I’ve been following the Voices for the Library campaign in Twitter and Facebook and slightly neglected to worry too much about what was happening in my London Borough. Bromley has an excellent large local library and while I was aware there were a lot of cuts hitting neighbouring Lewisham, I had presumed our services were safe until I picked up (via Twitter) a story in this week’s News Shopper of the 36 posts that are under threat if the proposed merged between Bexley and Bromley libraries goes ahead. To presume that ‘back room’ functions in a library won’t have an impact on front line services is ridiculous. Some of the most essential library jobs often done by professional staff could be considered ‘back room’ functions. But of course, libraries could so easily be run by volunteers. Who needs professional staff with masters qualifications?
I’ve managed to connect with one of my local public librarians via Twitter. After attending the TeachMeet in Kingston I was really keen to try and meet up with some staff from the local public library and FE College, so I hope perhaps this could be a way to make some links. If we in higher education can, we surely must help support our local library to fight these cuts. However, I do believe that libraries must modernise and think really carefully about how we market ourselves and our services. My research in Cambridge is convincing me further that libraries and librarians have a valuable role to play in supporting learning in the future, but it will inevitably mean changing some of what we do.