Friday, 18 September 2009

Libraries vs Recession

The SINTO seminar Libraries vesus Recession looks at how libraries can help their local communities during the economic downturn.

When we were planning this event we were going to call it "Libraries and the credit crunch". The crunch turned into a downturn and then into a recession. We now seem to be coming out of the recession but the effects on individuals, businesses and communities will be long lasting. All politicians are talking about cuts in Government expenditure and that means cuts in services.

Libraries will no doubt suffer their share of cuts, but this seminar looks at what libraries can do to help their local communities. At a simple level libraries can help by providing free or low cost services such as book loans and Internet access, but this seminar will look at the information and advice services that libraries can deliver.

The seminar will start with a presentation by Christene Rooney-Browne author of an article Rising to the challenge: a look at the role of public libraries in times of recession (Library Review 2009 58(5) 341-352).

Robert Matthews of the Financial Services Authority will talk about their financial capability programme which aims to help people to manage their finances. He will discuss how libraries can contribute to this programme.

Speakers from Jobcentre Plus and Business Link Yorkshire will explain the services and information they offer to the unemployed and small businesses.

In a workshop, David Lindley of the Libraries Agency will focus on the role libraries already play, and the need to communicate this more effectively at local level (there's quite a lot of national advocacy going on) to ensure libraries are not overlooked when it comes to fighting for their fair share of dwindling resources.

In another workshop Tim Davies of Rotherham Libraries will lead an exchange of experience session. Bring along examples of what your library service is doing to share with colleagues.

Overall, the seminar will not only show librarians how they can expand their services to their communities but will give us an opportunity to show the speakers how we can work with other agencies.

Delegates will be welcomed to the seminar by Cllr Sylvia Dunkley, cabinet member from Sheffield City Council.

Details of the seminar are available on the SINTO website

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