Search This Blog

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Speak up!

CPD 23 Thing 16 is about advocacy for the profession.  I must admit that as an individual I have not been much involved in the Save Libraries campaign. Of course in a passive and theoretical way I support it wholeheartedly but it has not really moved me to any action.  The details of all the cuts that are going on in the public sector have not filtered through into my sphere and I have not been out searching for them. If that is the case for a librarian I can imagine how little Joe Public gets to hear. I am aware that to really become invested I need to seek out more information about individual cases to really tug at the old heartstrings but on a practical note, I would still only support a cause if I was convinced (be it rightly or wrongly) that a certain library has been providing a relevant, forward looking, and adaptable service. However, I understand that I should be making it my business and I shall endeavour to do so, beginning with following the Voices for the Library campaign.
 Advocacy for rare books collections is something that affects me more particularly in my current role and my main reason for my membership of the HLF is the work they do in supporting at-risk historic libraries and collections. Of course these issues cross the broad professional spectrum, including the public sector; in these hard financial times it is more important than ever that we justify our rare books because some people see these star items as potential money makers, as was the case at Cardiff.
Convincing people of the value of libraries is why advocacy goes hand-in-hand with service delivery and outreach.  At the moment these are things we are particularly working on, with the opening of a new gallery space, a model by which we hope to make our exhibition spaces more accessible to the public, further reaching advertising, and a teaching programme with our own students, that is just about reaching the maximum our staff numbers can deal with.  To turn this in to useful proof for our case I think we now need to start monitoring the effect all of these new developments are having on the use and usefulness of our service.