Update catchup August 2014

Slightly scared that I am falling yet further behind with these!

The August 2014 issue has a beautiful image on the front from the National Fairground Archive and has probably travelled as many miles in my bag as many a travelling fair. I loved the article on this collection. It sits far from the things I am involved in professionally but I am always pleased to read about such a fascinating cultural treasures.

This issue has a report from HLG Conference which took place in sweltering heat in Oxford. I really enjoyed the conference offering up a version of my paper given in updated form at UKSG.  I also spoke as part of the CILIP Debate programme. There is a nice picture of me chatting with Donald Mackay at the end (and a great boggled eye one in the Dropbox collection for the conference.  I was on the losing side but this was no surprise since I had to advocate for hiring nurses using precious library funding. I gave a rather silly talk full of ill informed comment on the merits of the internet and the low level of need for our skills (not like librarians are the angels of the NHS eh?).  But I was very serious on the point that unless we act to defend our services they will get whittled away in a semi random fashion.

The article on tri-borough in London public libraries is interesting as a picture of one route forward for making the cuts that will face many services. I wonder how far such arrangements can extend – what is the most effective scale for a PL network? It is also interesting to read what @wylie_alan had to say about it after attending a CILIP in London event a couple of years back. Some things look like they could end up a bit thin – a public health officer for one borough is now spoken of as one for the tri-borough. Could be a bit busy! That said I am not sure the shift of Public Health from the NHS to local government has seen library provision survive very well.

The merger of Careers Development Group into the CILIP Branches to form Regional Members Networks seems a reasonable plan overall to me. That said I bumped into a member of the Cilip London RMN on the tube today (small place London) and it sounds like the committee is almost unchanged from when I was a member a couple of years back. A number of that committee have done very long service and I had hoped that the merger might prompt a renewal with fresh blood. Maximum terms of membership are supposed to be in place and I hope people will move aside to allow others to have a go.

Reading about Midlothian libraries I was struck by how similar our issues are in terms of needing to influence decision makers. A steady stream of data and stories is required to help people outside our world understand what we are busily up to.  The need for partners is also familiar. I was somewhat dismayed by the fact that the service is so short staffed that people are working through their holidays and in their own time.  This is simply not a sustainable way for people to live and for a service to operate.

One thought on “Update catchup August 2014

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