Library Campaigns: are we all inside the tent?

I’ll be taking part in this event on 25th February:

SINTO Executive briefing
Friday 25th February 2011. 2pm – 5pm.  Sheffield Hallam University
£30 + VAT for practicing librarians.  Free for members of the public. Booking is required.

Library services are facing cuts and this is giving rise to a range of campaigning bodies fighting these cuts. Local and national “Save our Libraries” groups are taking to the streets to defend services and bodies such as CILIP are taking a stronger role in advocacy.

Librarians are heartened by this support – but all is not harmony and light. There are divisions and disagreements between different groups and individuals.

Library managers may find that their plans to make the library service more efficient are seen by local residents as cuts which have to be opposed. Community groups may have a view of what they want from their local library which conflicts with the wider ambitions of professional librarians.

Not everyone sees the problem, or the solution, in the same way. Tim Coates with his Good Library campaign has been one of the highest profile library campaigners in recent times. However he has been very critical of the role of organisations such as MLA and CILIP, and also of the policies of library managers. In turn, many librarians have been critical of Tim’s views and approach. At times, the standard of public debate has been less than professional.

The aim of this SINTO Executive briefing is to increase awareness and understanding of the different positions and hopefully to find ways in which we can work together more effectively in fighting cuts. It is aimed at professional librarians and library campaigners with an interest in working together. It is a controversial issue but one which the library profession and library campaigners need to engage with.

The briefing will be chaired by Alan Gibbons, author and founder of the Campaign for the Book.

Speakers will include:

Tim Coates. Former bookseller who has become a well-known advocate for improvements in public-library service.

Annie Mauger. Chief Executive of CILIP, the professional body for librarians.

Lauren Smith. Spokesperson for Voices for the Library and Save Doncaster Libraries.

All participants in this event are asked to abide by the CILIP Code of Professional Practice section 3C:

“Refer to colleagues in a professional manner and not discredit or criticise their work unreasonably or inappropriately.”

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