Hereford Library Users' Group

01/21/2012

All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries

Further to our blog of November 2nd last, HLUG are pleased to report that the All Party Parliamentary Group for Libraries has now been successfully launched in December last. It is backed by CILIP – the organisation that supports professional librarians. APPG’s are cross-party groups that allow both MP’s and Lords with a shared interest in a topic to come together to share information and issues.

As we indicated previously, Conservative MP Justin Tomlinson is the Chair of the APPG and hosted the launch last December.  The purpose of this All-Party Group is to set out a pro-active and positive agenda to promote libraries. The group can set the agenda and share best practice. Already topics up for discussion will be skills in the sector, school libraries and library services and public libraries. A total of 59 MP’s and Lords have signed up for the Group.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey was also at the launch and said that he supported library campaigners, but that it was down to individual local authorities to decide how they deliver services. (Sounds like a bit of a cop-out to your editor). However, he went on to say that the Government would not make it easier for local authorities to shirk responsibilities with the comment that “It is important to realise that Libraries are still a £1 billion service. We have maintained the statutory duty for local authorities to provide a comprehensive library service and that is non-negotiable. But local authorities are in the driving seat for running libraries.” (Ah, now there’s the rub……). But at least the profession now has a powerful advocate in high places and a means to guide the APPG in the right direction. HLUG will be watching with interest.

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08/09/2011

Weasel words from Ed Vaizey on Public Libraries

Whilst your editor was away on yet another motor sport escapade, John Hitchin, our HLUG Chairman kindly drew my attention to the joint Local Government Association/MLA report on the Future Libraries programme. You can read the report by clicking on the following link:

http://www.local.gov.uk/web/10161/home/-/journal_content/56/10161/88839/NEWS-TEMPLATE

John says he will make further comment in due course, but in the meantime readers can see what “Voices in the Library” have to say about it by clicking on the link below:

http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/wordpress/?p=1988

If readers look at the above and click on the phrase “Volunteers should not be seen as a solution” they will be taken to a site called “Words with Jam” which has a very good interview with Jim Brooks, the Chairman of the Friends of the Little Chalfont Library in Buckinghamshire on the reality of running a Community Library. This is not anything like as simple as it sounds and will only work where you have the right mix of money, expertise and enthusiasm. Voluntary libraries on sink estates are just not on, neither will they succeed in rural areas like Herefordshire or Gloucestershire where people are working 18 hours a day just to make ends meet. A sensible and informed view on Community Libraries which puts the MLA report in context and, as an ex-public librarian, makes me grind my teeth. Few people seem impressed by Ed Vaizeys’s promises. Weasel words indeed. Who does the Culture Minister think he is fooling? Readers may be pleased to know that the Womens Institute are “disappointed” by the report and you can read what they have to say about it on the Bookseller website at www.thebookseller.com/news/womens-institute

So the battle continues …..please have your say below.

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