NATIONAL CONFERENCE AIMS FOR ACTION
The Library Campaign – the national charity that supports library users – will make a supreme effort in November get everyone together to save public libraries.
The occasion? Saturday November 23rd: the national Speak Up For Libraries conference in London.
THIS IS A UNIQUE CHANCE FOR A REAL DIALOGUE BETWEEN ALL THOSE BEST-PLACED TO MOVE LIBRARIES OUT OF CRISIS AND INTO ACTION.
Speak Up For Libraries is a coalition of national organisations and individual campaigners: Elizabeth Ash, Campaign for the Book, CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals, The Library Campaign, Unison and Voices for the Library.
Public libraries are in crisis – with 1,000 likely soon to close or be abandoned to hard-pressed communities to run as best they can. Many more will be wrecked by cuts.
This means permanent damage to community life, literacy, education, social cohesion, citizens’ rights, the welfare of vulnerable people and the future of young people.
THIS YEAR’S CONFERENCE SEES A UNIQUE LINE-UP OF THE NATIONAL BODIES THAT CAN INFLUENCE LIBRARIES (see below).
PLUS THE OTHER EXPERTS WHO KNOW THE REALITY AT LOCAL LEVEL – LIBRARY USERS, WORKERS AND CAMPAIGNERS.
The day will focus on what is really needed, what’s being done – and where the gaps are. The Library Campaign will collate an action plan – and follow up to see that it is done.
THE SPEAKERS – all the major players at national level:
Brian Ashley, Director, Libraries, Arts Council England
Phil Bradley, President of CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals)
Janene Cox, President of SCL (Society of Chief Librarians)
Yinnon Ezra, Advisor for Libraries, DCMS (Department for Culture, Media & Sport)
Heather Wakefield, Head of Local Government, UNISON
PLUS – two more experts on the real situation:
Steve Davies, University of Cardiff, author of several reports on public libraries
Alan Gibbons, author, education consultant and Campaign for the Book
WE WON’T LET ALL THIS EXPERTISE GO TO WASTE.
WE NEED ACTION.
Laura Swaffield, chair of The Library Campaign, says:
“Responsibility for libraries is scattered all over the place. The buck stops nowhere. So we mean to make sure there is co-ordination in future.
And we mean to see that library users, workers and campaigners no longer get ignored or patronised. These people do more for libraries than many of the bodies funded to take responsibility.It’s only the government that does nothing.
There is still, in fact, some great library development work at all levels. But it’s under-publicised and under-used.’The government simply doesn’t care. We do. And we know we can all work together to start getting out of the mess we are in.”
Elizabeth Ash, Croydon Libraries campaigner and trustee of The Library Campaign, says:
“It’s time we pulled together to highlight the plight of libraries. The devastation will have long-reaching effects that will be hard to undo. Speak Up For Libraries offers the opportunity for all to engage. We must grab the chance before it is too late!
Too many have stood by helplessly and watched the decimation of much-valued library services. Communities and individuals have been silenced and disempowered by flawed consultations.
Insidious back door cuts have resulted in hollowed out services,often removing the professional librarians and experienced staff that make the service what it is. The “keeping doors open” agenda needs to
be exposed for what it is.
As for volunteers running libraries – asking communities to pay for a service and run it themselves is not only insulting but unsustainable.
We’ve got to do better than this. And we can.”