Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Two articles dealing with the impact of UK library closures

The IWR has an article entitled Evolution Yes, Closures No. The article though is rather shallow when it says:-

Technology has enabled the whole search and acquisition process to become more hassle-free and less time-consuming for customers and what’s more, the migration of content to e-book format means that libraries can now produce substantial revenues without having to stock physical books.

I think the author would find libraries have e-content and have had e-content for quite a while.

The second article is from the False Economy blog entitled “Too precious to destroy” – Philip Pullman stands up for public libraries [found via Neil Ford on twitter]. In this more emotive. Pullman says in the article:-

Aside from denigrating the professionalism of librarians, Philip wonders where the volunteers will come from.

“The fact is that if there’s anyone who has the time and the energy to work for nothing in a good cause, they are already working for one....This is the Big Society, you see. It must be big, to contain so many volunteers.”

And will richer and poorer communities be equal in the race for funds? Of course not. The cuts to public libraries reflect the growing power of the “greedy ghost of market fundamentalism”:

“The greedy ghost understands profit all right. But that’s all he understands... He doesn’t understand libraries at all, for instance. That branch – how much money did it make last year? Why aren’t you charging higher fines? Why don’t you charge for library cards?”

Both worth a read if you have time.

Good article on progress in UK and specifically Yorkshire and library closures

Simon Barron has a great post over on his blog entitled North Yorkshire library campaign progress. Although for many people that may read this (and Simon's blog), will know what has been going on with library campaigns in the UK and Yorkshire, its a good source for the past week who haven't been able to keep up with it.

Thanks also to Simon and Dave Pattern for there assistance on the Wiki page. I'm trying to do more but have been busy at work and as yet not completed (or fully started) the page.

Nesta Event......another I can't go to.......

Nesta has an event next Tuesday, February 01, 2011 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM entitled The Livingstone-Hope Skills Review of Video Games and Visual Effects, with free registration.

Nesta says of the event:-

You are invited to the launch of a major new report into the UK's video games and visual effect industries.

Based on original evidence across schools, universities and industry, the Livingstone-Hope Review explores how the UK can best encourage and develop UK talent and sets out a compelling plan for how the UK can transform into a world leader in games production and visual effects.

Speakers will include Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communication and the Creative Industries; Ian Livingstone, Life President of Eidos and Alex Hope, Managing Director of Double Negative.

Be interesting to go just because Ed Vaisey is there.

Haggis and Mash today and tomorrow

Haggis and Mash is being held today in Edinburgh. I have a colleague who has gone (have a good one Andrew). I unfortunately could not make it, and doubt i'll catch much on Twitter either, as presently am postboy this week at work. oh, the delights.
For all those there, have a good one.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I have started a wikipedia page for Voices of the Library

Whilst on a couple days leave I noted that Voices of the Library had no Wikipedia page. So I have started one here. Its merely the bear bones and a work in progress, but anyone want to add or take anything off please do (its a wiki after all!).

The reason I put it up is wikipedia is always a resource used to promote films etc, so why not Voices of the Library? I hope this doesn't annoy any of the sterling team that is working on Voices of the Library. If it does. Sorry.

BBC in Epicfail on public library closures in Morning news

Waking to the BBC breakfast news, I was interested in the piece on the public library closures. After watching it i'm more disheartened by the ineptitude of the BBC's reporting (iplayer piece here, thanks to wikiman). I thought the BBC was about balanced and fair reporting? Well I was wrong.
The report looked at the possible 375 closures countrywide. Mentioned the 250,000 drop in users. The second statement is total wrong. As Ned Potter wrote:-

For example, in the last year use of the library by black and
ethnic minority groups has increased; use of the library
by non-Christian religious people has increased; and the
number of 5 to 10 year olds who claim to have visited
their library ‘in the last week’ has increased (by more than
20%!). In other words, even during a down-turn in overall
visitation, kids and some minority groups are finding more
reasons to visit than before – I think that’s good news…
Incidentally, the report says more than once, ‘The decrease
in library visits is consistent across all socio-demographic
groups.’ Maybe I’m missing something, but that seems
quite a sweeping statement in light of the statistics above.
If the report itself glosses over any positives, what hope is
there of the headlines picking up on anything other than
the negatives?
In May, three months before the DCMS released their
report, the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and
Accountancy released their own survey (CIPFA, 2010)
on exactly the same subject, amid far less fanfare. Their
findings cover the same five year period, but make much
better reading. Both surveys find physical attendance to be
down by around 4%; the difference is, CIPFA took the time
to investigate online activity as well. This, they discovered,
was up by a massive 49% across the country in the last year

The BBC then BRIEFLY mentioned the closures in Gloucester (even though it had spoken to friends of gloucestershire libraries about this segment of news). It then proceeded to mention the Buckinghamshire experiment in which 14 of the libraries are now volunteer run. A few questions were asked if user liked it and they said it was fine (thanks BBC, a free party political broadcast for big society there). They then asked the person in charge of the volunteers if it worked. He said yes, but that it took 60 volunteers, free time and pre-requisite skillset. A brief mention was then made of Stony Stratford patrons withdrawing all library books to stop the library closing.

That was it.

No mentions of people trying to stop these closures. Like Voices of the library, Save Doncaster Libraries, Barnet Libraries, Save Somerset's Libraries amongst others. No mention was made of the use of Twitter support for libraries snowballs worldwide. The whole social web and everything that librarians and patrons have done, totally ignored even though they contacted some of these people.

Funny really, that when the BBC had to close Radio 6 the BBC loved pointing out people trying to stop the closure, using the voice of Jarvis Cocker to do so. No mention of the open letter by authors such as Philip Pullman, Kate Mosse & Michael Holroyd against closures.

Anyhow, for those who wish to complain about this dire reporting the link is here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bookseller has launched a website against public library closures

Bookseller the British magazine reporting news on the publishing industry, has started a facebook page against closures entitled Fight For Libraries, campaign from The Bookseller. They also have a twitter address to.
The article says:-

The Facebook site hosts a manifesto and a set of demands, with The Bookseller supporting the calls for a national public enquiry into the library service, demanding a halt to the unfair and disproportionate targeting of libraries for cuts, and calling for the 1964 Libraries Act to be observed in letter and spirit. It also has a poll asking people to commit to supporting libraries.

"Libraries are under threat right now. A library lost today will not be re-opened tomorrow - the book trade has to take a stand," added Denny. "Please use the site to see what is going on and update it with developments in your own area. We'd like you to engage with our Facebook page, let us know who you are, give us your views and post useful links. Our campaign can offer a focal point for all interested parties and thereby form a stronger voice together."

Good to see the publishing industry getting behind librarians against library closures.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Allan Cho post on Library 2.0

Allan Cho of Allan's Library blog has a post entitled Librarian 2.0? in which he points to a recent paper entitled Becoming 'Librarian 2.0': The Skills, Knowledge, and Attributes Required by Library and Information Science Professions in a Web 2.0 World (and Beyond) by Helen Patridge, Julie Lee, and Carrie Munro. I've not read the article (as i'm not at work and can get the publication there). Cho says :-

he authors' methodology is simple: focus groups of about 81 librarians to discuss what they think defines "Librarian 2.0." Although diverse, the answers are unnervingly clear and concise. He then list the six things that are 'unnervingly clear'. But I won't list them, as Alan puts them more concisely.

The Shallows, a book to read in my opinion

I have just finished Nicholas Carr's new book The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember. The book looks at the impact of our use of the internet upon our brain. The book also looks at how we have used our brains in the past in using books and even how Aristotle was against the written word. The book also looked at Neurological studies about how the brain trains itself to collect data from bboks, learning and the internet.
In looking at the Internet, Carr note's how the brain can not keep its mind on doing one thing, and how we multi-task. Also, how the Kindle is not just a Book in electronic form, but changes the whole way we read.
Really fantastc book that cheered me up (not). Hopefully, my next book, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) will cheer me up?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Prospero books, Crouch end closes

I was in Crouch End on Thursday and saw that Prospero Books had closed. It is a real shame, as it was a really small book shop, its such a gutter. I hate book shops closing.

The library game

Speak Quietly blog has a post about a Librarian game described as follows:-

Shelving books may not sound very sporty, but if you have ever wondered how fast can you shelve a cart of books, then there’s now an app for that.

Last October, my wife and I began working with a developer to create a game just for librarians. The game is called “Sheleved” and it went live last week.

The game features three different modes of play: LOC, Dewey, and Alphabetical.

Its available on the Ipod and Ipad.

Happy 10th anniversary Wikipedia

As many of you will know, Wikipedia is 10 years old today. Therefore, happy anniversary to all those who work on wikipedia.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cornish libraries closures not this year

Having previously mentioned closures within Cornwall public libraries, the Lanson Boy blog with the headline Cornwall Libraries 'not safe beyond this year'. In the article he writes:-

Cornwall's 29 libraries are not safe beyond the coming financial year. This was the statement made by Council Cabinet Member Joan Symons at today's full council meeting and confirms what Liberal Democrats have been warning for some time - that branches may have to close in order to meet Tory budget needs.

As I have blogged previously, the Council wants to make two sets of savings from the libraries and one stop shops budget. For the coming financial year, the plans are to make savings by moving one stop shops into library buildings and by buying books in a different way.

British Library hosts 2-day Wikimedia Editathon event

Maybe late in the day but the British library is holding a British Library hosts 2-day Wikimedia Editathon this friday and Saturday (14.01.11 to 15.01.11). The site says of the event:-

Wikimedia and British Library join forces to improve content relevant to the Library on Wikipedia

The British Library, home to some of the world’s unique printed and written collections, is hosting a two-day Wikipedia ‘editathon’ on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 January. Co-organised by Wikimedia UK and the Library’s new Digital Research & Curator team, the event is aimed at sharing the expertise of real-world cultural institutions with wiki-knowledge. Details about the event can be found here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Belated new year wishes

I have only recently returned from Germany, and as yet not done any blogging, but just thought I'd wish everyone a happy new year.