May 29, 2012
Why ten years?
The Arts Council are circulating details of their process of thinking about public libraries in pursuit of some understandable objectives and purpose
The whole thing appears to be based on trying to project the world forward ten years and trying to form the plan on what you can guess about the future.
This is reminiscent of the worst days of the old labour government who were forever trying to plan things using the same approach. The consequence was that no one did anything and everyone faffed about for years
Firstly the public library service needs to plan very carefully for the next twelve months, otherwise it will continue to step daintily into oblivion in the way that it already is doing and has done. There is plenty to address and the most obvious question is how to improve the service to the public when resources are limited
Secondly, if the world of changing technical ability is to be taken into account, anyone who works and invests in technologies will tell you that it is really dangerous to try and forecast what will be happening even three years away. We just can't and don't know what will be around - and therefore to spend any money for which the benefits are likely to be after a three year period, is almost certainly a waste.
Public libraries need to concentrate on the here and now- which means the current budget year which is now in progress and the next budget round, starting in September.. Everything else is dreamy nonsense (not that we aren't used to plenty of that)
Posted by Perkins at May 29, 2012 12:14 PM
Tim, as you may be aware i attended the recent ACE workshop at Swiss Cottage Library and found the experience very frustrating and too be perfectly honest a complete waste of time!
The whole consultation process should have been based upon what is happening now and what we can do about it, it was an opportunity to throw off the MLA legacy and move forward with a honest and open discussion leading to an urgent plan of action to save the public library service! Instead we have had a load of 'up in the air' thinking that up untill has left us with nothing practicle to work with! I, and many others, feel that ACE are struggling with their libraries remit and have just decided to carry forward the 'Admiral's' legacy, hiring a couple of slick consultants too try and give it gravitas but instead it just comes across as style over substance, a great shame and truly a wasted opportunity!
Posted by: alan wylie at May 29, 2012 7:21 PM
Yes, I read your account which was very funny and enjoyable, if you will forgive the pleasure from pain.
It does seem to be hard to find anyone employed in these circles of which you write, who has ever enjoyed a library - or even a book, so determined are they to bury the whole notion.
Posted by: perkins at May 29, 2012 9:10 PM