Monday, 14 June 2010

Bad times just around the corner

My inspiration for my annual report to SINTO this year will be Noel Coward:

There are bad times just around the corner
There are dark clouds hurtling through the sky.
And it's no good whining
About a silver lining
For we know from experience that they won't roll by.

As he says (and you really must try to do the voice as you read this):
From Colwyn Bay to Kettering
They're sobbing themselves to sleep
The shrieks and wails
In the Yorkshire dales
Have even depressed the sheep

One thing we must face up to as a profession is that there are people who think that cuts to library funding are not only inevitable they are desirable. Many genuinely believe that libraries no longer have a function in today's world.

Not enough library services and librarians have adopted Web 2.0 technology and therefore they don't understand the true nature of the change that has happened - either the positive or the negative aspects. The profession as a whole also has difficulty in articulating its own case succinctly or forcefully.

Two SINTO events are designed to give librarians the chance to step back from crisis management and take a longer term view. At the SINTO Members' Day on Friday 25th June Observer journalist Rachel Cooke is giving the keynote speech The Threat to Our Libraries - And What We Can Do To Save Them. This is an "outsiders" view - albeit a friendly outsider - and it will be valuable to hear her analysis of the problems we face.

Then on the 7th July Biddy Fisher, CILIP President is giving a talk on Our Professional Journey. Biddy is heading up CILIP's Defining Our Professional Future programme. Many librarians will be turning to CILIP for support in the coming months - and many will also use them as a scapegoat. This is an opportunity to hear what she has to say.

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