CILIPS Autumn Gathering 2012

Carnegie Conference Centre welcomed a record 135 delegates to the #CILIPSAG12 event last week and still we had a waiting list to see and hear a varied programme of speakers!


The ‘literacies’ theme proved to be incredibly popular with our members as did each of the keynote presentations from Hannah Gore, Biddy Fisher and Dughall McCormick.


The parallel sessions were equally popular with Gordon Hunt crying out for more chairs to seat those who had turned up to hear Jennifer Jones discuss social media. The packed session meant that some of us (including me) had to be turned away.


During the course of the day delegates were encouraged to tweet their thoughts, impressions and photos and many did. Richard Hawkins of CILIP kindly created a twitter archive for us which you can view here. (just click ‘archive’ at the bottom to view. Thank you Richard!


Once again, our event was well supported by a range of exhibitors, for which we’re very grateful. There were prizes won too in an afternoon draw including champagne, chocolates and an e-reader.


CILIP CEO Annie Mauger hosted a #shoutabout table over lunch which gave school librarians an opportunity to discuss the sector landscape in Scotland in advance of the lobby taking place at the Scottish Parliament on 27th October.
Feedback is still to be analysed but it looks like most delegates enjoyed a useful and productive day where they were able to encounter and discuss new ideas, engage with suppliers and network with colleagues.

You belong @ your library

Last February libraries and librarians celebrated the first UK National Libraries Day. Over in the USA all this week (8-14April) is designated National Libraries Week  and it’s an event inaugurated over 50 years ago.
The annual celebration of all things ‘library’ features various themes, events and activities all aimed at encouraging people to show their support for libraries and librarians. That’s why one day this week is also designated National Library Workers Day and celebrates the work of information professionals like ourselves.
Coinciding with National Libraries Week is the publication by the ALA of the annual State of America’s Libraries Report  which researches and documents trends and activities across the sectors. This document records issues not dissimilar to those in the UK:

  • Service cuts across all sectors
  • Rise in demand for e-books
  • Increasing use of social media and web 2.0 to support service delivery

Molly Raphael,  President of the ALA, observes that the economic circumstances forcing service reductions are in turn boosting demand for free services such as internet access on offer in libraries and that ‘every service hour lost…translates into lost opportunities to connect people to distance education, employment opportunities and hands on help.’
A fascinating slideshow  put together byPCMag.com illustrates the myriad ways in which libraries and librarians are a good investment and should be celebrated.

There’s lots of food for thought in the report and events to inform our own planning activities for next year’s National Libraries Day in the UK.

Put the @GWLkettle on – CILIPS is coming for tea!

What is Glasgow Women’s Library? That’s what 20 librarians hoped to find out when CILIPS organised a visit and tour of this resource one evening earlier this week. We met guide and fellow librarian, Wendy Kirk, who introduced us to the collection housed at the Mitchell Library in Charing Cross.

The Glasgow Women’s Library is the only resource of its kind in Scotland and is part of the Women’s Information Network of Europe. Its origins lie in a City of Culture initiative and this year it will celebrate its 20th anniversary having been located in Garnethill and Trongate during its long existence. As well as a lending stock Glasgow Women’s Library also has museum status and is home to a collection of memorabilia and archives celebrating women’s history and lives. Everything contained in the collection has been donated – the Library is independent of the public library network and receives no funding for core costs so has to fundraise to develop. Balance is achieved via a sensible acquisitions and disposal policy.

Yet Glasgow Women’s Library is so much more than a collection of books and journals. Around 80 volunteers assist the permanent team of 13 staff in delivering services  to a diverse group of users drawn from the length and breadth of the country.  Learning is at the heart of what the Library offers.  It runs specialised learning programmes and activities including adult literacy and numeracy, guided heritage walks and even film screenings. The website is where  you can get access to the library catalogue as well as a rich resource of other information about the library, its collection, projects and special events.  The highlight of the visit for me (apart from the tea and chocolate biscuits of course) was the collection of ‘Spare Rib’ journals – an essential read  when I was younger. The topics it addressed transported me to my youth.

We were also shown an incredible archive of old knitting patterns and feminist comics and introduced to the learning space where classes take place. All of us had the opportunity to join the Library and some of us left with books borrowed from the collection, after thanking Wendy for  a really interesting and enjoyable visit.

National Libraries Day: In the Loop

People up and down the UK celebrated National Libraries Day on February 4th in a variety of ways from Stephen Fry’s description of them as ‘places of incredible glamour, possibility, power, excitement and pleasure’ to author Julia Donaldson’s protest poem on library closures down south.  Libraries across the nation delivered  special activities to mark the occasion while off duty librarians did their bit too.

Newspapers including the Herald and  Financial Times made the case for the value of libraries to economy and society and set the positive tone for the day ahead – a Glasgow librarithon and shoogle tour called In the Loop!.

In Glasgow, Anabel Marsh, librarian at Strathclyde University Jordanhill Campus developed an idea for a librarithon based around stops on the Glasgow Underground and floated it at a recent tweet up where it generated a lot of interest. In the run up to National Libraries Day librarians, CILIP in Scotland, Glasgow Life and Glasgow Subway all offered to support the initiative resulting in a hugely enjoyable day of fun, culture, learning, exploration and networking.

Glasgow Subways presented participants with ‘shooglebags’ to hold the books we would borrow at each library and they even sent a photographer along to record the event.  STV picked up the story and featured it on their website.

Assisted by our guide, Myra Paterson, a chartership candidate at Glasgow Life who gave up her day off to escort us around four very different service points in Glasgow, we were welcomed with coffee and proud enthusiasm from Doreen, Jo and John who showed us around Hillhead Library, library at GOMA, Partick Library and Gorbals Library on the south side of the river Clyde. Children’s author, Lynne Rickards joined us for part of the tour and for lunch in the west end of Glasgow. Anabel has blogged about the event and about ‘shoogle’ terminology while Lauren Smith, CILIP Vice President, described her experience using lots of pictures. Lynn Corrigan gave us a diary record with photos

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Glasgow Library Tweeps :Tweet Up #GLTU

CILIPS is delighted to help promote an initiative from library tweeter @anabelmarsh. Anabel has been sharpening her tweeting skills since attending a CILIPS organised CPD event led by @Gillianhanlon some time ago.

Anabel has proposed a Tweet Up to take place in Glasgow on Friday 20th January at the Drum and Monkey on St Vincent Street from 5.30pm onwards.  The event is intended to welcome CILIP incoming Vice President @walkyouhome (Lauren Smith) to the city of Glasgow and to meet Scottish library tweeps.

There will also be time to share ideas and suggestions for promoting National Libraries Day on 4th February so if this sounds like an event you’d like to join click here to find out more and sign up.

Post 16 Education Consultation Meeting

SLIC hosted a discussion meeting on 7th December to look closely at the Scottish Government’s proposals for Post 16 Education in Scotland and to help formulate the response. Entitled Putting Learners at the Centre– Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education, the proposals could have far-reaching implications for libraries in different sectors. The summary of proposals was the basis of our debate, which was led by David Scott of Dundee College.

 The concerns raised included:

 Learners

  • This changes the demographic in colleges and younger learners need support.
  • Aspirations of the young people themselves will not be met by what is contained in the paper.
  • Colleges might not be able to offer courses as cheaply as private providers in education market but they offer other things like libraries, careers advice, additional support needs, etc, which the younger learners are even more likely to need that current learners.  Lots of voluntary organisations have pulled out of access level training because of costs and it is unclear if there is a market which is robust, quality and able to pick up slack.
  • Concern was expressed about the higher drop-out rate amongst young learners and the plans to penalise institutions if their retention rates slip.
  • Younger more vulnerable users will mean that libraries have a larger demand as the learners can’t buy resources for themselves and can’t necessarily study at home. It will cost the college more, for example, as they will need more liaison officers to keep students engaged and enrolled.

 Partnership working with other providers for adults

  • Structural changes and reduced capacity will have an impact on vulnerable areas and groups where previously they have been well-served by local authority community learning and development provision and this helps keep people in learning.
  • Need to look at the profile of 16-19 year olds on a regular basis to ensure that the real problems are being addressed and the type of library service who support these individuals may be very different from the types of services we currently plan to provide or do provide.
  • The vulnerable group of youths are the ones to have concerns about – they won’t go to college who don’t have skills or confidence and they will suffer disproportionately. They need a special type of support and they can’t be shoe horned into the wrong institutions or they will fail to survive and retention rate drops will be punished. The library staff are the ones who sit down with them to do a literature search or who work with them at a pace which suits their learning style better.
  • They lack confidence and skills and won’t go to local colleges even if it’s down the road because they don’t think they’re good enough. Strategies will need to focus on who the learners are.

 Regionalisation

  • Most people will travel for specialisms but this has an impact on people in terms of time and money. In many parts of Scotland learners are often local and take a pick from the curriculum because they are looking for a local solution.
  • Economic deprivation is a real issue because the transport costs aren’t refunded at a time which makes it possible for families to support the learners in the meantime.
  • Budget cuts are driving a regionalisation agenda and makes the delivery of curriculum and qualifications much more focused.
  • Progression routes of access to education at any age affected by this.
  • Non-certificated courses will be one area greatly affected, if this is introduced, and this is the starting point for many, before they develop the skills and confidence to progress into formal education.
  • The issues about IPR, copyright and licensing are considerable when sharing resources/VLEs across regions.
  • Teaching joint course might be an attractive option but it doesn’t necessarily mean a cost reduction and there are huge issues about support and quality.
  • The licensing models haven’t changed so it might be useful for Scottish Government to help pressure change by the publishers. SHEDL is a model but it is under pressure and expansion will be limited as the straightforward publishers’ content is already included and the licensing for other services/publishers will be much harder to negotiate.

 Learning

  • Concern as expressed about a narrowing of the curriculum and education is defined as narrow vocationalism.
  • Need for consistency of decision making about funding for the same courses across Scotland and there were example around the table of variation.
  • Capacity in colleges, the community, local authorities, private and third sector is all reduced, so clear routes and funding for those outside the main college focus need to have other alternatives.
  • This requires funding support for courses other than core skills or qualifications over SCQF level 6.

Rhona Arthur, Assistant Director

New Economic Reality

This conference, rather ironically held in the plush surroundings of the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh’s financial quarter, provided a range of high level speakers to address the age of austerity and where and how to fill the deficit gap. The main focus was the Independent Budget Review published by a group led by Crawford Beveridge CBE. Commissioned by the Scottish Government, the report was published in July 2010. There weren’t many laughs in the content – a reduction in the block grant, declining outcomes in education and health despite a higher per capita spend and unaffordable levels of public sector pensions. Robert Black, Auditor General, has been widely quoted in the press, said at the conference we should have prepared for this sooner and to be prepared for a long hard financial winter. A range of other distinguished speakers followed talking sacrifice of sacred cows and putting forward their cases for continued investment. Douglas Sinclair of Consumer Focus Scotland pointed out that all of this was service-centric and failed to take into account the needs of the citizen. Martin Woodrow of the British Medical Association defended ring-fencing health strongly, but failed to secure the support of any of the 200+ delegates.

The most striking speaker was Professor Frances Ruane of Ireland’s Economic and Social Research Institute who spoke bluntly about Irish solutions and the impact on the economy and individuals and put forward a plea for a monitoring body to measure rolling fairness. The idea is to avoid the same group in society being hit repeatedly by cuts. A panel of representatives for the five political parties gave their views on what they might protect or sacrifice first. Brian Adam MSP spoke for the Scottish Government saying they want to ringfence health budget and protect concessionary travel, free personal care and no rise in the Council tax. The sell-off of Scottish Water is also planned with significant financial benefits, although this will take time. Other solutions suggested are scrapping the Borders Railway and other large public projects. The bad news is that public sector workers account for 60% of the Government expenditure and so years of pay freezes, reductions in staffing by natural wastage, non-compulsory and compulsory redundancies face Scotland. The political parties are all developing their manifestos at the moment and Frances Ruane advised that they all agree on a savings figure and say clearly how they intend to achieve that. As Robert Black says ‘do nothing is not an option’.