Thursday, 10 February 2011

Tommorow's chip paper: #libnews digest number 5

So Saturday saw #savelibraries - a national day of action to show support for public libraries. Demonstrations ranged from borrowing maximum amounts to library occupations. You might ask what the effect has been? Any mass revelations in parliament? Well, I'm yet to see any evidence of that in the press but at the very least it has raised the profile of library cuts (and cuts in general). Unprecedented levels of press coverage with even the The Express and The Sun (sorry can't quite bring myself to link to The Sun). Among other things, the weekend was a weekend of library puns. Who said the art of journalism is dead?

Might just be my imagination but it seems there are some positive stories in the news this week about councils reconsidering library cuts in the face of public support. It looks like some Isle of Wight libraries may get a stay of execution (although it still looks like they'll be handed over to community groups after a year). There are other stories along this line though so I think #savelibraries day may have made a few folks sit up and listen.

A theme I've touched on before: confused, conflicted politicians are still making the headlines. Could this Vince Cable who joined library protesters be the same Vince Cable who defended the comprehensive spending review? And could David Cameron's own constituency agent really be sticking up for libraries? It's a weird world folks. As both the Guardian and the BBC reported there may be a fundamental flaw with the 'Big Society'. Aside from the fact that as our lives get tougher we (as individuals) may have less to give society, there's also the point that cuts will affect the ability to recruit and manage volunteers. D'oh!

Perhaps the thing that most annoys me about the Big Society concept is that it allows politicians to divulge their responsibility. Yes you can have public services,  they say, but only if you can work out solutions to this massive financial mess.

Er, surely that's their job?  

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