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Kent 'ignores' National Libraries Day

The Society of Chief Librarians has been forced to defend itself following claims that members of its national executive have failed to support National Libraries Day (4th February) in their own authorities.

Blogposts and tweets have highlighted a shortage of planned events to mark and celebrate the day posted on the NLD website in some areas where authorities have SCL executive committee members in charge of libraries. They include Kent, where SCL secretary Cath Anley runs the service.

A briefing document to Kent library staff said: "We will mark National Libraries Day in the best way possible - by continuing to deliver the best quality service to our very many satisfied customers."

In a statement, SCL said: "SCL is a supporting partner of National Libraries Day and is actively involved in planning for events and celebrations. The Society of Chief Librarians welcomes the support from customers and the library community that has been galvanized for National Libraries Day. Celebrating what libraries do for their customers, and what customers do for one another in libraries is important because it reinforces the uniqueness and value of the public library service." 

Elizabeth Elford, SCL communications manager, said: "The SCL national executive from the beginning has put its full support behind National Libraries Day. But when it goes to local authority level, they have no control over take-up if for whatever reason their council has decided not to participate as fully." She also said that not every library had uploaded its events onto the NLD site.

A briefing to Kent library staff on how to respond to any queries from the public about National Libraries Day states: "This is the approach we are taking: As NLD is a Saturday, the busiest day of the week for us, all our staff will be fully engaged in helping people to use our wide range of services. We already have planned events and promotions across the County throughout 2012... There is much to celebrate about libraries in Kent, and we will mark National Libraries Day in the best way possible - by continuing to deliver the best quality service to our very many satisfied customers."

The briefing asks staff approached about holding an NLD event in their library to contact their district manager for guidance. "You can of course tell them about the planned activities already scheduled to take place in your library and invite them to become a library volunteer if they wish to play an active role in the year ahead," it says.  

Kent county council is currently reviewing its library service, with a "far reaching shake-up" of services anticipated, according to local media.

Cath Anley is on leave and could not be reached for comment. Kent county council cabinet member for customer and communities Mike Hill said: "National Libraries Day is a good opportunity to look at what is on offer in your local area. We are very proud of the Kent library service, one of the largest in the country which currently has around 236,000 active borrowers. There are more than 14,500 events throughout the county being held every year in local libraries, from children's reading sessions and coffee mornings to computer training sessions from our Web Wizards. We would encourage people to find out what is available all the year round at their local library by going to www.kent.gov.uk/libraries."

Other SCL executive committee members confirmed that they were supporting the day with activities in their local area. David Ruse, triborough director of libraries for Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, and Hammersmith and Fulham, said special events and activities were being organised across the three boroughs for National Libraries Day, including author talks, and the launch of The Library Book (Profile), but that they had not been uploaded onto the main NLD site. Ayub Khan of Warwickshire libraries also said his borough had special activities planned, including giving away free DVDs.

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Kent Agricultural College told the BBC on 5th July 2010 that rising temperatures could see lemons and sunflowers being grown. The purse-lipped response from Kent CC to National Libraries Day might therefore be explained by a surfeit of lemons in the diet.

Gloucestershire County Council are also "ignoring National Librariies Day". Well, they are keen to run libraries down so it stands to reason that they don't want to promote a service they are trying to axe.
So library users are celebrating the day by organising events in the libraries themselves. Gloucestershire County Council, who banned the press from last years events, have said this years events can only take place if they are not " a protest" or "conected with other campaigns". Democratic engagement is still going strong in Gloucestershire......oh.

It strikes me that even the most "at risk", poorly funded, under staffed service can do SOMETHING to celebrate National Libraries Day. Even if its just writing National Libraries Day on a whiteboard/notice board. Quick, cheap and easy - encourage people to join! OR, how about asking people to stick post=it notes onto a wall highlighting what is great about their library service...or what libraries mean to them. So simple to do, minimal staff input (other than encouraging people to join in - done whilst issuing books/shelving/at the end of an enquiry) - if we dont do something for ourselves, then why should other people do it? If we dont value our services, why should anyone else?

Just playing politics .

I have just looked at the notice board for the Kings Road, Chelsea library (amazingly in Kensington and Chelsea) and there are no mentions of any National Libraries Day events happening across the borough. There are posters up about events in March.
Surely, if David Ruse wants NLD events to be a success in this amazing triborough he is part of, he should have had these been organising and promoting these since the SCL agreed to support the day.
And it is free publicity to upload the events onto the National Libraries Day website so why would any cash conscious council not do that?!!

The SCL claims to promote the value of libraries but seems incapable of actually doing so. Why is public money being spent on this organisation?

Please don't blame your local library branch staff if there is no publicity or events for NLD. Some senior services managers are telling branches NOT to do anything. Staff will not disobey as they are all working in an environment where axes are falling.

That headline is straight out of 'The Onion'

Anonymous69, feel free to tell us more in confidence. benedicte.page@bookseller.co.uk

Over the past ten years, consistently, the Society of Chief Librarians have been in favour of opening large, architectural libraries and closing small community libraries, and increasing expenditure on technologies of all kinds, in public libraries, while allowing the number and availability of print books to decline.

They have also advocated the diversification of library activity into, for example, the provision of health care advice and council 'one stop' shops.

They have done little to call for support for community libraries or books. Nor have they effectively managed an increase in opening hours, for example, so that libraries generally are open on Sundays as shops are. Libraries in England close on most Sundays and bank holidays.

The committee of the Society of Chief Librarians includes many of those responsbible (and it has to be said - highly paid) for managing library services in those councils who have claimed that it is neccessary to close libraries and reduce services under budget pressure.

The SCL is a publicly funded body. In my view it should be closed down. There is no need for its members to collaborate- they should just do the job properly for which we pay them.

Croydon are ignoring the event too. Residents' queries regarding what Croydon are doing to mark the day have been met with comments from staff that they knew nothing of it or emails left unanswered.

We are calling on Croydon residents to mark the day in their own way to show support for our libraries. We'd love to receive thoughts and comments on our post at http://soslibrary.blogspot.com/2012/01/national-libraries-day-looms-4th....

As an ex-member of staff in a main KCC library, I know there have been and will be more staff cuts. KCC are trying keep the media from sniffing around by not advertising themselves unduly. That, along with complaints about the registering of deaths in libraries highlight some poor management decisions of late.

What is Tim Coates complaining about? He was partially responsible for the destruction of the Hampshire library service, by making negative observations about librarians. If he wants community libraries with books in them, he shouldn't have recommended the sacking of the librarians who run libraries and speak up for books.

Kent Agricultural College told the BBC on 5th July 2010 that rising temperatures could see lemons and sunflowers being grown. The purse-lipped response from Kent CC to National Libraries Day might therefore be explained by a surfeit of lemons in the diet.

Gloucestershire County Council are also "ignoring National Librariies Day". Well, they are keen to run libraries down so it stands to reason that they don't want to promote a service they are trying to axe.
So library users are celebrating the day by organising events in the libraries themselves. Gloucestershire County Council, who banned the press from last years events, have said this years events can only take place if they are not " a protest" or "conected with other campaigns". Democratic engagement is still going strong in Gloucestershire......oh.

It strikes me that even the most "at risk", poorly funded, under staffed service can do SOMETHING to celebrate National Libraries Day. Even if its just writing National Libraries Day on a whiteboard/notice board. Quick, cheap and easy - encourage people to join! OR, how about asking people to stick post=it notes onto a wall highlighting what is great about their library service...or what libraries mean to them. So simple to do, minimal staff input (other than encouraging people to join in - done whilst issuing books/shelving/at the end of an enquiry) - if we dont do something for ourselves, then why should other people do it? If we dont value our services, why should anyone else?

Just playing politics .

I have just looked at the notice board for the Kings Road, Chelsea library (amazingly in Kensington and Chelsea) and there are no mentions of any National Libraries Day events happening across the borough. There are posters up about events in March.
Surely, if David Ruse wants NLD events to be a success in this amazing triborough he is part of, he should have had these been organising and promoting these since the SCL agreed to support the day.
And it is free publicity to upload the events onto the National Libraries Day website so why would any cash conscious council not do that?!!

The SCL claims to promote the value of libraries but seems incapable of actually doing so. Why is public money being spent on this organisation?

Please don't blame your local library branch staff if there is no publicity or events for NLD. Some senior services managers are telling branches NOT to do anything. Staff will not disobey as they are all working in an environment where axes are falling.

That headline is straight out of 'The Onion'

Anonymous69, feel free to tell us more in confidence. benedicte.page@bookseller.co.uk

Over the past ten years, consistently, the Society of Chief Librarians have been in favour of opening large, architectural libraries and closing small community libraries, and increasing expenditure on technologies of all kinds, in public libraries, while allowing the number and availability of print books to decline.

They have also advocated the diversification of library activity into, for example, the provision of health care advice and council 'one stop' shops.

They have done little to call for support for community libraries or books. Nor have they effectively managed an increase in opening hours, for example, so that libraries generally are open on Sundays as shops are. Libraries in England close on most Sundays and bank holidays.

The committee of the Society of Chief Librarians includes many of those responsbible (and it has to be said - highly paid) for managing library services in those councils who have claimed that it is neccessary to close libraries and reduce services under budget pressure.

The SCL is a publicly funded body. In my view it should be closed down. There is no need for its members to collaborate- they should just do the job properly for which we pay them.

Croydon are ignoring the event too. Residents' queries regarding what Croydon are doing to mark the day have been met with comments from staff that they knew nothing of it or emails left unanswered.

We are calling on Croydon residents to mark the day in their own way to show support for our libraries. We'd love to receive thoughts and comments on our post at http://soslibrary.blogspot.com/2012/01/national-libraries-day-looms-4th....

As an ex-member of staff in a main KCC library, I know there have been and will be more staff cuts. KCC are trying keep the media from sniffing around by not advertising themselves unduly. That, along with complaints about the registering of deaths in libraries highlight some poor management decisions of late.

What is Tim Coates complaining about? He was partially responsible for the destruction of the Hampshire library service, by making negative observations about librarians. If he wants community libraries with books in them, he shouldn't have recommended the sacking of the librarians who run libraries and speak up for books.