When I saw that Ed Vaizey was the poster boy for the 2016 National Libraries Day I wondered briefly if he had had a Road to Damascus type conversion and thrown his weight behind the Save Libraries Campaigns.
Sadly no, I did post a flippant tweet (see below) that has become one of the most popular things I have said online for ages.
— Matt Imrie (@mattlibrarian) February 2, 2016
I understand that CILIP has to work with the Tory Party in Government (PIG) and needs to keep lines of communication open since Vaizey is now speaking to them again after the vote of no confidence against him in 2013 but it does leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.
Over the years CILIP appears to have made a habit of saying and (not) doing things that have upset a lot of members, former members and those librarians that have never joined. I have been a member of CILIP for well over a decade – since I came to the UK in fact and have been a relatively loyal supporter (although not completely uncritical) and have had discussions and arguments with friends and colleagues trying to see the positives in things that CILIP has done.
I will state for the record that I am currently on the CILIP Youth Libraries Group (YLG) London Committee as the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals Judging panel representative. Now the CILIP CKG Awards is an example of something brilliant that CILIP has run for donkeys years, as is the YLG and many of the other excellent Special Interest Groups that find a home in CILIP.
I have faith in Dawn Finch the new president of CILIP, but I do not know if one person will be enough to change things. That being said I do think that the new CEO Nicholas Poole has also been doing well!
2016 is probably going to be the year in which I decide to stay in CILIP or chuck it in and become a Library dissident.
My mood was not helped by this news:
For sale: pretty much all of Enfield's libraries. A remarkable time for the end of once key civic services. pic.twitter.com/LtPTSnxiXq
— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) February 3, 2016
Considering that I used to work in some of the Libraries on offer and worked with some amazing people in Enfield it was more depressing than these bits of news generally are.
Also what is up with Banks getting their claws into library users? Part of me thinks Barclays with their Digital Eagles is doing it to improve their frankly crappy image, as well as hook vulnerable people that do not know how to use computers or the internet. Plus why are is the UKSCL supporting Halifax and their Digital Friends scheme? I am not even going to mention the risk of internet banking on public computers, so there you go.
On the plus side this coming Saturday is National Libraries Day (thank you Alan Gibbons) and I have heard nothing this year about library staff members being prevented from celebrating it.