Saturday 23 November 2013

Speak up for Libraries 2013

It was my first ever speak up for libraries conference and as I expected it was frustrating. It was nice to meet some people I hadn't met before in real life and also get a manly northern style hug from Alan Wylie. One of the messages from the panel seemed to try and sell libraries to councillors and lobby positively about all the stuff libraries do. I have and will continue to do that, but for me us having to do this points to a failure of the upper echelons of the profession more than anything. Hopefully the universal offers from the SCL can be a standard of sorts that we can show councillors and demand that level of service (sorry I still hate the phrase "offers"). The panel did have some high profile people on it including the part-time libraries advisor to the DCMS Yinnon Ezra. It was always going to be a sticky wicket for him considering the inaction of the Vaizey and he obviously wasn't really able to answer why the DCMS has done bugger all. Both Phil Bradley and Brian Ashley answered one of my questions about the lack of any evidence informing the different approaches to libraries provision and I hope ACE and CILIP can start looking into doing some proper robust research, not the cherry picked case studies/arse gravy from Locality and the LGA. We don't want another decade of pointless reports wasting public money while libraries are decimated. It was Phil's last official appearance as President of CILIP and he spoke very eloquently and passionately about libraries and for all the work he has done he has my sincere thanks. I also had a nice couple of chats with Alan Gibbons who does so much for libraries and also has a sideline as a dietary consultant, he gave a barnstorming speech at the end. The wifi failed in the morning but I did record Steve Davies excellent and funny introduction. The video of his speech, the streamed video of the Q&A and quite a few pictures are below. I have a surgery meeting with my MP David Cameron next Friday, I was tempted to just sit and shout at him for my allocated 15 minutes, it might make me feel better but it won't change his mind, I was also interested in seeing how angry I could get before the close protection officers pistol whipped me. Instead I will try and convince him of all the good things libraries do and rather than hand them over to the big society to fail and slash their budgets I hope I can convince him to take what they do seriously and try and provide some proper leadership during this crisis. Even with the funding cuts, whether we agree with them or not it could be so much better with real leadership from the top. I'm not holding my hopes up but I have to try, I owe libraries a massive debt, one I don't think I could ever pay back.

The morning introduction from Steve Davies:

The question and answer session sorry its poor quality, I don't have anything but a laptop to do a stream from:

All the pics:

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