Sunday, 4 November 2012

What I've been reading in October

Social Media

Phil Bradley, Should we outlaw 'social media'?

Phil Bradley, Personal reputation in a social media world


Lane Wilkinson, Beyond 'Beyond Literacy'

School Libraries

The Guardian, Library campaigners to meet MPs


Jo Alcock, Joeyanne McLip (one to come back to when I decide to attempt chartership!)

Events and Networking

Stephanie Taylor, #uklibchat in RL! (summary of the #uklibchat session at Library Camp 2012)

#uklibchat, Summary - 10th July 2012 - Conferences, events and networking


Publishers Weekly, Random House, Penguin Agree to Merge

Monday, 15 October 2012

#uklibchat at Library Camp 2012

On Saturday I went to my second Library Camp, an unconference event held in Birmingham. While I enjoyed the whole day (and will hopefully blog about it at some point this week), the highlight for me was the I helped to facilitate with other members of the uklibchat team on the topic of careers.

 After a delayed train and a half-an-hour scurry across Birmingham (I have short legs and was walking with some tall people!) I arrived at the venue in the middle of the session proposals. Luckily, Linsey and Lyle were on hand to propose the uklibchat session while I got my breath back. A post-it with our session name got stuck up on the timetable, and we were in!

Photo by Sarah Childs
We'd picked careers as it had been the most popular topic for uklibchat this year, and we hoped it would be something that plenty of people would want to talk about. Lots of people did turn up, and we had a good discussion which I was very happy about!

All the tweets are archived on Storify, and there is a post on the uklibchat blog which gathers together resources mentioned during the session, and posts from other blogs about the session.

Things that didn't go as planned:
  • Wifi. The venue's wifi was either broken or just not equipped to handle so many tweeting and blogging librarians! I wasn't able to get a connection at all, so our grand plans of a hybrid session had to be scaled back a bit. We'd been hoping to live tweet the session, take questions from Twitter as well as the room, and set up a projector with a #uklibchat twitter stream so everyone could see all the tweets. However I was able to tweet from my phone, and we did have several people participating remotely. We'll have to try again at another event in the future!
  • Sadly Ka-Ming missed her train and couldn't make it to Birmingham which was such a shame, but I thought Sarah and Linsey did a great job of introducing and facilitating the session without her. I was just desperately trying to keep up with the tweets as I'm pretty slow at typing on my phone!
Things which worked well:
  • There was a really good mix of sectors and experience among the people at the session, which was great for this topic.
  • People who couldn't make it to the session at the time were chipping in with their opinions on chartership, recruitment agencies etc. for the rest of the day on the #uklibchat hashtag.
  • In the first session of the morning a few people had pointed out that it was difficult to follow the different sessions simultaneously being tweeted about on the #libcampuk12 hashtag, so I decided to stick to the #uklibchat hashtag for our session (having tweeted a couple of times on #libcampuk12 to warn people that that's what I was doing). I think this made it much easier to follow the session as we were going along, and to archive it afterwards.
  • Lots of people took business cards at the end, woohoo!
Hopefully everyone who came to the session took something away from it. I found it an interesting discussion at least!

Photo by Sarah Childs

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Visiting Cambridge University Library Map Room

Last week I visited the Map Room at the UL for Cambridge Library Group's first meeting of the year. Although I've spent a fair amount of time at the UL over the last couple of years, I'd not been to the Map Room before, and was really impressed by the gorgeous items on display.

Anne Taylor and Andrew Alexander introduced us to the collection, which includes originals and facsimiles of manuscript and early printed maps and atlases, as well as modern maps, and a large collection of postcards. While a lot comes to the department through legal deposit, they also buy antiquarian and modern maps, and receive donations (in particular from the Ministry of Defence's map library, the largest map library in the country, which purchases four copies of every map and then donates three of the copies to libraries around the country when they purchase a new edition). When the Ordnance Survey maps went online and the OS archives decided not to keep their 1st edition maps, the UL purchased that collection, which showed up in three lorries rather unexpectedly one day!

Anne and Andrew had put a variety of maps out on display for our group, including a beautifully illustrated celestial atlas by Andreas Cellarias from 1661, a colourful world map titled TEA REVIVES THE WORLD! produced by the International Tea Market Expansion Board which was covered in quotes and facts about tea, and OS snapshots of the Olympic Park site taken at various points since we won the bid, showing the development there. My favourite was a map of Iceland drawn by Abraham Ortelius in around 1595, showing sea monsters surrounding the island complete with notes in Latin describing each beast (e.g. "All gristly, rather like a skate, but infinitely larger"). There's an image of part of that map on the map department's website here.

It was a great visit, and I ended up being one of the last hangers-on who spent so long looking at the maps that Andrew threatened to put us to work cataloguing them! Having had a taste of the confusing world of scales, projections and co-ordinates in my Cat & Class module at UCL I didn't take Andrew up on his offer, but will definitely visit again!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

What I've been reading in August

Well, we did it! My MA class has now submitted our dissertations, and that's the end of my year at UCL. This blog has been very quiet over the summer for obvious reasons, but I'm hoping to get back into the habit of blogging regularly once more now that I have a bit more time on my hands!  I managed to keep the monthly round up posts going though as they're fairly quick to put together, and here is what I've been reading in August (or in most cases this month, what I kept unread until the start of September!)


Andy Woodworth, Libraries and eBook Publishers: Friend Zone Level 300

Marketing library services

Naomi Tiley, IFLA Conference: Marketing of Rare and Special Collections in a Digital Age

Stpehen Barr, How should academic libraries communicate their own value? 

Information Literacy

Daniel Russell, Internet Search: What makes it simple, difficult or impossible?

Meredith Farkas, The devil you know in first-year instruction

Games and libraries

Lisa Poisso, Real-life librarians hit the Ironforge stacks (interview with Ellen Forsyth from the WoW guild Where is the Library, which runs regular discussion groups in Ironforge library)

Games and Libraries, Edited transcripts of talks (archive of the Where is the Library discussions)


Bobbi Newman, 20 Things to Do After You Accept that Speaking Gig

R. David Lankes, Beyond the Bullet Points: Bullet Points (advice for developing speaker skills)

Neutrality in events and conferences

Library Camp, The Co-operative Bank Grant Application

Lauren Smith, Library Politics and Agenda-Setting


Brian Matthews, Think Like a Startup (I haven't had time to read all of this yet, but it's good stuff. Aaron Tay's post below pulls out some of the main points)

Aaron Tay, "We're a cut-and-paste profession"

Travis McDade, The difficulty of insider book theft

In the Ironforge Library by Tourach

Sunday, 29 July 2012

What I've been reading in July


I found Mashcat a really interesting unconference. I won't pretend to have understood everything that was talked about, but I definitely learnt a lot! These are the slides/blog posts from my favourite sessions.

Ed Chamberlain, Text to data [slides]

Gary Green, A Travellers Map in Yahoo Pipes (Really cool visual way to search subject headings referring to places)

Owen Stephens, Boutique Catalogues (Includes demonstration of how a catalogue could be customised for musicians, creating faceted indexes for key, bpm and time-signature)


Ned Potter, Good presentations matter

Libraries and the Internet

Lauren Smith, Internet Access and Public Libraries

Phil Bradley, Libraries charging for internet access is wrong

Voices for the Library, Free internet access should be a cornerstone of every public library

Ian Clark, Barking libraries - tiny cuts or massive scars?

CILIP, Act risks limiting internet access in libraries, schools and universities


Alison Flood, Call to 'move libraries into 21st century' sparks ebook lending review

Volunteer libraries

CILIP, Value of staff at heart of revised volunteer policy

Dalya Alberge, Authors face royalty threat from volunteer libraries

Ian Anstice, Surrey chooses volunteers over paid staff at the same cost

Online learning

Emma Cragg, Where next for 23 Things?   (I've heard a lot about coursera lately, and I'm definitely going to look into it when I finish my MA. One course at a time though...)

By Guillermo Esteves on Flickr

Thursday, 12 July 2012

#CPD23 Thing 10, revisited

A year ago when I wrote about Thing 10, I had almost finished my graduate traineeship, and had a place at UCL on the MA Library and Information Studies course. A year later of course, the end of my MA (read: dissertation deadline!) is rushing closer and closer, and I'm thinking about what I'll be doing after this is over.

On the whole I've really enjoyed my MA, I feel that I've learnt a lot, and the variety of assessments have given me experience that would have been difficult to get at work (such as writing a collection management policy, and coming up with a budget and staff structure for a library in the Management module). I was lucky enough to get a bursary for this year, but before I found out I'd got that I'd been prepared to fork out for the £5000-odd fees. It's a lot of money, but with an MA under my belt I can apply for professional roles with a bit of a pay-rise and it'll hopefully pay for itself within a few years.

I think if I hadn't got a bursary I would have still felt I got my money's worth at £5k, but as Jen shows with her pretty pink spreadsheet, next year UCL's fees will be up to £7750 for the full-time course, and City is going to be charging a whopping £9000 (there are still some relatively affordable full-time courses, such as MMU which is £4000, but in a few years I imagine they'll all be raising the fees). As Jen says, this puts the traditional masters firmly out of reach for an awful lot of people. Distance learning courses are cheaper, but aren't for everyone (I don't think that style of learning would have suited me well, I like lectures and seminars and working with other people). I really hope we don't get into a situation where there is a divide in the profession between those who can afford the qualification and those who can't, but I'm worried that this could well happen.

Doom and gloom post, sorry. :(

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

#CPD23 Thing 9 revisited

As a Christmas present to myself I bought a Samsung Galaxy tablet when it was on sale in January. It was definitely something I wanted rather than needed, and I spent weeks debating whether to splurge that much money on something I didn't actually need. However I've been using it for all the time, for emails, Twitter, Facebook, reading e-books, taking notes in lectures, playing games... etc. etc. I still love my laptop, but it's pretty big and heavy which makes it a bit of a mission taking it out and about, so it's great to have a portable alternative.
Evernote interface

I've found that some of the tools I discovered in 23 Things but didn't get that excited about, have suddenly become much more useful now I'm using the tablet, in particular Evernote. The interface on the mobile version is so much nicer than the rather dull PC version (see right), and it's very intuitive. I'm using it for my lecture notes and quotations I want to put in essays, nothing too fancy, but it's working very well. I could have used Google Docs for the same thing, but I find editting Google Docs quite fiddly on the tablet, even in the app version.

I think I still haven't taken full advantage of Evernote yet, as it has all kinds of things like OCR for images and handwriting, and I discovered entirely by accident in my last lecture that it has a recording feature, and my tablet has a microphone, so I could have recorded all of my lectures as well as taking notes. So when I get a chance I really need to sit down and explore all of the features I don't use, because some of them are probably very useful!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

What I've been reading in June

Save Libraries

Ruthie Saylor, The night they came to arrest the library

Rita Meade, Where Would You Be Without Your Library? (Brought a tear to my eye!) 

Anita Pati, Country dancing and learning support: the new face of the council library

Alison Flood, Ed Vaizey says libraries 'thriving' and rejects prediction of 600 closures

Ian Anstice, Special report: Ed Vaizey's most important speech since he took office


OnlineUniversities blog, 10 Reasons Why Students Aren't Using eTextbooks

Pew Internet, Libraries, Patrons and E-books: Libraries in Transition

Bobbi Newman, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (and the Interesting) of Libraries and eBooks - Pew's Latest Report


#uklibchat, Libraries and Leadership [Storify]

Nicola Franklin, Some thoughts on leadership and management 

Simon Barron, We're all leaders now 

Library design, space management etc.

#uklibchat, Library Spaces and Space Management 12th June 2012 [Storify]

Jonathan Shaw, The Library Test Kitchen

Information Literacy

#uklibchat, Summary - 26th June: Information Literacy & Needs

Steve Wheeler, Blogging as literacy 

John Tedesco, How to solve impossible problems: Daniel Russell's awesome Google search techniques

Meredith Farkas, Broad vs. deep in information literacy instruction 


Ian Clark, Lighting the Future - a personal perspective ("I say you should grumble and grumble loudly.  And not just grumble, actually try to do something about it.")

John Kirriemuir, Don't shush me, I'm tweeting the speaker


Leo Casey, How to Write a Literature Review for a Dissertation 

Literature Review HQ, 3 Great Methods to Structure Your Literature Review

Reading by Rachel Sian on Flickr

Friday, 15 June 2012

#CPD23 Thing 7, revisited

I'd hoped to be able to go to the CPD23 networking event in Cambridge yesterday, but unfortunately Rory needed our car in the evening, so I'll have to settle for writing about Thing 7 instead!

I've not blogged about any of the Things so far this year, as I'm still using them in pretty much the same way as before. However since last year's post on face-to-face networking, I've made a real effort to do more offline networking. Taking advantage of the fact that I've been in London a lot this year, I've been to a couple of LISNPN meetups with lovely London graduate trainees, met up with several people I know from Twitter, and I've started going fairly regularly to London Information and Knowledge Exchange events which has been a great way to meet information professionals from other sectors.

I said last year that I thought joining a committee might be something I'd try at some point in the future, well with some encouragement from Chris, I joined the Cambridge Library Group committee in September, which has been a really worthwhile experience so far. In a few weeks there's the CLG garden party at Newnham, which will be the first event I've organised for the group. I've got my fingers and toes crossed that all goes well and it doesn't rain!

Like many librarians, I'm somewhat of an introvert, and find "networking breaks" with rooms full of people I don't know to be a scary prospect.  But the lovely thing is, the more events you go to, and the more people you meet, the more those rooms become filled with friends rather than scary strangers.

If you're a fairly new librarian and like me are a bit nervous of networking, I'd really recommend LISNPN meetups if you see one going on in your area. They're very informal, usually in a pub, and I've met some really nice people through LISNPN. Getting to know people online before you meet them face-to-face helps tremendously too. So, if anyone fancies another LISNPN meetup in London at some point soon, let me know!

Tweeters getting out and about. Image by tanakawho on Flickr

Friday, 1 June 2012

What I've been reading in May

CILIP New Professionals Day 2012

Speaker and workshop presentations

Ned Potter, You already have a brand! Here are 5 ways to influence it (#CILIPNPD12) (contains links to blog posts about the day)

Social Media

Simon Barron, "Pictures or it didn't happen." (Reflections on the negative impact of Twitter)

Andy Burkhardt, Puppies in the library and social media (Puppies! No more needs to be said.)


Lance Ulanoff, Google Search Just Got 1,000 Times Smarter 

Volunteers in libraries

Helen Murphy, 50 shades of volunteering (also known as #CPD23 Thing 22: Volunteering)

Voices for the Library, Arts Chief Executive comments on need for skilled library staff

Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, CILIP's Policy on the Use of Volunteers in Public Libraries: A Review

Ian Anstice, CILIP Policy on Volunteers not explicitly against direct substitution of staff

Gary Green, CILIP Volunteer Policy & Job Substitution: Letter to CILIP Update 

Johanna Anderson, CILIP and "job substitution" 

Phil Bradley, Volunteers in Public Libraries

Lisa Hutchins, Volunteers: What organisations say and what they do

Ian Anstice, Grey is not a popular colour 

Library Masters

Jen Laurenson, Masters schmasters? Rising fees, methods of learning and general confusion


Samantha Murphy, Harry Potter Series Coming to Kindle Library in June

Lindsay Barber, Alternative E-Book Lending Models Gaining Ground and Harry Potter Meets Amazon's Lending Library

Anna Baddely, Writers won't lose out if libraries lend ebooks

Alison Flood, Pay us for library ebook loans, say authors


Funktious, In which I rant about 24 Hour Opening... 

Ned Potter, 6 useful things Prezi can do (which even experienced users miss)

Library by Ellen Forsyth on Flickr

Monday, 21 May 2012

A couple of plugs...

My 23 Things for Professional Development post Thing 4: Current Awareness is now up on the CPD23 blog, and covers Twitter, RSS and Storify. I hadn't used Storify before trying it out for this Thing, but have since used it to gather together tweets from CILIP New Professionals Day, and will definitely continue to use it.

Back from the Stacks

Newnham College Library now have a blog, Back from the Stacks. We're going to share beautiful and interesting items from our special collections, and there are a couple of posts up already about exhibitions that are up in College at the moment.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

#CILIPnpd12 - Phil Bradley

Here's my final Storify of the day, on Phil Bradley's keynote speech and the panel Q&A. It's also available on the Storify website here, and all of the presentations from the whole day should go up on the CILIP New Professionals Day website soon.

#CILIPnpd12 - Bethan Ruddock

To end the day we had two brilliant key note speakers - Bethan Ruddock and Phil Bradley. Here's the storify of Bethan's presentation on the New Professionals Toolkit (also available on the Storify website)

#CILIPnpd12 - Simon Barron & Abby Barker

I think this was the most useful workshop I went to, and I know it was oversubscribed so I was lucky to get a place on it! If the embed doesn't show up, the Storify is also available here.

#CILIPnpd12 - high visibility cataloguers and cyber librarians

The first workshop I attended was very hands on (as you can see in the pictures below!) so I didn't tweet much. It was run by Deborah Lee and Jennie Perry from HVcats, and was great fun! We were given a pile of assorted lego and had to classify in as many ways as possible, figure out how we would deal with a new kind of brick not included in our classification scheme, and then build a tower from all the 4x2 bricks in the quickest time possible, to demonstrate the problem of distributed relatives (but mainly to win chocolate...)

Following on from that I went to Richard Hawkins and Lisa Hutchins' workshop about being "cyber librarians", which was really interesting and not something I'd really considered before. I've embedded the Storify of my tweets from the day below, or you can find it here.

#CILIPnpd12 - Ned Potter

Yesterday I spent the day at CILIP HQ in London, for my second New Professionals Day. I live-tweeted most of the day (apart from when my hands were full with lego or a giant burrito), and as I have recently discovered Storify, I am going to post a few Storifys of my tweets from the day rather than writing it all out again in a big old blog post. Here's the first bit, Ned Potter's opening keynote speech (if the embed doesn't show up, the link to my Storify is here).

Monday, 7 May 2012

#CPD23 strikes again

By fatllama on Flickr

We are repeating the 23 Things for Professional Development programme for those who missed out or didn't finish last year. This first 2 Things (creating your own blog, and investigating other people's blogs) went up on the CPD23 blog today, and an updated version of my post on current awareness tools will go up on the 21st May.

I'm not going to participate properly this time around as I'll need to concentrate on my MA dissertation over this summer. However I've really enjoyed looking at people's blogs as everyone has been signing up and writing their first CPD23 posts. As always I tend to be drawn in initially by the blog name (e.g. Dewey Decibelle, Cat(andClass)woman and Veggie Haggis) and I always like to be nosey and read blog posts by people I know (including the ever brilliant Boolean Berry and equally excellent Rosie Hare). It's great that so many people who took part last year are having a second go now (for instance dpgreen and SoldierMumLibby), as well as having totally new blogs to explore (such as Cup of Tea & a Scone and Of Libraries, Cataloguing and Things). There are some really great blogs on the list, so if you haven't yet, take a look at the Delicious list and see for yourself.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Virtuoso Skills for Music Enquiries

I recently went on an excellent training course run by Amelie Roper and Clemens Gresser. The course was on resources for dealing with music enquiries, and I learnt about a whole load of resources I had never come across before. I said to Clemens afterwards that it was the training session I wished I had had when I was an undergraduate music student, as it would have been so incredibly useful to me then. Ah well, now I know about them I'll just have to pass them on to future students to make sure they know more than I did!

Some of the stand out music resources included:
  • Music Index journal database with citation search (hosted by EBSCO, who also host RILM Abstracts of Music Literature and RIPM Retrospective Index to Music Periodicals, and provide a cross search feature so all three can be searched at the same time) 
  • Cecilia - a database of music collections held in libraries, archives and museums in the UK and Ireland
  • Encore - union catalogue of performing sets in UK libraries
  • Barbican Song Index - "an index to sheet music anthologies of popular, jazz and folk songs, songs from musicals and films, classical songs and opera arias"
A couple of very useful-looking general resources that were mentioned and I hadn't heard of before:
By Luz Adriana Villa A. on Flickr

#LIKE35 - Books, why bother? by Anne Welsh

I've not been able to blog much lately, as unfortunately things like essays, exam revision and job hunting have had to take priority! All my coursework for last term was handed in last week, and my Professional Awareness exam is over and done with, so I'm going to take the opportunity to have a bit of a blogging session. 

Last week I went into London for a LIKE event. The speaker was Anne Welsh (who teaches us cataloguing at UCL and has the dubious pleasure of being my dissertation supervisor!). Her topic was 'Books, Why Bother?', exploring why we bother with books when there are now cheaper, quicker and easier ways to publish our ideas. Anne's first book, Practical Cataloguing: AACR, RDA and MARC21, co-authored with Sue Batley, has just been published (and is selling like mad by the sound of it!)
From the quick show of hands at the start, a very large proportion of the group had written a blog, about half had written a journal article, fewer had written a peer-reviewed journal article, and one or two had written books (but several more would like to write a book in the future).

When there are so many other methods of communication, why bother to write a book? Seth Godin, in his blog post Why write a book states:
If you've never written a non-fiction book, there are a lot of reasons why you might want to. It organizes your thoughts. It's a big project worthy of your attention.
I don't think anyone would argue that a book is a big project (Anne's has taken over two years, mainly due to changes in RDA!), however writing for other formats would help to structure your thoughts just, so why a book in particular?

A major incentive for writing a book is that it establishes you as an expert in your field. Springer's website has a section on Why write a book?, where they argue that "A book serves as a kind of business card: it helps define your reputation in your chosen field." I didn't know this before, but there is no recognition for writing textbooks in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) - as a good textbook will be consolidating existing research, it is not a piece of original research. This is bad news for academics, but good news for others, as it means there is a gap in the market for practitioners to write this kind of book.

However as a lecturer, Anne wanted her students to have a resource that reflected her teaching. Anne pointed out that if the lecturer has problems with the text they are using, it makes it more difficult to communicate to students. The current "cataloguing bible", Essential Cataloguing by John Bowman, is most likely not going to be updated, as RDA is such a major change and John is now retired. Therefore part of Anne's motivation was to write her own textbook, as a resource for both UCL students, and students on other library courses that do not teach cataloguing.

With this particular book, there was also the desire to represent UK cataloguing, as most publications on the topic of RDA are being written by Americans and a few Canadians. Anne has written about RDA on her blog, and there is a lot of RDA stuff out there on the web, however Anne sees the content on her blog as more embrionic, a way to test the water for new ideas, whereas the process of writing a book is different, it is a way to make meaning - to make sense of the new standards and present this information in a way that could help others to make their own sense of it. Having a published book also serves as a benchmark in teaching history, providing unequivocal proof for future scholars that this was how this subject was being taught in 2012, in a way that shifting, evolving content on the web could not. 

Moving on from reasons for writing a book, to the actual experience of doing so, Anne pointed out that making the move from blogging to writing a book could very easily be a lonely experience. When blogging, you get comments and feedback very quickly, and so it is fairly easy to know your audience. The production cycle of a book is so long, that it is important to get feedback as you go along. The cataloguing community is a very strong one, so Anne had lots of people available to get feedback from and remind her of her audience (a novel experience for one friend apparently, who protested that their entire career structure was based on being completely ignored by everyone!).

Finally we came back to format again, with some discussion about e-books. Anne quoted a US study where 80 students were given Kindles preloaded with electronic versions of texts, and were later surveyed. 72% of the participants preferred the electronic version over print. However it is unclear to what extent the provision of the preloaded Kindles was a factor, if they had to buy the device themselves and download the texts this might have changed the outcome significantly. In surveys my library has conducted for instance, students are nowhere near this enthusiastic about e-books!

It all depends on the subject I suppose, some things will be more appropriate as a book, and other things would be better suited to being published and freely available online. I'm not exactly someone who needs convincing that books are still worth bothering about, but found the talk very interesting and entertaining nevertheless!  

Saturday, 28 April 2012

What I've been reading in April


Peter Pachal, What Apple's Ebook Fiasco Means for Amazon and the Book Business (See also Digital Divide. Very worrying...)

Bobbi Newman, Ebook Readership Increases, Still Only 21% 

Kathryn Zickuhr, E-books aren't just for e-readers: A deep dive into the data

Andy Woodworth, Reading Between the Lines (has the internet killed reading books?)

Andy Priestner, Ebooks: an epiphany

Digital Divide 

Ian Clark, The income divide and its impact on digital exclusion

Ian Clark, Age, disability and digital divide

Ian Clark, The internet - don't need it, can't afford it

Information Literacy

Greg Downey, Counterintuitive Digital Media Assignments (Very interesting assignment set for a digital media course)

Job Applications

Laura Wilkinson, Designing interview tests

Helen Murphy, Dum de dum de dum de dum de dum (otherwise known as #CPD23  Thing 21: Job Applications) ("I defy anyone reading this to imagine something more likely to take a ruby-encrusted pickaxe to your soul than a poorly formatted Word table.")


Claire Sewell, CIG eforum - Social media  in the cataloguing community


Simon Barron, ISBN, ISTC, and ontology

R. David Lankes, Beyond the Bullet Points: Libraries are Obsolete 

By needoptic on Flickr

Monday, 2 April 2012

Speak Up for Libraries Early Day Motion: In which I get a response from my MP

Prior to the Libraries Lobby in March I wrote to my MP Mark Prisk, asking him to sign the Speak Up for Libraries Early Day Motion. Today (nearly a month later!) I received his reply. Disappointingly he will not be signing the EDM, but that much I had already gathered by now! Below is the email I sent, and his reply. I can't see anything on the Early Day Motions page that says Ministers cannot sign EDMs, but I'm going to look into this some more!

Edit: Thanks Becky who found this page where it says that Ministers and government whips "normally will not sign EDMs".

Saturday 10 March 2012

Dear Mark Prisk,

I am writing to ask you to sign Early Day Motion 2817 - Speak Up For Public Libraries.

Free, professionally staffed public libraries are vital for education, lifelong learning, digital literacy and community engagement - all areas that our country could be doing better in. Cuts to public library services have been disproportionately severe, as they are seen as easy targets.

I am very concerned that chipping away at our public library services, gradually replacing trained, qualified staff with volunteers and closing down easily accessible branch libraries will cause a decline in library use, as the service becomes less valuable and less accessible to more and more people.

For more information on this issue, including stories from many members of the public about what a difference libraries have made to their lives, see independent campaign group Voices for the Library, Speak up for Libraries, and information on the value of libraries from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

Thank you for reading, and please do sign the Early Day Motion.

Yours sincerely, Annie Johnson

Monday 2 April 2012

Dear Ms Johnson,

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about potential library closures.

I must emphasise, any decisions made to close libraries are made by local authorities rather than by Government. While I do understand that some local authorities want to modernise services and make them more efficient, it is this Government's belief that widespread library closures are by no means necessary or welcome. Indeed, many local authorities have managed to avoid closing a single library despite reductions in their budgets.

Furthermore, while Labour is predictably trying to present any library closure as a 'coalition cut', the tight spending that local authorities are facing is a direct result of the last Government losing control of the nation's finances. Due to this mismanagement, the UK now spends more on debt interest in a day than the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has spent on the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council in the last three years combined.

To help reverse the decline in the number of libraries, the Government is helping local authorities to run existing services on lower costs, most notably through the 'Future Libraries Programme'. This is designed to help local authorities share best practice about how to modernise library services.

Through the experience of the 36 Local Authorities involved in the programme, the Government was able to share real lessons about how to deliver more for less. This has been achieved by the sharing of back office services; co-locating library services with retail premises or other council offices; and delivering library services in Sure Starts and on public transport networks.

You will be pleased to know that success from these policies has led to more than 40 libraries opening or being refurbished across the country.

I am unable to sign the EDM as I am a Minister and in doing so would mean I was effectively lobbying myself however, I would like to thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely, Mark Prisk MP

(Dictated by Mark Prisk and sent on his behalf)
Mr Charles Rowley
Parliamentary Assistant to Mark Prisk MP (Hertford and Stortford)