May 1, 2007
Collapse of the MLA
Following David Lammy's demotion as minister no longer for libraries and Chris Batt's resignation, also at the request of this blog, I am now told on good authority that Mark Wood, chair of the MLA is also about to be moved from his post.
Moreover, curiously, the MLA seem also to be re-advertising the jobs currently held by John Dolan, Andrew Stevens and Sarah Wilkie
Things are looking up. I predict that Gordon Brown's new minister for libraries will re-emphasis the importance of books in libraries by offering a one off £100m to increase the quality of current book collections. Watch the publishers jump when that announcement is made. The MLA in the meantime has been told to find some new staff who actually know what a book is and how to read it,
Posted by Perkins at May 1, 2007 3:44 PM
You alone Tim were responsible for all these reshuffles and resignations? Will you use this power positively to suggest good replacements?
And, £100m without any strings?
I'm all for more books, but there needs to be a complementary move to looking at reading in the round- including all the web based reading response sites, as well as physical library based reading groups etc.
If there were to be £100m, this would be a great opportunity to bring visitors and librarians together in deciding how to best spend the money- which does not equate to simply giving people what they want ;)
Posted by: Pete Smith at May 1, 2007 4:48 PM
Excellent news. I hope they are gearing up to call on you as a sort of overarching triumverate in one. I just received a questionnaire from "love libraries" so I answered "more books, universal library card" and have encouraged others (via my blog) to do the same.
Posted by: maxine at May 1, 2007 9:37 PM
Will this one-off funding, which is only £1.50 per resident when a book is over £10, enable librarians to go to secondhand delaers to make good the losses of books which have been thrown out?
This aspect of book-supply is never mentioned in all the debate about it.
So often with the public-library system, to track down a book is now akin to that trying to find food for the royal visit in the austerity world of Alan Bennett's movie A Private Function.
Posted by: Christopher Hawtree at May 2, 2007 7:21 AM
What is NOT needed is to have the money spent on yet more Surveys and Strategy Reports and Proposals and Mission Statements.
Posted by: SUSAN HILL at May 3, 2007 12:37 PM
It took me about 5 seconds to see that the job vacancies you have linked to do not belong to the individuals named.
But then facts seem rarely to get in the way of opinions on this blog.
Posted by: Chris Booty at May 3, 2007 9:30 PM
I think Christopher Hawtree has an excellent point: public libraries''back lists' had always been their USP, for many readers, until the recent stock culls. Now, staff are finding it increasingly difficult to satisfy requests for OP titles. To fill this need, my company offers SAS - not an armed response unit to quell the legitmate wrath of frustrated readers, but Search And Supply - we track down and send requested titles that conventional suppliers can't.
Sorry about the plug - but it might help!
Posted by: George Harding at May 8, 2007 10:35 AM
I see that you have links with both CILIP and More Delay (MLA), I think that I have seen on Tim's blog a couple of discrepancies but on the whole its great I think to have someone questioning what the MLA and CILIP are putting out there, especially about providing books in libraries rather than creating interesting shelves and areas (like they have done in Walthamstow recently).
I don't think its prudent to throw stones at someone, particularly when they are as influential as Tim and produce a worthwhile and enjoyable blog such as this. Don't bother googling yourself - it will only disappoint.
Posted by: Katie Collis at May 8, 2007 4:02 PM
are you saying that no-one can be critical of Tim? I don't think he'd want to take that stance, influential as he may be. Accuracy is important when making claims as Tim did; usually he seems to be right.
I am a member of CILIP, but not a ra-ra one ;)
Posted by: Pete Smith at May 9, 2007 3:49 PM
Thank you - your post demonstrates the exact dangers of using half-truths and assumptions to make assertions about people and things. As a matter of fact the "links" you speak of consist of having submitted an article or two to CILIP publications and having spoken at a seminar about the ENQUIRE service. If that is taken to imply that I am somehow associated with either organisation then contributions made to this forum would have to mean that I have "links" with Mr Coates.
What I DO have is a regard for the truth and accuracy. It's something that was emphasised in my library school studies 35 years ago. If a contributor is attempting to use facts to prove their assertions - in this case about the MLA job vacancies being the jobs currently occupied by those that Mr Coates chooses to attack at every opportunity - but the information is wrong then it needs pointing out.
Worthwhile and enjoyable? Yes, but if any campaign that claims to be concerned about improving our library service can't make points without resorting to inaccurate faccs and hearsay then it should not be regarded seriously.
Posted by: Chris Booty at May 9, 2007 7:35 PM
Chris --(I imagine Chris Booty is not an alias for Chris Batt! though for a second I did wonder -please forgive me)
All I can say is that if those jobs are not replacements for the current policy makers, then they are for additional ones-- which is just as laughable.
Posted by: Tim at May 10, 2007 11:30 AM
Pete (am loving the ra ra line): Am not saying that we should not be criticising or contesting what people say (which is what we are all doing here : ), Chris Booty did demonstrate a valid point but then he went on to make a sweeping generalisation. Just as they did in Cilip Update a few months ago and I quote, '..with Libri doom-makers and dinosaurs such as Tim Coates'.
The reason why Tim is choosing to 'attack' these bods is because of the lack of clarity and the paucity of their arguments - they obviously do not like this and so are surreptitiously trying to 'diss' him. Did anyone try reading their blueprint recently? Awful.
FYI - My husband tried reading one of the CILIP mags the other day and said it was so bad that there was actually someone on there reviewing their own book! But am sure that you have written sterling stuff for them Chris.
Posted by: Katie Collis at May 10, 2007 3:57 PM
as I say, I'm not a ra ra member of CILIP. It has its faults, communication being one of them. But it has potential, and I hope that is realised as time goes on. A refocusing is needed.
As for MLA, no I don't like the Blueprint, as my blog shows. This is not to say that such exercises are unworthy, but again, a refocusing is in order.
I wouldn't say that Tim is a dinosaur; he articulates a clear vision which is focused on books, nothing wrong in that. It just might be a little narrow to carry libraries beyond the next few years is all. A balance of his approach and that of some of his gainsayers is probably best.
Tim is a little...combative at times. I can't speak for the person who called him a dinosaur, but Tim has been as 'sweeping' with regards to librarians. Some charity is needed on both sides.
I also wonder if his vision is as in-line with 'the public' as we would believe from this site. Some of the public, some of the time ;)
Posted by: Pete Smith at May 14, 2007 9:11 AM
Really interesting comments Pete. Are you allowed to forward your blog link on here? Would be really good to read. Are the CILIP online forums any good? Have never tried them.
Your comment about Tim's vision concentrating on books - that is true but there is a bigger remit, which he demonstrated to a group of us at Uni a few months ago. He was talking about the future of library professionals and what new skills and services they could bring to the service. This included training librarians how to manage a budget rather than getting somebody else in to do them. Managing a budget is, I think, a great transferrable skill and would add another string in the Librarian's bow in their continuing professional development. Furthermore they (the Head Librarian) could more readily fight their own corner (in terms of how much budget they should be getting) more assertively if they knew their budget inside-out.
Posted by: Katie Collis at May 15, 2007 10:36 AM
by clicking on my name next to Posted by: then you'll go to my blog. The forums are worth a look; the more the better and all.
Posted by: Pete Smith at May 16, 2007 12:00 PM