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Prove your value

Libraries continually fail to prove their value to our governments and our public, we fail to engage and promote ourselves as a sector.

  • We fail to understand and respond to the real world of political campaigning, our lack of clear impact assessment measures is as I have said over and over for about a decade, a potentially fatal flaw. …
  • Public library provision and the cultural sector is always a soft target for cuts. And that’s because some local Council’s simply don’t understand the power of what libraries can achieve.
  • We have not created impact assessment measures, we didn’t like the library standards – kicked against them and have replaced them with – nothing – unless you count the Library benchmark and frankly I don’t. …
  • There is no definition of what a library is and no regulation to assess, inspect or demand improvement to it.

There is a strong view that MLA is museums focused and does not have a good record with libraries, although a few think that it may now may be in a position to contribute more effectively to the library agenda and should be given time. Others think it is too late.

As far as the future is concerned there was a general consensus (with one or two notable exceptions) around the following requirements for change.

  • One lead voice for libraries
  • A national vision for the service
  • Improved marketing and promotion
  • Establishment of a library development agency or similar
  • Library policy and funding together within a single government department
  • Overhaul of the Public Libraries Act and provision of a regulatory framework
  • Establishment of a evidence base to show impacts.

Kilde: May Lyn Brown MP

At the Campaign AGM on 9 May Lyn Brown MP gave a speech which offered some insight into the progress of the Inquiry she initiated and is leading with the Parliamentary All Party Group on Libraries, Literacy and Information. Here is what she said.

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