail to deliver Amazon packages to British post offices - an arrangement that observers say could help to support the ailing UK postal service, already under attack from private sector competitors in the parcels and door-to-door delivery space. The UK post office network, spun off from the delivery network in April 2012 as Post Office Ltd., gives Amazon around 10,500 new points of presence across the country, "taking the total number of Amazon pickup points across the UK to more than 16,000," according...

UEA, Writers’ Centre Norwich launch joint online creative writing courses
November 27, 2014 | 2:25 pm

NorwichThe University of East Anglia and the Writers' Centre Norwich have just announced the launch of "Online and Face-to-Face Creative Writing Courses," commencing in 2015. "This is your chance to benefit from the UEA’s world renowned expertise and give your creative writing a real chance to progress," the introduction states, and the online offering includes a "specially developed online learning environment using course materials designed by your tutor," as well as bespoke criticism and individual feedback. "This partnership between UEA and Writers’ Centre Norwich gives you the opportunity to work either online or face-to-face in 10, 12 or 24 week courses...

Books on Tyne brings books in time to Tyneside
November 27, 2014 | 12:16 pm

The Books on Tyne Literary Festival, a.k.a. the Newcastle Book Festival, is convening a literary gathering in Newcastle upon Tyne, one of northern Britain's most unique and characterful cultural communities, for non-Brits out there. Cradle of the legendary Geordie dialect, Tyneside is also the nursery of British literary talents like Basil Bunting and Tom Pickard. "After a successful Festival last year, we have been working hard to produce an even bigger and better programme of events for as many people as possible to enjoy," runs the Festival's introduction. "With a general theme of “On the Edge”, we have brought together writers...