Sunday, 1 December 2013

November Book Reviews

I've gone on a bit of an unscheduled sci-fi/fantasy bent lately so you'll have to forgive me.. needless to say I have been left thoroughly confused by it all!

By local Wiltshire author and mobile library driver Alan Richardson Dark Light is a kooky, humourous tale of humans controlled by higher powers with the thrill of a chase, multiple time periods and the mistaken switch of an electric kettle from Argos and Yahya, the head in a box all in the sleepy county town of Trowbridge!

Never fear though with the death goddess Jenny Grey, american Lillith Love and Jack Hobbes the undoubtedly best mobile library manager ever all will be explained or at least there might be a book on the mobile about it! 

The newest offering from the wonderful Patrick Ness tackles the idea of the after life, if such a thing exists.

Seth drowned in the ocean, cold and alone but when he wakes up in his childhood home on a different continent things start getting strange. As Seth explores this new land, he is plagued by memories of his short life, trying to make sense of past decisions. But this new land has it's own rules, it's own dangers and secrets. With the help of new friends Regine and Tomasz and a common enemy in The Driver things start to become clearer and truths rise to the surface. Tomasz provides much needed light relief in a very heavy and serious novel but fans of Ness will not be disappointed.

My first voyage in to Terry Pratchett has left me totally confused and yet with a smile on muy face. Now I submit that starting with the 37th episode in a long standing series is probably not the best way to introduce yourself to an author but the fact that I enjoyed this book without knowing all the history is a testament to Pratchett's style. 

The professors of Unseen University must compete in a football tournament, the only problem is no-one knows how to play. Enter Mister Nutt, a mysterious little fellow with knowledge of the game as well as anything else you might want to know. There is a lot more going on in this book including the stories of Glenda and Juliet from the Night Kitchen but this has definitely wetted the appetite for more.

David Mitchell has always been one of those comedians that I wasn't sure whether I liked or not but after reading his biography I find his story endearing. 

Recounting his youth with fondness, talking about his career from Edinburgh, radio and TV and sharing perspectives as we all know he can whilst taking us on his daily walk through London. His narrative is simple and fun whilst being honest and that makes it all the more believable. I read the whole book all the while with a smile on my face.

A startlingly debut from Koethi Zan negotiates the aftermath of everyone's worse nightmare. Caroline Morrow appears to be a normal human being, just your average New Yorker but she is a recluse and has been for ten years ever since she escaped from the cellar of Jack Derber. 

When news comes of Jack's parole hearing she digs into the past to find evidence to keep him behind bars. She wants justice for Jennifer, her friend who never made it out of Jack's cellar but the only way to find out the truth is to go back to where it all began and try to make sense of the past.

A fantastical tale full of illusion, magic and the wonders of childhood. I wouldn't expect anything different from Neil Gaiman. Friendships during childhood are looked back on with fondness and the storyteller's friendship with the Hempstock women at the end of the lane begins a rollercoaster of events. 

To tell more would take away the enjoyment and I would not want to deprive anyone of Gaiman's genius. 

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

October Book Reviews

Franky is 30, working in clothes retail where his boss is also his girlfriend. It's fair to say life is pretty easy and he's got few complaints but a weekend away camping with old friends changes all that. Holly's pregnant, Nevin's a kleptomaniac, Wayland has a major drinking problem and then there's Alek. Alek is Franky's best friend, but there's always more to the story than that.

When Franky makes friends with the gay couple on the site opposite it puts things in to perspective. Bombshells are dropped throughout the 250 pages and just when you think things are getting better someone confesses to something.

Never has a group of old friends had so many secrets nor such a deluded sense of loyalty and honour. As far as LGBT lit goes it's a solid offering with stereotypical support characters. Can't say I'm rushing to read more by Mel Bossa though.

A beautiful debut from Erin Morgenstern that I am still trying to wake from. I can't tell you too much of the plot without giving things away but suffice it to say that if you suspend belief for long enough you will be welcomed into the circus of dreams with open arms. 
Part fantasy, part love story, part mystery there is something for everyone in this story with a beautiful mix of eccentric characters. Be warned though that it isn't all happiness that befalls you at the Night Circus and sometimes it's hard to tell the light from the dark and the good from the evil.

Unfortunately there aren't plans for another book from this wonderful author yet.

The first of the Mortal Instruments trilogy introduces us to a world of shadow hunters, vampires and other (seemingly normal  for these days) other worldly characters as Clary explores a world that has been kept secret from her for the 15 years of her life. 

Unfortunately, this secret is revealed when her mother disappears one night and Clary battles her first demon. With the help of her best friend Simon and the new and handsome stranger Jace she learns of her heritage and the true identities of people she's known her whole life.

An easy teen read for those who enjoy the genre although I don't feel the need to rush out and read the next instalment straight away.

After seeing Burton and Taylor on BBC4 I felt the need to read Private Lives and I'm glad I did. A short three act play which follows the hapless activities of two newly-wed couples. Brilliant easy reading for an autumnal evening. Coward is fantastic in his wordplay and wit is present in abundance as Elyot and Amanda reminisce and rekindle their old flame whilst on honeymoon with the new partners.

As is expected chaos ensues and passion wins out but oh my do they have some fun in the mean time!

I've always been a fan of Bill Bryson and this is another of his wonderous gifts to the world. In One Summer Bryson picks out the key figures of the Summer of 1927 - names you'd recognise; Charles Lindbergh, Calvin Coolidge, Babe Ruth, Al Capone are intertwined with forgotten names of the age; Philo Farnsworth, Kenesaw Martin Landis and Jacob Ruppert. 

This was the Summer Mount Rushmore was commissioned, Babe Ruth had the season of his life, the first talking picture The Jazz Singer was shown in theatres and Charles Lindbergh navigated the Atlantic Ocean single-handed. 

Uplifting, inspirational and at times sensational Bryson's account of these four short months will keep you turning the pages and satisfying your appetite for discovery.

Rose and Joshua used to live together... their parents were in a relationship until they disappeared 5 years ago and Rose and Joshua were split up. 

Joshua was sent north but has recently moved back to London to start university... and to find his Dad and Rose's mum. 

Rose has recently returned from boarding school to start at the local college but when she witnesses two murders in the same number of weeks things start to get a little strange. Unable to let it go Rose is conducting her own investigations with the help of Joshua's room-mate Skeggsie.

All in all a simple read with underlying teenage angst.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Thank You Neil Gaiman

Earlier this month Neil Gaiman (@NeilHimself) gave the second annual Reading Agency Lecture. For his topic he chose the importance of reading for pleasure and as part of that the importance of libraries. I sat listening to the lecture with a notebook handy to jot any words of wisdom down and came away with a handful of notes from half an hour. Suffice it to say after listening to him he has probably earned a place on my wall of wisdom next to the wonder that is Michael Rosen.

Gaiman is in tune with the world of reading, rightly so you would think for an author who has been plying his trade for over thirty years. Again and again the words reading for pleasure were echoed around the lecture hall of The Barbican – as a Librarian in a public library I feel the most important part of my job, my duty if you like is to promote reading for pleasure to all and especially to those children who I interact with. Therefore I felt an affinity with “my friend Neil “as he continued to expostulate on the importance of reading for pleasure – the need to escape and empathise and the lessons reading for pleasure can teach us about basic humanity and help us to develop our own opinions.

He spoke of libraries as magical places... drawing out the words inter library loan, like a small miracle when he first heard it from his local Librarian. He spoke of the evolving nature of libraries with passion and a sense of excitement, promoting libraries not just as book repositories but a place that can help people to find out, sort and collate the masses of information that we are now buried under on a daily basis. An interesting statistic that I managed to note down was from Eric Schmidt of Google; Every two days the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of time to 2003! That totally had my mind blown... the information glut we are now living through needs these professionals to help navigate for those who are not computer literate, in a world where life is increasingly led online libraries are a free, legal and open resource for all and are as Gaiman believes the “gates to the future”.

He finished off by speaking of the obligations we have as human beings... the easy ones; to read, to use language and to daydream. But there were also subtle calls to arms; to tell MPs what we want, to use and embrace language, to use reading for pleasure as time to bond with children and show them that reading for pleasure, irrelevant of format should be embraced and celebrated.

The last sparkle of wisdom I’ll leave you with is this.... “If you don’t value libraries you don’t value culture, information or wisdom”. Now I may be biased due to my profession but reading and creating a literate society should be the top priority of a nation. A literate nation is in my opinion an informed nation with a chance to build upon the wonders of the past with the promises of the future and libraries are essential to this end. I would quite happily show this lecture in schools and universities up and down the country, along with both houses of parliament.

So thank you Neil for standing up for reading and libraries and let me know next time you’re in town. 

PS. If you want to watch the lecture just click the link at the top of the post and prepare to fall in love (only intellectually though.... don't get carried away!)

Friday, 4 October 2013

September Book Reviews

Following the fashion of gossip from below stairs Baker serves up a fresh perspective of the nation's favourite Austen created family. And as expected there's as much drama below stairs as above. The introduction of James the footman causes a stir in the comfortable household and forces Sarah to re-think her position in life and society. But much goes on that is not necessarily seen.

All the favourite characters appear Wickham, Lizzie and the insatiable Mrs Bennett but there are fresh secrets revealed in Baker's portrayal. Should Mary have married Mr Collins? Was the Hill's marriage all it seemed? Beautifully written and a good excuse to return to a world as well known as my own.

The sequel to Legend. Day and June are on the run but exactly who is the enemy? After the death of the elector it's hard to tell. One thing's for sure at least Day and June can rely on each other can't they??

Lu brings back brave and ruthless character s throwing them together and ramping up the pressure... the truth will out! An easy read for those who enjoy the dystopian genre of teen fiction.

This was recommended by a friend and reminds me a lot of Dan Brown with a bit more respect for the audience. The Sancti are clouded in mystery and never leave the security of the Citadel that is until Brother Samuel makes a rather public plea for help. The Sancti are not all they seem, they have a secret that must remain exactly that no matter who gets in their way.

A racing thriller that will have you gripped from the start with the next two instalments already published... it's going to be a good winter thanks to Mr Toyne!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

August Book Reviews

Another of those modern classics that I felt I should read... but much like The Great Gatsby I got to the end and thought... why??? Yes I finished it but I can't tell you what happened because it didn't compute.

Plath's style of writing is nothing to sneer at but the story was so erratic... much like the protagonist. I found myself working back trying to work out who characters are that popped up in different places. All in all way too much effort for not much reward, maybe I should let classics pass me by.

A recommendation from a friend. Lost at Sea is a collection of Ronson's more eccentric stories from his Guardian column. There are some weird and wonderful unique individuals alive in the world and Ronson has a met a few. 

Episodes include attending a UFO conference with Robbie Williams and a cruise with psychic Sylvia Browne. He spends time with indigo children, attends an alpha course to find out if it's a form of brain washing and patrols Seattle streets with Phoenix Jones; a real life superhero. 

The tales he weaves of the world around us is at times so surreal  you can't help but believe that we live in a wonderful world.

Ever since I found out Mark Watson was a novelist as well as a pretty kick ass comedian I've been meaning to read one of his novels and I finally found a gap in the schedule.

Dominic is a photographer who has spent his whole life snapping other people's perfect days. The youngest of three children and by all accounts the most ignored he lives his life in the shadows whilst ignoring the knot in his stomach... a dark secret he can share with no one but his sister for fear of judgement and ostracism. There is subtle humour in Watson's style and his characters are immediately likeable - will definitely be delving into another soon. 

 I love Lisa Jewell and when I found a book in her back catalogue that had passed me by I got quite over excited! This may be partly due to the fact that it's set in South East London where I'm originally from and I read it on the lead up to a visit home but the thing I love about Jewell's writing is that she manages to write characters with whom you want to go out for dinner with, or for a pint down the local.

The London family are an average family, two parents, three boys all grown up but they all have their secrets to carry. When Gervase starts lodging at the London's home things start to change. Eldest son Tony is divorced, caught up with work, jealous of his younger brother who has a successful writing career and is in the midst of a whirlwind romance with a beautiful older woman. But when the youngest London, Ned, comes home from Australia (running away from his own mistakes) and the family is complete Gervase starts to work his magic.

I felt it was a poignant moment to read the lovely original Bridget Jones and came to the conclusion that Helen fielding is every woman! True, gritty, absolutely hilarious , it's no wonder Bridget has found a place in hearts of women all over the globe! I don' t think I need to say anything else really... suffice to say if you haven't read it yet... you're missing out!

The reading group choice for the Summer... because you need the whole Summer! Now I've never particularly got on with Dickens which is why two weeks into reading it I have only got a hundred pages into this hefty tome! I blame Hard Times at AS and A Level!

So I shall be persevering and hopefully it will make a future entry at some point - if somehow it never makes it back into the book reviews you'll know I've given up and you can judge me as you see fit! 

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Library Camp SW: An Organiser’s Perspective

Library Camps have been popping up all over the UK over the last 3-5 years and in my opinion represent all that is good in networking and collaboration within the library and information profession. Unlike conferences such as Umbrella, library camps are un-conferences which are based on “Open Space Technology” (Harrison Owen) which has four main principles and one law:-

1. Whoever comes is the right people
2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
3. Whenever it starts is the right time
4. When it’s over, it’s over

Law of two feet: If, during the course of the gathering, any person finds him or herself in any situation where they are neither learning nor contributing, they must use their two feet and go to some more productive place.

Open Space Technology works best when the conditions are present:
1. A real issue of concern, that it is something worth talking about.
2. a high level of complexity, such that no single person or small group fully understands or can solve the issue
3. a high level of diversity, in terms of the skills and people required for a successful resolution
4. real or potential conflict[5], which implies that people genuinely care about the issue
5. a high level urgency, meaning the time for decisions and action was "yesterday"

This is the first time that I had both helped organise something on this scale and attended an un-conference although the basic concept is quite easy to grasp. I first found out about library camp SW through colleagues on Twitter (@deadlylibrarian and @idhunter22) who I had met at previous conferences and expressed an interest in helping out... it was literally as simple as that (bless the wonders of social media!). Organising the day took 4 months on and off but once a venue and day had been chosen the hardest part was over. The beauty of an un-conference is that so much rests on what happens on the day that there isn’t actually that much to plan. With this in mind we only met 3-4 times before the actually camp took place in July. There was a heavy use of Twitter, email, Google docs and other technologies to keep everyone updated as the months went on and I feel this was the easiest and most efficient way of managing the day. Funding was secured from CILIP SW and Library Camp UK for the venue, porter services and essential tea and coffee rations – we also had sponsors like Bowker give us canvas bags, pens etc for free giveaways.

From organisation to running the day Library Camp SW was a total group effort with a committee of approx twelve librarians from across the region. This team covered all sectors and brought a plethora of skills to the table from IT expertise, local information and a brilliance of understanding risk assessments! We all publicised the event through different channels, a percentage of tickets were held for school librarians and emails were sent out to all local authorities and university libraries ensuring a wide mix of delegates on the day.

Like most things these days, technology played a large part in organising the day from publicising on Twitter, to booking tickets via eventbrite and adding information and updates to the wiki – a totally collaborative space with sections for session proposals, lunch (an essential part of all library camps) and information on travelling to and from the camp. 

Feeling quite bad at this point that I had not contributed much I volunteered along with @jenfosterlib to take charge of pitching sessions on the day and finalising the timetable of sessions. We met up separately to discuss the itinerary for the day and how people would move between sessions. This included making sure all the housekeeping was in order, directing people between sessions and giving organisers and session leaders enough time to set up and pack away where necessary. A bonus in my opinion (although some may see it as a flaw) was that neither @jenfosterlib or myself had attended a library camp before (I was thwarted by rain and a dying car when trying to get to Exeter last year). This meant we had a blank canvas to work with and could put our own spin on the pitching sessions which worked differently in the morning and afternoon. 

Fast forward to the day and I think we were all quite anxious and excited to get going, with over 60% delegates accounted for on a sunny Saturday morning Library Camp SW was underway. There was a strong number of delegates from both the schools sector and academic libraries as tends to be at conferences but I was happy to see a few public library people too. Far too often I have been the only public sector employee at a conference and due to budget restrictions and time constraints I don’t see this changing anytime soon, although plans for a public library camp in the SW are afoot so keep your ears to the ground!

Pitching in the morning as in the afternoon was carried out via post it notes which were stuck to tables in the main foyer when delegates arrived. The various pitches were then announced via my dulcet tones and a count of hands was taken to work out how popular sessions were and which rooms to stage them in. This worked to a degree and was heavily dependent on how much detail had been added to the post it notes. We improved this in the afternoon pitching session by inviting delegates up to explain their ideas and then vote on sessions. This worked better as delegates got a far better understanding of what sessions would touch upon. Once sessions were voted on @jenfosterlib and I devised the timetable which was duplicated and displayed for everyone to plan their day. When delegates arrived they were given a bag with pens and a day planner in which they could use to plan their library camp experience.  

Popular sessions such as Information Literacy were repeated so delegates had the chance to attend but I imagine these sessions were completely different dependent on who was in the room. Sessions were pitched on current topics – apps, eBooks, the future of library services (a particularly heated session) and staples of the profession; information literacy and chartership along with quirky sessions that included attending a rhyme time (well attended by the organisers at the end of the day) and planning your “perfect library” if money wasn’t an option. Running around on the day I didn’t sit it on many full sessions but bounced between and heard some heated debates during the day but it is uplifting to be in a room with professionals so passionate about their professions... it fills you with a sense of hope for the future of the profession in all forms. The day ended with a speed networking session which gave delegates the opportunity to make contact with those they had met earlier in the day and establish partnerships that will go beyond the day.

The feedback received from the day has been mostly positive and I believe we can be proud of our achievement. There is talk of a public libraries library camp in the region which would be amazing in my eyes so hopefully this will get off the ground. The mix of organisers both on the run up to and on the day ensured a mix of delegates and a smooth running operation and I hope everyone had a productive day... the pub was definitely a highlight!

Bring on Library Camp SW 2014!

Monday, 5 August 2013

July Book Reviews

A bit heavy on the teen fiction this month but our Peters order cam in so you can't blame me! 

A beautiful, emotional and thought provoking offering from John Green and David Levithan. 

Two boys called Will Grayson with polar opposite lives meet one night in a Chicago  porn shop called Frenchy's. How they got there and where they go next I'm not going to tell you but suffice it to say it's worth the 309 pages. Not only are the to Will Grayson's totally captivating in themselves by secondary characters including Tiny Cooper, Jane, Issac and the Wills' parents provide a world worth exploring.

An interesting concept. Ethan was abducted 9 years ago outside his house. He spent 7 years with a new family before they left him, a year on a home and a year on the streets before being reunited with his family. 

Coming home isn't easy though -Ethan has to cope with 9 years of memories that don't include him, a whole town who thought he was dead and a sister he never knew. Compelling reading  with a jaw dropping twist - here's hoping for a sequel!

Jarratt's eagerly awaited follow up to the wonder that was Skin Deep last year...

Holly had to move away from everyone she knew, to protect them, the only people that really know her are her mum and dad and younger sister Katie. What she witnessed will stay with her forever, it disrupted her life in every possible way and now she has to live with the consequences... new town, new school, new life but you can never really leave it all behind.

Beautifully written and easy to read... I just wish Laura Jarratt wrote her stories quicker!

The cover of this book has been drawing me in at work for months and I've finally had a chance to get past the cover. Unfortunately I can't say it was worth the wait... what I found was a disturbing, disjointed story around a house haunted by memories, ghosts and voices from Conrad's past.

After Conrad's dad dies suddenly he comes into money and decides it is the right time to move away from the stress of LA to this quiet house in a Winsconsin cul-de-sac. He also hopes the move will save his marriage.. but moving cannot help him shake his demons... his failing relationship and his doubts of past loves. When Jo leaves on business Conrad is left to fend for himslef, find his place in the house, in this town but there are other plans larger than his, darker powers at work which will not let him be.

Can a chance encounter change your life? Allyson was a quiet, cautious girl, just graduated from high school.. but when she meets the Dutch Shakespearian actor Wilhelm she decides to throw caution to the wind and leaves her friends to spend a magical day in Paris with the Dutchman. 

Adventure and mystery ensue but a day is never enough. Whilst Allyson is back in America and starting College her mind is elsewhere and she can't settle until she finds him again. Is it romance, is it curiosity I can't quite tell. Forman's main character is a bundle of emotions and uncertainty but how else do you find out who you are if you don't take a chance? Looking forward to the sequel in October, Just One Year.

An easy read set in a rural welsh village. Coralie has moved from the city to escape her past, whilst Gethin is back from New York to face his history and say good bye to Pemorfa. Village life engulfs them both, the good and the bad, activism, gossip and history brings them together as they realise what they mean to each other.

Well written and not as predictable as many in the chick lit genre. Stovell kept me reading with characters full of love and happiness.

Friday, 12 July 2013

June Book Reviews

This reminded me a lot of Ann Patchett's State of Wonder  in terms of style but also has the feeling of a grittier William Nicholson. It took me a long time to get into but I found myself relating to characters and Mantel's way of slowly revealing secrets of the characters through their history is both thought provoking and endearing. 

Ralph and Anna have never been conventional but when they move out to Africa to help with the mission they could not possibly have prepared themselves for what they found. The year in Africa and the trials faced here will haunt them forever, but how do you move on from the past?

After attending an event at the library with the author C.J Skuse I decided to try one of her books... They aren't what I would normally go for in terms of cover design but I found myself not able to put Dead Romantic down and finished it in a day.

Zoe and Camille are taking on the experiment of a lifetime - making their own dream boy! Witty, thoughtful and hilarious - this story incorporates adventure, drama, romance and teenage angst. An easy, enjoyable read.

With a little bit of help from the Rivers famiily and a host of magic galore DC Peter Grant is out again to find the truth and solve the death of  an American in London under suspicious circumstances. 

Aaronovitch uses the metropolis as an extra character in this series of stories to brilliant effect. A riveting read, would have liked to have seen more of Nightingale and the gang of The Folly but looking forward to the next in the series already.

A prelude to Dashner's Maze Runner series - this part of the story focuses on the disaster which was a prelude to the Maze and Scorch Trials.

Mark and Trina met each other on the day of the flare... as they team up with other survivors they take on what becomes WICKED's attempt to neutralise all those infected with the madness that it left behind. As a stand alone it works well but this idea has to be over now.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

If You Could Change One Thing?

A friend asked me the other day if I could change one aspect of our library service what would it be and after a bit of thinking I answered publicity and marketing... yes I know this covers quite a broad area but in my opinion publicity is not something we are brilliant at as a profession. Don’t get me wrong advocacy for the profession has taken the spotlight in the last two years, you only need to look at Twitter and websites such as Public Library News  or Voices For the Library to see the different campaigns against budget cuts in the public sector. But we are an ever evolving profession; we have to be dynamic to stay relevant whilst still delivering essential core services. Before you start worrying this is not another tirade on CILIP re-branding although I do side with the majority in the necessity that a professional body that represents information and library professionals should have both information and library in their title. This is a look at what we already do and how we can evolve our marketing strategies – both the simple solutions and the more dynamic.

As a profession I think we are very good at preaching to the converted; very good at publicising the library within library walls but how do you reach the thousands of people who walk past the door without ever venturing inside?

Social media has filled that gap in the last decade for some with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogging and Pinterest to name a few. Wiltshire Libraries has an online presence both on the council website and with the use of Twitter to advertise different services such as Health Matters (nurses in libraries), online resources, reservations, new titles, library events etc.  But we have to also be aware that we live in a country where 14% of the population have yet to use the internet.  There is still a digital divide in Britain and rural counties have ongoing issues with internet access and broadband strength. We have to realise that we can’t rely just on online marketing, we have to have a presence in the communities that we serve.

Simple solutions can be found, for instance most libraries in Wiltshire have notice boards on their exteriors and in the towns they are based in, but not every library has a colour printer. At the moment things can be printed at HQ and sent out but this means a delay of days. We also use local newspapers to promote events but we never advertise the core services we offer in print. Simple solutions such as leaflet drops have become a thing of the past with budgets being cut but are a simple and effective way of getting our message out there to those who feel the library has nothing for them.

You would not believe the amount of people who don’t know that it’s free to join the library or use our people’s network computers. We need to get out into the community and let people know this but with staff reductions across the service time is limited for community outreach. We don’t have the time to cultivate relationships, to approach groups that would benefit from using the library and putting to bed all the myths and stereotypes. Partnerships are such a key publicising tool but it falls to the bottom of to-do lists.  

Another simple solution: In my limited research most libraries that have a Twitter account also have an online presence in the form of a blog – these online tools work hand in hand to target potential users and share information about new developments and events. We could also promote services and future events to users through an online newsletter as we ask for email addresses as part of our registration process. Wiltshire is quite a cautious service and I understand the need for this; you don’t want to sign up for everything digital, you need to be selective but by the time online tools have been researched and justified there the fashion for them has often passed and they are no longer current.

So I think the point I’m trying to make is that we need to invest in publicity, we need to get out to our communities and make ourselves heard as the threat to our profession have become very real very fast and if we do not advertise our worth and breadth of services we are in danger of losing budgets further and in extreme cases closing libraries. We have to learn to do more with less, to economize and use the resources at our disposal to reach as many people as possible.