There's a myth being banded around 'libraryworld' by the so called 'modernisers', the 'neoliberals', the 'transfromation' merchants, of the '21st Century Library'; a vision of things to come, the library of the future, the 'Holy Grail' of service delivery models! Everything we have done in the past is outdated and wrong and library staff are too blame, we haven't been innovative, creative or 'modern' enough!
http://www.culture.gov.uk/news/news_stories/8378.aspx - A library service for the 21st century
http://www.goscl.com/libraries-of-the-21st-century-scl-launches-four-national-offers-for-public-libraries/ - Libraries of the 21st Century: The Society of Chief Librarians have this morning set out their vision for the future of public libraries
http://www.progressonline.org.uk/2011/12/19/a-vision-for-a-21st-century-library/ - A vision for a 21st century library
The year by year drop in user and issue stats is down to our inability to grasp the 'Brave New World' of online buying and new technologies; our failure to give the public what they want, even though the majority want exactly what we are providing only better resourced, has led to our downfall! We are not 'customer focussed' enough, we have a 'slacks and trainers mentality', we don't understand the realities of the market place, we need to 'rebrand', 'transform', 're-invent' and slim down!
Well lets get one thing clear, it's reactionary, reductionist bollocks!
We all know that underinvestment, a lack of leadership, poor staff training, opportunities and development and the sidelining of libraries through adopting a market/retail led agenda then handing the remit over to a politically controlled organisation, the Arts Council, so far out of its depth it needs breathing apparatus and oh yes and that little thing called 'false austerity' that a government to the right of 'Atilla the Hun' has chosen to hit the poor, the working classes, the Public Sector and the Unions with is too blame for the crisis! But oh no we still get fed the bullshit and the sad thing is we swallow it with a "mustn't grumble" "cuts need to happen" unquestioning acceptance!
I'm all for change and innovation, don't get me wrong but not if its forced, doesn't fit with our ethos (ethos remember that?) and not what users/members (users/members remember them?) want or need!