Return of National Libraries Day

Return of National Libraries Day

Hundreds of events are planned to mark National Libraries Day (NLD) on 9th February, but campaigners are concerned that, once again, not all library authorities are getting actively involved.

Mark Taylor of the Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals (CILIP), which is co-ordinating the event, said the organisation  was "really pleased" with this year’s response. "Lots of new events are being added to the NLD events map on a daily basis and there has been a huge amount of support from the grassroots," he said. "To anybody that isn't taking part, we would encourage them to get involved. NLD is about celebrating the value and importance of all types of libraries and library staff. It is a great opportunity to show off the amazing work being done by librarians every day and a chance for libraries to strengthen their bonds with their communities."

Kent County Council was criticised last year for not taking part, but has a range of events to mark NLD this year. Kent Libraries strategic manager Sue Sparks said: "NLD is the perfect opportunity to celebrate everything Kent has to offer."

However, Ian Clark of librarian campaign group Voices for the Library commented: "National Libraries Day is the best way for library authorities to come together and promote the service as a whole... despite the great success of last year, with people from across the country celebrating the many different manifestations of the library service, it is disappointing to learn that many authorities still do not seem to grasp (or perhaps even care) what National Libraries Day is all about." He added that a number of authorities were holding events that were "essentially their normal weekly events (rhyme times, story times etc) dressed up as National Libraries Day events, which is not quite the same thing."

Lincolnshire is one of those authorities not marking the occasion. Jonathan Platt, head of libraries and heritage for Lincolnshire, said: "Here in Lincolnshire we celebrate our libraries all year round, and frequently hold events that appeal to all our users. Although we've been involved in NLD in the past, we're unfortunately unable to take part in this year's celebrations because we're putting our new library management system in place. This is a complex and time-consuming job, so our staff are having to focus their efforts on that."

A spokesperson for the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL)  said: "SCL is very supportive of NLD, and was one of the main organisers at the day's inception. SCL strongly encourages all public libraries to participate, and as far as we've heard back via our network, all libraries are participating."