Reblogged: Society of Chief Librarian’s Stakeholder Meeting


Society of Chief Librarian’s Stakeholder Meeting

Ian Anstice (Public Libraries News & Voices For The Library) published minutes of a meeting he and other campaigners attended with S.C.L. yesterday. It’s good news that S.C.L. have decided to hold these meetings with campaigners and that they are intending to run more, and it sounds like there are some positive plans ahead. However, a few thoughts that popped into my head after reading these minutes…

“the SCL is not an incorporated organisation and so cannot make its own statements. It is, literally, a collective of individuals who provide their time voluntarily.”

But the SCL have provided comment in the past on aspects of public libraries. Is the issue more about not being able to say certain things in its statements?

“It is not the role of the SCL to advise the Secretary of State but are available if they are asked.”

Alternatively, a pro-active approach could help direct the Secretary of State’s thoughts to developing public library services, rather than assisting in their demise.

Campaigners asked why the SCL did not agitate for a return to national library standards. The response was that the SCL “pick the fights we can win”.

Would they give in even if it was the most important fight for public libraries?

One Week In My Librarian Life #libday8


This is a blog post for the “Library Day In The Life” Project. This project is a semi-annual event where librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.

As a bit of a background, I’m a Technical Librarian for a public library service in England and also a founder member of the Voices For The Library campaign.

Monday (30th Jan)

A day off work, but still I’m doing library based stuff. I’ve got a few things going on at the moment around Voices For The Library, so I’m trying to keep on top of them. This includes:

  • Preparing for a meeting on Wednesday about public library cuts with MP Ed Vaizey, the Government minister responsible for libraries. Julia Donaldson (Children’s Laureate) arranged this and, as a representative of Voices, I will be part of a delegation that includes Julia, Alan Gibbons (children’s author and Campaign For The Book founder) and John Holland (Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries campaigner). I’m currently trying to condense all that Voices For The Library want to put across into a 5 minute slot.
  • Helping plan the Parliamentary lobby/rally on 13th March – got to admit I’m not doing as much as I’d like to with this, as other much closer deadlines keeping popping up.

Activities I tend to do daily with Voices, includes:

  • Keeping an eye on the news, blogs, Government related sites and Twitter for anything of interest and posting it on Twitter. It seems like a bit of a slow news day today for libraries in the UK, but plenty of stories about libraries in Canada and USA! I tend to feed all my news into Google Reader, as I can share it in a variety of ways, but I also use as well, because that also picks up more news that Google news doesn’t.
  • Adding or writing the odd blog post for the site. (Added one today)
  • Responding to email discussions.
Tuesday (31st Jan)
August 20th 2008 - Inspiration pt3 by Stephen Poff

August 20th 2008 - Inspiration pt3 (c) Stephen Poff/Flickr

Not in the office again today. This time I’m on a half day “Writing for publication” course at CILIP, organised by the LIRG (Library and Information Research Group). I do a lot of library focused writing for this blog, the Voices for The Library blog and on rare occasions for other sites. However, I feel I want to improve/develop this side of myself  and I’ve also got a thought in the back of my mind that I want to do some formal research around public libraries – to put my efforts to wider use. So, this course seemed a good starting place. I was hoping that it would help me write more clearly, get focused and get those ideas written down more quickly, and, as my brain is sometimes like a sieve, I hope that it helps me remember what I’ve written too!

After the course I worked on a Prezi to promote an event for National Libraries Day. Hopefully it will get tweeted a few times by our library service Twitter accounts over the next few days.

I also tweeted a few relevant library news stories and finalised my thoughts for  the meeting around library cuts on Wednesday.

Voices For The Library were also given permission to publish our response to Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into library closures on our website today.

Wednesday (1st Feb)

A day’s leave again, but still doing library related work.

Bit of a strange day really – as a representative for Voice For The Library, along with Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, author and Campaign For The Book founder Alan Gibbons, and Friends of Gloucestershire Libraries campaigner John Holland, I’m going to meet Minister with responsibility for libraries, Ed Vaizey to discuss the mess public libraries are in and if he or Jeremy Hunt ever intend doing anything to sort them out?

I posted two reactions from myself to this meeting.

Here’s my personal “:-O Is this really happening to me?” reaction.

Here’s my professional Voices For The Library blog post.

As I say in the Voices blog post, I hope the meeting made a step in the right direction to sort things out, even if it just seems like a tiny one.

The rest of the day/evening was spent finding/tweeting library related trying to catch up with Voices For The Library emails, etc.

Houses Of Parliament by wendyfairy

Houses Of Parliament (c) wendyfairy/Flickr

Thursday (2nd Feb)

I’m actually back in the office today and I spent the first part of it dealing with emails. These included:

  • Preparation for our library service conference
  • Tying up the loose ends so that we can implement our new public facing catalogue/circulation system. It’s nice a whizzy and I’m particularly excited that it will include RSS feeds for search results! I know that sounds sad, but I really want to mashup some of our catalogue data.
  • Got a thank you for putting together the National Libraries Day event Prezi. 🙂

At lunch time I signed up for “Brighton Lib Teach Meet 2012“, which is “a fun and informal way for librarians and information professionals to share new ideas.” The focus of this event is ‘Outreach, marketing and promotion’. I’ve never been to one of these before, but it sounds a bit like a Library Camp or Mashed Libraries style informal event. It also sounds interesting and I thought I could share some ideas around its focus (especially as Voices stuff crosses over into that area), so I put myself down to give a 5 minute presentation too.

Today was my monthly one-to-one with my line manager. We covered what I’d been working on in the past month and what I need to focus on in the coming month. Mostly e-books; downloadable audio apps; the Arena project (the public catalogue I mentioned earlier); future business plans; and marketing/promoting the library service online in a new way (for us).

I also took the time to fill in the survey for stage 1 of the CILIP Body of Professional Knowledge consultation. When I joined CILIP I wanted to get involved with what was going on, because I feel that if I want the organisation and profession to develop I’ve got to make an effort to get involved. I’ve not had the time to do anything with CILIP groups, but at least I can get involved in other ways and this is one of them.

Friday (3rd Feb)

Before work I put together a short pre-National Libraries Day (Saturday 4th) blog post for the Voices site. It was really just to remind people that N.L.D. was happening, how it came about (a follow on from Save Our Libraries Day last year) and that even though it was a day of celebration of libraries, library services were still under threat.

I spent 99% of my “day-job” today in a meeting with representatives from our library system supplier and our local authority web team ironing out outstanding issues with our new public facing catalogue/circulation system. We got most things sorted out, but it isn’t yet ready to go live. I typed up the log to highlight the outstanding issues and circulated it to those who attended the meeting and the broader contract team.

For the rest of the day (about an hour) I dealt with some emails and was also given another project to think about – an assessment of wi-fi in libraries.

When I got home I had an email discussion about the oral evidence Voices’ Abby Barker will be giving to the Culture, Media & Sport Committee Inquiry into library closures at the beginning of next week.

Saturday (4th Feb)

National Libraries Day logo

National Libraries Day

National Libraries Day. This is what I got up to – a librarithon!

Whilst out and about, being with a couple of techy type librarians, we ended up discussing social media, websites and cuts in relation to libraries… as well as other things.

I tried to retweet what others were saying about National Libraries Day, but the sheer number of tweets made it difficult.

Came back after a couple of drinks in the pub and typed up a blog post about my day.

Sunday (5th Feb)

Retweeted quite a lot of post-National Libraries Day tweets and news. It was great to see so many people getting involved.

I also worked on an article I’m putting together about and how it can be used for information sharing and productivity.

The rest of the month

Other aspects of my role include dealing with cataloguing, classification and EDI issues; assisting in the running of social media workshops for staff; liaising with data suppliers; current awareness of technology and I.T. in libraries.

Even though it hasn’t been a typical week for me –  I generally spend more time in the office and have never had a meeting like the one on Wednesday before – it’s a good example of the variety of work I do.

My National Libraries Day Out #NLD12 #Librarithon #LoveLibraries


Yesterday was National Libraries Day in the UK – a celebration of libraries – not just public, but also academic, specialist, business, health, schools, etc… all libraries!

I was hoping to celebrate in the week building up to today by taking part in my own librarithon – ie visit as many different interesting libraries as possible. This was inspired by Zoe Toft who, along with her children, took part in her own charity librarithon last year. In the end, due to the fact that I had to complete a major project in work and had a major meeting to prepare for and attend, the librarithon didn’t happen. 😦 Oh well!

Instead I took part in a mini-librarithon today in London with a couple of other librarians – @usernametaken10 and @misshelved – who fancied exploring a few new places. The aim wasn’t to take in as many libraries as possible just for the sake of visiting them. We decided to visit the Dickens & the Supernatural exhibition at The British Library, two new libraries in Dalston and Canada Water and an ‘Idea store’ in Whitechapel, which was running an author event.

As we were in London, and as it’s a national library, The British Library seemed like a really good place to start. I’ve visited this library a few times. Every time I’ve been there it’s to visit an exhibition.  Exhibitions in a library are a great way to provide focus on information/resources held by the library that might have otherwise been hidden away – hidden away in terms of location, and in Dickens case, hidden away in his body of work. He’s probably more widely known for fiction that touches on social history, rather than the supernatural. Exhibitions such as this get  potential readers thinking about the author in a different way. It was quite a small exhibition – took us about 20 minutes to look at it – but it was interesting to find out about how his early childhood and the people in it influenced him. He was sceptical about ghosts and the paranormal, but that didn’t stop him from writing classic ghost stories, such as The Signalman.

Book sculpture at Dalston C.L.R. James Library

Book sculpture at Dalston C.L.R. James Library

Next, we took the bus over to Dalston and wandered around the newly built C.L.R. James Library. This public area was spread over one and a half floors, broken up into glass partitioned walls. The local archives and history service was situated above it. I thought the use of the foyer area was interesting – a place for those who just want to dash in and out, to make a quick choice from a limited set of popular books. Even though I couldn’t borrow them (as I not a member of that library service), I did spot a couple of graphic novels that interested me. It made me think, “I wish we had a national library card and I could borrow this book this book right now.” Hopefully my local library will stock them. *Goes off to check the catalogue* Yes, I’ve found one of them! (Mike Carey / God Save The Queen)

Then we took the train to Canada Water Library. Again, this is another brand new library and has great views overlooking Canada Water itself. The building itself is pretty funky – as @misshelved said, on the outside it looks like a Jawa Sand crawler.

Canada Water Library

Canada Water Library or Jawa Sand Crawler?

Inside Canada Water Library

Inside Canada Water Library (c) usernametaken10/Flickr

Inside the library there’s a coffee shop and quick choice section (like Dalston Library’s foyer). A set of stairs in the centre of the ground floor leads up to the main part of the library, housing the children’s library, computers and fiction. Up another set of stairs is the non-fiction section on a balcony area that over looks the rest of the library. It goes all the way around the library and up here they also have study spaces and meeting rooms. I’m not sure whether “a day in the life” of the library as shown here is actually how it is, but I could imagine spending a couple of hours a week in there just relaxing and browsing/thinking if I lived closer to it – it’s got a pretty relaxed positive feel to it.

Finally, @usernametaken10 and I headed to Whitechapel and visited the Idea Store there. It’s a few years old and is based over a number of floors (4, I think). Our aim was to go to a free author event (Austerity Writes Back) which was on for an hour and a half. We only managed to catch the end of the event (last 20 minutes or so), but what I saw/heard was really interesting, especially as some of its focus was the austerity cuts and protest. That’s sort of why National Libraries Day exists (on the back of Save Our Libraries protest day last year) and is also relevant to Voices For The Library activities. One of the authors (and publisher) Bobby Nayyar made a comment that made sense to me about the current state of affairs with the economy. It was along the lines that there’s nothing wrong with businesses making a profit, but some businesses seem focused on making an obscene amount of profit and do not understand the social impact this may have on the world around them. I also want to mention that while I was mooching around the Idea Store I spotted on the end of a shelf a biography of Andrew Carnegie. It made me smile to think that, as a philanthropist who funded so many libraries, he has a lot to be thanked for on National Libraries Day.

Andrew Carnegie book

I wonder how Andrew Carnegie would have felt today about library cuts?

I really enjoyed today’s little adventure as part of National Libraries Day. On top of visiting a handful of libraries (old and new), I had a laugh and mulled over a few library related ideas with @usernametaken10 and @misshelved. I also got to explore parts of London I’ve never been to before, and I listened to a few authors talk about their books and how they were inspired.

As I sit here writing this, I also wonder if anyone using any of those four libraries I visited today was struck by some great revolutionary or genius idea that will change the world forever? It would be great to say I was in THAT LIBRARY at THAT PRECISE MOMENT when it happened… and you may well laugh, but it could happen, because that’s the sort of thing that goes on inside the minds of people who use libraries. 🙂

#ili2011 “Library Campaigning With A Virtual Voice” Presentation With Notes


The following is an outline of the presentation I gave about Voices For The Library’s use of social media and online tools to develop campaigning methods at “Internet Librarian International 2011” last week.

Slide 1

We are a national campaign group highlighting the value of UK public libraries

Talking about how social media and online tools formed the group and how we have used them in our campaign

Slide 2

We have 3 main online presences – website; Twitter; Facebook

Slide 3

Why did we form?

In Mid 2010 there was an increased threat of library funding cuts leading to library closures and reductions in service. (Currently 430+ public libraries are under threat – out of a total network of 4600+)

People were questioning the relevance of libraries and librarians – common misconceptions included… you can find everything on Google; books can bought cheaply from Amazon; everyone has the internet; all books are available as e-books

Slide 4

Many people in the profession were talking about the situation on library discussion lists and Twitter

This included a group of us (about 7of us) on Twitter, who decided we wanted to do something pro-active, rather than just talk about it.

Slide 5

We did it very quickly – from intending to do something to setting up site/blog with content; Twitter & Facebook accounts took us 2 weeks.

We didn’t have to meet in real life to do this – it all happened online.

Most of us in the group hadn’t met in real life before and many of us didn’t meet in real life for a good few months after the campaign had been running.

Slide 6

Online presence wasn’t the only important thing, but it was the quickest way to organise and had the widest reach

Wanted to support local campaigners

Wanted to ensure we talked to others offline ie library users/campaigners; media

Slide 7

We are doing this voluntarily outside our day jobs and need to do it as cheaply (free) as possible and within limits of time outside work.

Lots of the online tools we use are free and easy to use

Slide 8

Social media tools we use for informing others – our site/blog; Twitter; Facebook; Tumblr;; Flickr; Foursquare

Provide guidance for campaigners

Comment on national situation

Positive library user stories

Links to news articles, other campaigners sites, retweet other campaigners tweets

Slide 9

Social media tools we use to find out what is happening – Google and Yahoo news; other peoples blogs; Government sites; Facebook; delicious; Twitter; email

Slide 10

Tools we use to discuss the situation – our website/blog; Facebook; Twitter; email; comment on other peoples blogs & news articles; forums

Talk to anyone with a part to play in the situation – library users; campaigners; journalists; politicians; library detractors

Slide 11

Social media tools for behind the scenes – Twapperkeeper; Twitterfeed;; delicious; Google maps (Ian Anstice/Public libraries news); If This Then That; Yahoo pipes; Pbworks wiki; chatzy

Use to discuss, meet, store, share, re-use information

Slide 12

In summer 2010 started archiving tweets containing keywords around saving libraries eg. #save libraries, #love libraries, ’I love libraries’ –  as a way to give a positive morale boost – can retweet them.

In January 2011 @mardixon tweeted the tweet on this slide and responses to it caused the #save libraries hash tag to trend worldwide. We got involved by promoting the tweet and retweeting responses  by others.

It helped promote the value of libraries and highlight library cuts in the UK.

Most of the quotes on the slides in this presentation are taken from Twitter in response to this tweet sent out by @mardixon

#savelibraries archive now contains 53,000+ tweets.

Slide 13

Not just VFTL campaign using social media – other local campaigns do too.

They also have blogs/sites; Twitter; Facebook accounts

Not just about online presence, but they too recognise online presence has wide reach and can get your message across the world

Slide 14

We use a wide range of tools to pull together info from many places and pass on information to others

We experiment to see what works well and what doesn’t

Slide 15

We thought about how the information flows and interconnects – where possible we try to automate and re-use information eg. Feed blog posts to Twitter and Facebook; Facebook to Twitter; Flickr to Twitter/Facebook; Twitter to; etc

Slide 16

Not sure how much of a difference our activities have made, but I like to think it’s made some difference

Maybe it’s made people more aware of the situation – library users; journalists; politicians

Maybe it’s inspired people to campaign in their area

Maybe it’s helped to stop some closures/cuts

Maybe it’s made people realise the value of public libraries

Slide 17

What next?

Last week we jointly ran a conference with The Library Campaign with the aim of bringing campaigners from across the UK together to discuss a way forward

Clear that campaigners want to work more closely together with other campaigners in the UK

Plans for rally in the near future

We’ll continue trying to save libraries in the UK!

Decentralised Power Via The Localism Bill


The Localism Bill was introduced to Parliament via the House of Commons in December 2010. Its aim is to decentralise power “back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils.”

Here are a few things to consider about the Bill in relation to the provision of local services, including public libraries.

1.) The plain English version states that central government currently imposes too much bureaucracy in the form of centralised decisions, targets and inspections, which “leaves people feeling ‘done to’ and imposed upon.”

It’s true that the removal of Central government bureaucracy would allow development of services at a local level, but at the same time Central government bureaucracy also serves to ensure that local councils/authorities continue to provide essential services they are expected to.

2.) It also states that Central Government should be there to help people and their locally elected representatives to achieve their own 

This would be beneficial, as long as the local people and representatives who get their voices heard are (1) representative of all local people and (2) that their wishes ensure this does not affect the lives of those whose voices aren’t heard – commonly people in society who are in most need of public services.

3.) The Bill indicates that “Local authorities can do their job best when they have genuine freedom to respond to what local people want, not what they are told to do by central government.

In an ideal world this would be a great opportunity for councils to work with local communities and I’m sure some will, but as we have seen in some library campaigns, local councils do not always listen to what people want. Campaigners throughout the country have raised petitions containing over 15,000 names asking councils to stop closure of libraries, but councils still appear to do what they want, rather than what the communities ask them to do.

4.) The General power of competence in the Bill states local authorities should be free to do anything – provided they do not break other laws.” and that this power “does not remove any duties from localauthorities.” Alongside this, the Secretary of State will have the authority toremove unnecessary restrictions and limitations where there is a good case to do so, subject to safeguards designed to protect vital services.”

It is important that local authorities are free to be innovative, as long as they don’t break the law and their duties are not removed. However, if the Secretary of State can over-rule restrictions, how will this affect councils actions and duties? Could this over-ruling have a negative effect on services that are provided to communities, as well as a positive effect?

5.) “the Government will abolish the Standards Board regime. Instead, it will become a criminal offence for councillors to deliberately withhold or misrepresent a personal interest. This means that councils will not be obliged to spend time and money investigating trivial complaints, while councillors involved in corruption and misconduct will face appropriately serious sanctions.”

Even though some complaints may be seen as trivial by Central Government, often it is the only way for an individual citizen to address concerns they may have about a councillor.

6.) Even though a councillor is there to represent his/her local community some are warned off doing such things as campaigning, talking with constituents, or publicly expressing views on local issues, for fear of being accused of bias or facing legal challenge. The Localism Bill will make it clear that it is proper for councillors to play an active part in local discussions.”

It’s important that in the future councillors will be given the opportunity to get involved, rather than shying away from involvement and discussion and saying “I can’t do anything. I’m not allowed to.”

7.) “The Localism Bill will give more cities the opportunity to decide whether they want a mayor.”

Having an elected mayor could work either way. A mayor who has not been elected by his/her political peers would have more freedom to go against party lines, but at the same time the elected mayor does not necessarily need any experience of local politics to become mayor, which in itself could lead to problems via a lack of understanding.

8.) “We want to pass significant new rights direct to communities and individuals, making it easier for them to get things done and achieve their ambitions for the place where they live.”

Hopefully this will give campaigners fighting council decisions a stronger voice than many of them have at present.

9.) The Bill will allow groups, parish councils and local authority employees the right to express an interest in taking over the running of a local authority service.” Local councils must respond to this interest and where it accepts it, run a procurement exercise for the service in which the challenging organisation can bid”

This will obviously give local communities an opportunity to be involved in the provision of services they receive, but wouldn’t this increase bureaucracy and expenditure by local authorities who have to run a procurement exercise and assess any bids? Will it also mean that co-ordinated groups of small numbers in the community may have a louder voice than a larger local population who are happy with the services as they are?

10.) “When listed assets come up for sale or change of ownership, community groups will have time to develop a bid and raise the money to buy the asset when it comes on the open market.”

It is important that assets are kept in the community they belong, but at the same time this may also give some local authorities the notion that selling off its assets is a good idea.

11.) “The Localism Bill will give local people the power to initiate local referendums on local issues that are important to them. Local 
authorities and other public bodies will be required to take the outcome of referendums into account and consider what steps, if any, they will take to give effect to the result.”

Where we have seen local library campaigners wishes ignored, even with overwhelming support from the community, the ability to raise a local referendum may be more effective in highlighting support for an initiative.

12.) “Right to approve or veto excessive council tax rises”

The current situation in this country has seen council taxes capped by Central Government, even though a minimal rise may allow vital services to be developed in a local area. The ability to vote on council tax rises may ensure vital services are kept in the future.

13.) “Reform to make the planning system clearer, more democratic and more effective.” Currently “planning does not give members of the public enough influence over decisions that make a big difference to their lives. Too often, power is exercised by people who are not directly affected by the decisions they are taking.”

This will allow communities to have a greater say over planning in their area. This could mean that communities put together a local development plan that includes the services/facilities they want, such as a local library.

14.) Finally, the Localism Bill enables the removal of duties for local authorities to inform citizens about how local democracy works. If this happens it would mean local communities are at a disadvantage in ensuring that their voice will be heard.

So, in summary, the Bill will enable local communities (people, councillors and local authorities/councils) to have a greater impact on the development of services in their own area, but at the same time the Bill proposes the removal of restrictions that are currently in place to ensure local councils continue to provide essential local services.

The next stage for the Localism Bill is the report stage in the House of Lords (September 2011), which gives members of the House of Lords the opportunity to consider changes to the Bill.

(Thanks to Lauren Smith for input on this post)

Library Day In The Life, Round 7, 25-31 July 2011


This post was written as part of the “Library Day In The Life” project.

“The Library Day in the Life Project is a semi-annual event coordinated by Bobbi Newman of Librarian by Day. Twice a year librarians, library staff and library students from all over the globe share a day (or week) in their life through blog posts, photos, video and Twitter updates.”

In my day job I’m a Technical Librarian for a public library service in the UK. This mainly involves looking after the catalogue (I don’t tend to do much cataloguing these days, as that’s the responsibility of my assistant) and investigating possible uses of Web2.0 and Library2.0 services. I also wear another hat, as I’m a member of the Voices For The Library (VFTL) national campaign group, which was formed almost a year ago to address concerns about severe cuts local council’s were making to library services.

Gorillaz Mug

The Gorillaz coffee mug that contains the coffee that keeps me going in work!

25 July

I had the morning off, so during this time I responded to a few emails from fellow campaigners in Voices For The Library team. Following this I did a bit of tweeting for the Voices twitter account (@ukpling). Generally I do this a couple of times a day. I use Google News UK to identify relevant articles for tweeting and I also look for items to retweet from other library campaigners.

Got to work and checked my emails.

Then I read through some configuration/styling notes for new public catalogue we will be using from the end of 2011. (We’ll go through them during a meeting tomorrow.)

Briefly discussed forthcoming meeting with cataloguer about the use of Interest Categories on our stock. Surrey has used Interest Categories in conjunction with Dewey classification over the past 20+ years and we are looking at how we can improve on them. The meeting will also involve members of the stock team.

I also caught up with emails about our e-book service and the area in general. I was part of the original project group that helped set the e-book service up, from the cataloguing perspective. My initial involvement was limited, but it looks like I’ll be having more involvement in this project in the future.

I subscribe to a number of email lists for libraries and had a quick scan through the emails they generate. One discussion thread relevant to my role was the “Digital Economy Act”.

Had a quick look at the new version of,  to investigate if we can make use of it in some way. Maybe its ability to share with Facebook would be useful in some way? I really like the way you search using this catalogue. Always gives me something new to read when I’ve tried it in the past.

Caught up on some Voices For The Library discussions when I got home.

26 July 2011

Another morning off again. Sent out a few news tweets for Voices For The Library/@ukpling.

Picked up copy of “Surrey Downs” magazine on the way out of the flat. It included an article about plans for Surrey Library Service.

Went to lobby outside County Hall about changes to library services. About 80 campaigners were in attendance. Unfortunately I could only stay for about 40 minutes.

Library campaigners lobby outside County Hall

Library campaigners lobby outside County Hall

Went to meeting about the styling/configuration of our new public catalogue.
Following this I went to the local library to finish typing up minutes for a meeting I’d attended on the previous Friday with colleagues who manage the stock and coordinate events and promotions.

Signed up for the Librarycamp event, which is being held in Birmingham in October. Really looking forward to going, especially as I will get to meet so many people there that I’ve only ever spoken to on Twitter. 🙂

Got home and wrote an update for my blog about the situation in Surrey Libraries. I also caught up with a few VFTL discussions.

27 July 2011

I worked on creating a newspaper for my public library service. is a link aggregator that produces a page of related items either daily or weekly.  I’ve created’s for other topics eg. Save libraries and charities. I just find it a useful way of presenting articles, blog posts, photos, videos etc that have been tweeted around a specific theme. It saves people trawling back through a lot of people’s tweets to catch up on the news. I’ll also be running a workshop at some point with my team covering

I also investigated the intricacies of Google+; why it’s important and how it can be used for current awareness, discussion and work, etc. I’ll also be running a workshop on this with the team. I like Google+, but I’m not sure how it will affect my use of other social network sites.

Did a bit of tweeting for VFTL.

28 July

Mostly checked emails and responded.

We currently use Internet Explorer 7 in work, which isn’t compatible with some of the newer whizzier websites. This means I have to download Google Chrome instead to use them. So, I downloaded Google Chrome and took a look at Storify allows you to combine Flickr, Twitter, links, videos, text into a narrative format. My library service ran a Children’s Book Festival earlier this year and I tried to put something together to cover this.

Watched a webcast of the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, which contained a discussion about the library service.

More VFTL tweets and discussions when I get home.

29 July

Sat in the park on a lovely sunny morning and put together a VFTL blog post about the new Portsmouth library on my laptop.

Blogging in the sun

Blogging in the sun

Checked emails in work and responded to a list discussion from a librarian in another local authority about Library apps.

I took the time to read (some of it anyway) and discuss the Localism Bill. I feel I need to play a part in these discussions, not only to know what is going on, but to hopefully influence it in some small way and so I can be prepared for the future and the effects this may have on library services.

I booked myself onto CILIP library advocacy event in September.

Stumbled across an article about e-libraries on the Conservative Home site and commented on it, highlighting the fact that public library services need to be seen as a whole and physical libraries shouldn’t suffer because e-libraries services are being developed.

Had my monthly 1-to-1 with my line manager. In this we discussed how my work was progressing; priorities; plans; projects.

Went home and umm…. caught up on a couple of VFTL discussions.

30-31 July

The only library related work I’ll probably do over the weekend is a few VFTL tweets and emails… unless anything major happens – which is always a possibility.

I’ll also be preparing for a local campaign meeting on Tuesday night. Possibly a long day on Tuesday, as I didn’t get home until midnight after the last meeting! If you see me asleep on the train around this time on Tuesday, please wake me up so I don’t miss my stop. Thanks. 🙂

New Improved Lets You Manage Your Papers

Since setting up a newspaper earlier this year for Voices For The Library, I’ve been experimenting with it some more.
In case you don’t know, creates an online newspaper, bringing together links pulled out of tweets or Facebook accounts, based upon searches you set up.
It acts as an aggregator of information, keeps a permanent record of links in a single place that have been tweeted around a particular subject area, or by specific Twitter users. Once aggregated the newspaper can automatically be tweeted daily or weekly from an account and an archive of previous “editions” of your is also available.
It doesn’t work well if you’re just pulling in links from disparate lists of Twitter accounts. So many of these Twitter accounts don’t have a single subject focus, so irrelevant links can be pulled out. This may be fine if you’ve set up the account for yourself, as a way to quickly scan links your Twitter friends may have tweeted, but your Twitter followers may not be interested in these links at all.
I know some people get irritated by having tweets appear in their Twitter stream because of this reason. The links appear to be a random collection of unrelated items, with no central theme bringing them together. Here’s an example of what I’d consider to be an unsuccessful in this respect.
Extra Loud paperli

Extra Loud Library Voices

The key to a successful is down to the way it’s set up and how it’s managed. It does seem to work best with specific subject/topic information if you can pull links in from a limited set of Twitter users who specifically focus on a particular subjects and nothing else (corporate/business accounts work best for this, rather than personal accounts) or a range of unique keywords.
I’ve created a number of newspapers using
Many of them are focused upon libraries (but with different angles) and a couple are charity related. They each have a specific focus and through trial and error I worked out the best way to pull a range of relevant links from Twitter (& Facebook) together. Often the method/set up was pretty straightforward and hung on a range of unique/ limited keywords.
The “Love Libraries! Save Libraries!” newspaper is the most complicated and this was only possible because have recently improved the functions of the service. It used to only allow a single method of searching for links in each paper, but now allows a combination of 5 searches in each paper. They include keyword, user, list of users, hashtags, facebook keywords. It makes it so much more flexible.
If you’ve ever set up an automated system in the hope that that it will be 100% accurate, you will know that this doesn’t always work. Automated systems do pull through the ocassional miss-hit and incorrect link. Up until now has been completely automated, but they have now updated their service, so that users can have greater control over the links that are published.
Users can now edit their paper once it has been compiled. They can:
  • Delete articles that aren’t relevant.
  • Move more relevant articles to the top of paper to highlight them as key stories/links/news items.
  • Add an editorial comment – useful for letting readers know what subject coverage is in your, or maybe you want to point readers to specific websites related to your paper.
  • Click on “i” that appears under an article it shows other users that have picked up this article and also other Twitter users that have mentioned this article in a tweet. This is extremely useful for identifying other Twitter users interested in the same subjects/topics as you.
  • Click on Twitter user associated with a link in your and interact with them as you would via Twitter. ie retweet, reply, follow, etc.
  • Add a background image to your

All of these features enable users to present a much more relevant/tailored paper.

The relevance of a paper also not only depends on where/how you pull the links in, but also where that information is displayed and presented. For example, the “Voices For The Library” and “Extra Loud Library Voices” are tweeted via my own personal Twitter account and via the @ukpling account. Having it tweeted via @ukpling generates much more interest than if it’s tweeted from my account. The key is to be able to tweet the information from an account the links relate to.  eg Barnardos, Visual Disability Charities, Surrey Libraries. Tweeting from the Surrey Libraries account won’t be a problem, but it would be so much better if I could arrange for Barnardos, etc to tweet the charity links related to their aims.

The new functions has added have made the service so much more useable, but the best’s will still be the ones that people put in the effort to set up and manage correctly.