This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Charlotte Rose New Local Government Network (NLGN) February 15th, 2011 http://j.mp/g1QBI4 The comment was however judged to be too long to publish, and so I have resubmitted a comment in the form of a synopsis which includes a link to the full reply (uploaded here). In essence my argument is that the current round of cuts in library services (UK, 2011) has revealed mismanagement by the librarians in charge of the service in that 1) they are not strategically managing the service in the context of today's technologies (the service is being held back in a Web 1.0 era with a Victorian service model), and 2) librarians have failed to communicate the value of the public libraries to the public; we have had 150 years of public libraries in the UK, there is considerable literature, although no by means currently fully researched, but a sufficient body of knowledge to be able to communicate to the public the invaluable worth of the libraries; furthermore this is one of the most exciting times for the libraries in its history (the society context), and librarians have failed to communicate this to the public also. I also (thirdly) suggest that the community libraries are being mismanaged in that tactically i) Reader Development, and ii) deskilling the front line were mistakes, that Reader Development should have been placed within the context of the strategic management of the community library (a highly skilled task). ~~~ I've said myself in a comment to a blog post recently that I am not sure how much longer public libraries can continue without change and as a tradition alone - but a volunteer run library would be the final nail in the coffin for this very same reason - a volunteer run library I think would continue on the Victorian model, it would take a professional librarian library manager to know what changes the library needed to make to change with the changing society around. If anyone in a community wanted to do something useful it could maybe be to make sure they had such a librarian running their library, not to run it themselves. The Big Society is about getting corruption out of authority and responsibility (about the only reason accept perhaps to contribute significant expertise to the public good anyone would otherwise have the time to do anything voluntarily), running a service yourself towards this end is a bit drastic. The danger with shared facilities is that professional be watered down, the library losing its worth (instead worth), accelerating the end of the public libraries. without professional staff is going to go the same way libraries for the same reason given above. staff will also of gaining A library as volunteer
The model seems to be emerging that the libraries are seen as no more than a public repository/ warehouse for (paper) books, that will in the future be replaced by the Internet and ebooks ... and currently in the process of winding down at a stage where volunteers and customer service staff can manage what demand there is remaining for books and the library.
The reason why librarians have failed the public is that librarians have not brought the libraries into the modern age; a technological powerhouse, evolving internally (progressing its knowledge of library management), with a mission of the literary arts and the knowledge of our culture. Either librarians have not done this, or they are being very slow about it. They have failed to give the purse holders (the public) a credible vision for the future, other than the Victorian image of the past. Anyway, from a library assistant (with a modicum of supervisory management training) perspective, a few basic expectations (very much off the top of my head, and only skimming the surface really) given the context: On the frontline... ...Putting staff in the central/community libraries on the end of a Skype etc. connection ...Public facing staff with public facebook pages etc. (this would enable staff to offer a service that does not end at the person leaving the counter); a personal librarian/ library assistant ...Library apps for facebook, Android/ iPhone etc. (library resources could be made much more useful to people with these) ...A for example (typically rotating) bibliotherapy display/ collection should include 'the web' in with this resource - to not to in this day and age (we have had the web for 20 years now), is to say to the public that the library's terms-of-reference are paper books only, the web is entirely your own concern is this the correct response in the age we live in? ...I noted a course recently on the Internet (run on the Internet, by way of a comment I attended a course in Second Life that had a global attendance recently): 'Advanced use of personal knowledge tools' http://j.mp/gz1GvL - I expect our libraries to run these courses for the public ...I would have expected the subject of autodidacticism to be very much on the surface in this day and age (Seth Godin, we need libraries: "who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others" http://j.mp/hQvkfZ - people do not nowadays spend their free time in the pub and digging the allotment) ...digital literacy has gone way beyond Web 1.0, libraries have yet to move into the 2.0 era ...Author visits, etc. opened up as webinars and recorded (I'm sure the details of this can be worked out) ...Library Management Systems employing opensource software and/or opened up to the public otherwise, and the public encouraged to participate in what are becoming known as 'mashup' events (creating programs) ...Web 2.0 has brought a new body of literature, fundamental assumptions about copyright are now in ruins, we have new models of learning (e.g., "Harnessing collective intelligence", http://cultr.me/fqPPcN), etc.; as our experts in the field we expect our librarians to assess these changes and inform the public of that assessment ...A rethink of strategy for the Peoples' Network, which would include technology "at the service of books" (Yann Martel), but also Web 2.0 ('Literacy 2.0') Management of community libraries (per se)...
...Public libraries have made a past mistake in choosing reader development over strategic community library management, the mission is reader development (as @gluejar recently phrased this: 'I think many libraries are confused about their "brand". Should be "reading" not "books".'), but it should have been done from an angle of the strategic management of the community library (efficiency is doing things in the most economic way, but effectiveness is doing the right things - a step I think that has been missing, and an emphasis on the strategic management of the community library would put this key step back in) ...A flattening of the organization (a more skilled frontline staff) in past decades the library has become increasingly bureaucratic (frontline library managers should be trained at a strategic manager level, being in a position to make a great deal of difference to a community, and paid accordingly, i.e., more than One Stop Shop manager's operational skills) From the inside out... ...Libraries need to assess information on the web, the preferred media of the community a library serves, and where their collections overlap with the web, and adjust its collection accordingly, strategically managing finance accordingly ...Should libraries start to bring out-of-copyright and free ebooks onto its servers, and how does this impact on the collection (ebook readers would need to be provided to access this collection) ...How can technologies be used internally (in organization and management terms); it's almost managerial gross misconduct that in some library authorities staff cannot access social networking (or even the Internet Archive) on staff computers (Web 2.0 has added a great deal to our culture and literature how can a library assistant introduce the public to that culture if they cannot access the websites themselves) From the top down... ...I'm getting the nagging feeling that there is maybe somewhere between 10%-30+% of the community using technology which the libraries are still not using, and this number will only increase - are libraries starting to fall behind? ...A visible technology management strategy (there is a quite considerable resource of knowledge on this subject); chief librarians should have been able to give the PM an immediate answer to his question in this exchange in the House http://j.mp/h7ecok my own answer was along the lines of strategies for the peoples' network, discovery software, ebooks, LIS research (technology,wise), LMS software, etc. ...Positioning the DDC, LCSH, even BIC subject headings, on the computers in front of the public, the tremendous resource of WorldCat as well; the current business model for these products is still in the Victorian era, but it is librarians and library management whom it falls on to sort this out ...ebooks have the potential to lift society up to a new level, however publishers are currently not allowing libraries to use ebooks; the business model needs sorting out, and it is again librarians who have this task ...The libraries need to at this point be engaged in a great deal of R&D, with research identified as a need, both in applying new technologies (until all potential usefulness has been exhausted), but also in the strategic management of the community library ...The libraries need to at this point be engaged in a great deal of R&D, with research identified as a need, both in applying new
technologies (until all potential usefulness has been exhausted), but also in the strategic management of the community library ...Libraries should at this point I think be talking about the Knowledge Society ("A society that creates, shares and uses knowledge for the prosperity and well-being of its people.") ...Research on what has been learned from the past 150 years of the public library to understand the value of the public libraries in this day and age (this is the current level of understanding on this subject I think, it is now needed); the library is of value in every context in our lives, we need to understand this more ...Maybe a small strategic team advising the public on the value of the libraries to society - a group that would include and be in direct contact with both academics in the field but also with a direct line to the public assessing their expectations and experiences on the ground The future... ...Web 3.0, bringing some organization to this mass of tangled hyperlinks that is Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, hypothetical and very much experimental at this stage, but it is the librarians I am expecting to do this ...I would hope that the libraries could say to the traditional and older library users that their library will continue to serve their needs as best it can, but that also there is an exciting future for the libraries for the younger generation - these youngsters are going to be able to use their libraries in new and exciting ways that their parents never could ...When a person walks into a local library that they have quite possibly walked to they have a cross section of Western culture laid out before them and a selection of the best writing we have (also research shows that information transfers a lot more quickly than in electronic form paper form) - librarians will be held to count if we lose this in the electronic age, how do they propose to maintain the standards we are used to here ...The public need to be reassured that while a library's community values are still for paper books ebooks will not replace them (e.g., for cost reasons) ...Libraries in the context of crime in society ('recorded and unreported', as well as Police statistics); libraries could/need to make some inroads into this (the subject of non-readers) ...The idea of 'reader's block' seems a promising and useful direction to pursue, instead of pretending this does not exist, do something useful for the community! In a nutshell, I wouldn't be the first person to say that the current age is one of the most exciting times for librarianship (Dave Lankes http://j.mp/f3U2V6 ), but what have we got: "The greatest danger to our future is apathy." (Jane Goodall) Librarians have an issue to answer to in letting the libraries decline while we live in an age of the Knowledge Society. If I can as a library assistant see that this is one of the most exciting ages and times for the libraries - what on earth are the chief librarians and qualified librarians doing? (A question that if conspiracy theories are not to start sprouting it might be just as well to answer - e.g., it has been reported recently that it is chief librarians closing libraries, not councilors (Tim Coates))
The London Evening Standard reports: Our libraries are outdated but they can still survive http://j.mp/hOuz9F I think that is about it, but it is currently looking as though they will be taken back to the times of the 1960s and prior to the 1964 libraries Act. No thanks to our qualified librarians communicating to the public how exciting an era for libraries the current times are, and the potential value to the public of their libraries in the age we live in. ~~~
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.