Sunday, 9 February 2014

Not another bloody report!

A good way of not taking action in government is to launch an inquiry, review, commission or report and in relation to public libraries this is exactly what has happened over and over again. I've lost count on how many inquiries, reviews and reports etc there have been from the 'distributive' leadership in 'LibraryLand' over the last few years, at least a couple of dozen i would think? They say the same things and make the same noises but do nothing, or very little, to safeguard or develop libraries.

Now we have a jointly commissioned report by the DCMS and the DCLG chaired by William Sieghart (chaired the recent e-lending and public libraries review). The report will focus on;

  • What are the core principles of a public library into the future?
  • Is the current model of delivery the most comprehensive and efficient? and
  • What is the role of community libraries?

And the 'expert' panel will be made up of;

Sue Charteris - a Public Policy Consultant famous for leading the inquiry in to library closures in the Wirral
Janene Cox - Current Chair of the Society of Chief Librarians (soon to be replaced by Ciara Eastell)
Luke Johnson - Chairman of Risk Capital Partners.
Roly Keating - CEO of the British Library.
Caroline Michel - Chief Executive Peters Fraser & Dunlop.
Stephen Page - Chief Executive Faber & Faber.
Joanna Trollope - Author

So as you can see a really representative, 'independent' (whatever that means?) bunch. What might strike you is the omissions of CILIP and ACE but what is really sickening is that there is no real voice for users, frontline staff, unions or campaigners.

It looks to me that this has been set up to give the government more time to cut, close and divest libraries and to deliver a report broadly in line with policy, a rubber stamp. for more comment see;

I would however urge everyone who supports libraries to submit evidence to, i'm not sure what good it will do but we've got to keep up the pressure. As the Library Campaign puts it;

"The Library Campaign urges all who care about libraries to contact the inquiry. And to tell the minister we are sick of his inaction."


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