The SINTO Members' Day went very well with about 35 attendees. I will post brief reports of the presentations starting with the keynote speach by Roy Clare CBE, Chief executive of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.
Roy Clare began by highlighting some of the uncertainties facing the library profession. We are approaching a public finance "Grand Canyon" at some time in the near future. The nature and policy agenda of the next Government is uncertain and the nation as a whole is not at ease with itself and is divided.
Libraries have a key role to play in bridging this divide and helping with lack of attainment etc, but are we making the most of this opportunity? Roy referred to the Cultural Olympiad and the Stories of the World project.
Roy said that his experience of visiting library authorities was that there was a contrast between examples of creativity & energy on the one hand and complacency on the other. He gave an example of a sign outside a library that had several letter missing - and they had obviously been missing for some time.
There was a growing "technology gap" as information technology takes over from the physical places as the main source of information. When Roy attended the Wirral enquiry he was impressed by the extent to which the local community wanted and needed physical access to a library collection. However in some circumstances this need could be met by alternatives to the branch library such as small collections co-located in post offices or other community centres.
Following his presentation Roy answered questions about the use of volunteers in libraries and the feasibility of a single library card.