Hamilton heads north for new policy exchange initiative

Last month SLIC and CILIPS held their first policy exchange briefing – an ongoing programme of meetings in communities – where we can engage face to face with stakeholders and members. These events give us an opportunity to provide updates on policy initiatives affecting libraries and to receive direct comment, questions and feedback on member priorities and concerns.

Armed with a presentation provided by SLIC/CILIPS Director, Elaine Fulton, I set off for Aberdeen University Library  accompanied by Marilyn Milligan, Chair of CILIPS Council and SLIC Board member.   There we were welcomed by members of Grampian Information who had turned out on a fine summer evening to meet with us.

Elaine’s presentation helped clarify the key differences between SLIC and CILIPS in terms of roles and responsibilities, discussed how SLIC work relates to Scottish Government priorities and explored the challenges facing libraries and the information profession in the economic downturn. We shared views, opinions and lively discussion as the group explored the possible consequences of a period of life changing cuts and structural reform of public services.

Concerns were expressed regarding the continuing value of chartership in the context of ‘Big Society’ discussions and in particular proposals contained in the recent KPMG report Payment for Success that volunteers might run libraries; there was enthusiasm for a proposal that SLAINTE host an on line learning platform to help alleviate difficulties in getting people out of the workplace for training and there was a call to get all sectors working collaboratively on advocating libraries in advance of next year’s Scottish election.

Was our policy exchange a successful and worthwhile initiative?  From SLIC/CILIPS point of view, Marilyn and I left Aberdeen armed with key messages from the ‘front line’ which can be used by CILIPS/SLIC for manifesto building as we approach the 2011 election; CILIPS has a list of CPD suggestions for development, and each organisation got an opportunity to engage face to face to air views, discuss concerns and answer questions.  Grampian Information tells us their feedback from the event was positive so we’d like to thank everyone involved in organisation of the event and look forward to future policy exchange briefings around the country.

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