Friday, August 27, 2010

Can the social web save the public libraries in Britain?

I was interested to see that Mumsnet has started a thread entitled to think that we NEED libraries? This is horrific.. I had only heard about Mumsnet prior to the UK election of 2010.
Mumsnet had been responding to the threat that public libraries are presently facing.
I had noted that the good library blog had noted mumsnets interest in public libraries in a post earlier this week.
But who are mumsnet? Well its described as :-

a British community website set up by mothers to give advice on parenting and family issues.

As said previously, I had only learnt of Mumsnet during the last election, when they seemed to become the new essex man of political punditry and/or poor journalism.
Not all of the talk about mumsnet though was always positive though.
Mumsnet seems to me to also be a support group for parents and family members. Discussing the needs, advantages and disadvantages of parenting. In discussing the fear of public library closures seems a fairly symbiotic relationship, in that for those who work in public libraries, will know that parents are regular users of libraries. Many parents may bring there kids for childrens hour or to get books for there homework. Or so they can use it for free internet access and homework clubs.
But can the social web help us in stopping closures?
Well, yes and no. I do think mumsnet could be a useful tool in assisting in bring these closures to the forefront of politicans. Mumsnet, as said previously was very much seen as important to politicans in the last election. So there support is needed.
But I did not this comment on the mumsnet post:-

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Sat 21-Aug-10 14:16:28
Would MN like to run a campaign on this?

Thats not good then, if they can't start a campaign on the site.
I also feel you would need greater support from other high end users (say kids, schools, pensioners). The support and iniative of other librarians and users to would help.
Anyhow, its the weekend. Enjoy.

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