Libraries 'at risk', says CILIP

<p>The public library service is being put at risk by the loss of professional librarian posts, according to a new report for the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).</p><p>The report, written by Patrick Conway, former director of culture and leisure for Durham County Council, investigated 10 public library authorities. It concluded that four of them&mdash;Dorset, Hampshire, Kent and Medway&mdash;were all in danger of a cut in their quality of service, with job losses and other staffing decisions a key factor.</p><p>The study also looked at Cumbria, Dudley and Northumberland, concluding that they were not at risk of a cut in quality of service; Gloucestershire and Hillingdon declined to participate in the study, while the report concluded that a determination on standards of service at Lambeth was not possible at this time.</p><p>Outdated attitudes by some library staff, a lack of scrutiny by government which has increasingly distanced itself from local arrangements, and a failure by local authorities to appreciate how their library services can contribute to their strategic objectives were other key factors threatening the library service, the Conway report said.</p><p>CILIP said it would be referring the issue of loss of professional posts to government for further investigation, saying: &quot;The report emphasises the importance of professional experience and judgement in planning and delivering effective service.&quot; However it also urged action to redefine professionalism in response to new ways of working, noting that some professional library staff, and CILIP itself, were sometimes seen as inflexible and dated.</p><p>CILIP chief executive Bob McKee said the report was now with Libraries Minister Margaret Hodge. &quot;This is a vital issue for library users and library staff,&quot; he added. &quot;We will continue to press for action at local and national level in recognition of the value that professionalism brings to public library provision.&quot;</p><p>The full report can be read at <a href="http://www.cilip.org.uk/conwayreport" target="_blank" title="www.cilip.org.uk/conwayreport">www.cilip.org.uk/conwayreport</a><br /></p>