Summary: Thursday 7th July 2011 – LIS and Library School Activism
What Was Discussed?
- What library issues are you most concerned about?
- What campaigns have you heard about? How did you hear about them?
- Are you involved in any campaigns?
- What library activism is going on at your institution?
- What limitations/barriers have you come across to getting involved? How have they been overcome?
- Do you have any ideas for campaigns?
- Would you like to collaborate with others? If so, how?
- Would you be interested in taking part in a shared online campaigning site for UK library schools?
- What would you like the topic of the next #UKlibchat to be?
Results and Actions
- Current concerns:
- privatisation in UK public libraries, neutrality and democratic accountability (mentioned by five participants)
- library advocacy
- user education and information literacy awareness esp. school children and students (mentioned by seven participants)
- access to electronic reference resources and the digital divide
- school libraries’ statutory status (mentioned by two participants)
- NHS IT modernisation
- Information access
- Library closures: building closing and cuts to services not publicised e.g. reduced opening hours, staff, community services & ICT (mentioned by four participants)
- Public libraries’ social and educational value not widely appreciated. Merging of services (mentioned by three participants).
- Slow uptake of Open Access publishing – especially in health sector (mentioned by four participants).
- eBooks and IT modernisation in public libraries (mentioned by three participants)
Four participants voiced a general feeling of concern. Raising awareness of issues needed. One participant said that Save Libraries day was successful at doing this. But following up public library use was a problem – participants cited geographical location, stock and opening hours. eBooks suggested as solution.
2. High level of awareness – 2 “too many to tweet” comments. Campaigns mentioned: Friends of Gloucester Libraries (7); Doncaster (2); Croydon (1); Voices for the Library/@ukpling (6); @publiclibnews (2); International Right To Research (1); Bookseller (1). One participant mention lack of publicity about Liverpool and Manchester consultations. Awareness through social media – Facebook and Twitter. Twitter used to organise Save Libraries events. One participant mentioned lack of info about local campaign – another role of non-twitter use in campaigns. Three participants mentioned limits of TV and traditional press versus Twitter; one cited Paul Hamlyn library example. One voiced a possible campaign Twitter – another an online – echo-chamber. One participants said she finds out more through Facebook, friends and university than Twitter. Two suggested writing to local papers.
3. Two participants felt position as local librarians would be a conflict of interest in getting involved in local campaigns. Two participants mentioned that campaigns mainly done by library users and academic librarians. One participant will encourage people he knows to use their libraries – arguing little actions would help as well as taking part in major campaigns. Two participants volunteered at libraries to support. Potential benefits/disadvantages of volunteering discussed (i.e. possibly taking jobs away from people). One has joined @ukpling. One gave a speech to WI. One added comments to online articles. One participant setting up own campaign – inspired by @ukpling. One participant put a poster up on parish council noticeboard. Four mention Save Libraries day. One attended a read in.
4. One participant mentioned perceived levels activism in library schools differ. One mention distance learning a challenge to activism – another suggested focusing on local campaigns instead. Three mentioned lack of links between all schools – another participant volunteered in capacity as CDG NPSO to disseminate information. One mentioned lack of organised action in library school. Three suggested activism could be part of library school – as curricular or extracurricular.
5. Felt lack of expertise/confidence, pressure of sudden public profile, sense of juniority, unsure what’s going on where and how to join in, time commitment, no support structure, geography, conflict of interest.
One participant suggested an advocacy network to share load – e.g. letter writing like political campaigns. Practising soundbites recommended by one participant. Talking about worries during #uklibchat helped one participant feel less isolated in concerns. Participants suggested using VLEs/Google Docs to share information. Factsheets such as CILIP’s Campaigning Toolkit: http://www.cilip.org.uk/get-involved/campaigning-toolkit/pages/default.aspx and Voices for the Library’s http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/?p=780 & http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/?page_id=959 cited. http://librarycampaign.org.uk/mw/index.php/LocalGroups another useful resource.
6. One call for another Save Libraries day in 2012 – another said National Libraries Day instituted: http://www.cilip.org.uk/news-media/pages/news110526.aspx. One worried attention fizzles out after such a day. Four participants suggested solidarity in using and promoting others’ libraries – a culture of “mutual appreciation and awareness of resources”. Four wanted more discussions with public librarians. Two are working on a political performance piece. Others intrigued!
7. Unconference suggested (by six participants). Job exchanges between sectors supported – perhaps at regional level. One wants more links between library schools, another between sectors. Participants suggested this could be done by more regional meet ups (“@johnrdolan #uklibchat. CILIP has regional groups; the Career Development groups. they could help. CILIP WM recently canvassed for topics. Contact your region.” @cilipwm offered support), shared student forums and conferences. One put the call out for campaign help from Northumbria & N Herts people. One called for greater participation of public librarians as consultants in campaigns.
8. Yes, but some participants worried about membership cut off when people graduate. Wiki/tumblr with handover docs suggested. Invited to send suggestions to LISDREaM (network of LIS researchers).
9. Next #uklibchat topic: possibly library marketing/promotion. And following up of actions proposed. Other suggestions welcome – a Google Doc shall be created nearer the provisional date of 21st July.