Monday, 6 July 2015

One of those weeks

It's been a strange week. One of those weeks, where everything you think is going to go wrong does, but in a way you've not planned for, so much for contingencies, and then boom, reality sets in... at a time when I'm wondering what I'm going to do with myself, I've heard of the death of two very young people. One in their early thirties leaves a very young son behind and another, in their forties, apparently suddenly, also leaving child. It's shocking, being in my late thirties myself, I still feel 17 and although what I see in the mirror and try and wrestle into some modicum of control before leaving the house, shows me I'm not, I know, quite rightly that it should not be my time yet. Thinking of people so close to me in age that have died, (I hate the expression pass away, they have died, they have gone whatever your belief system and or faith teaches you, right now, they are not here) completely flabbergasts me. It is a stark thing to have mortality shoved right at the front of your thoughts "Here you are! I know you've got lots to occupy you, I just thought you could cope with this too!" Somehow I think that the only way forward, to honour those taken far too bloody soon is to live, remember, and don't take anything for granted, you never know when you'll be gone too, leaving others to learn the same brutal lesson.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Is there anybody there...

I've been sitting, looking at my last post (all the way back in 2013) thinking I should try blogging again. Life changes dramatically over two years. Priorities shift, people come and go and life becomes an altogether different 'thing'. I'm wondering if blogging, putting out there the daily madness, submitting to what is likely, initially at least, to be a brain-dump of detritus will help me get to where I'm needing to be, instead of torturing my busy 3 am brain and people I know on Facebook. Well whatever it turns out to be, if there is anyone still out there, hello. I'm back, feel free to say hi! S x

Friday, 6 September 2013


It's been... well, a while! Life has definitely changed, from little things like my hair (it’s currently blue) to bigger things like my “paid” job is changing dramatically and what direction that is going to take I do not know. I now have a niece and a nephew. It’s amazing watching them grow. The biggest news is that my sister and I have started a business, properly, with a bank account and everything. We are loving it. Going to craft fairs and interacting with the people who buy and like our stuff has been a real eye-opener. We had really great feedback, had some of our items stocked in a local craft outlet called Landbaby and our sales are growing, we’ve had some repeat customers too, which is the BEST feeling ever! Fancy taking a look at our makings? We are called la même étoffe you can also find us on facebook too! Here's a little sneaky peak at an impromptu photoshoot in the garden!

Friday, 3 February 2012

National Libraries Day 2012

Its National Libraries Day (NLD) tomorrow. Locally there are a few Libraries who seem to be organising things, I hope that they all go really well. NLD is a really good idea to get more people interested in using their local services, and at the moment for highlighting the appalling way in which they are being decimated. Up and down the country they are fighting tooth and nail in order to stop cuts, going to court, meeting Ed Vaizey and organising events.

You know what? It is all happening for you, the library user or the potential library user. Each person that works for Libraries, or campaigns for them believes in you. Believes in YOUR right to free access to knowledge, because knowledge is power. Each one of us knows that without libraries, we would not be where we are now. We know it in our very bones.

So tomorrow is all about you. Go to your library, there may or may not be an event on, but that doesn’t matter. Events like NLD are BRILLIANT, but the library is there everyday, for you! Everyday can be like National Libraries Day... except better, it is YOUR LIBRARY DAY! Go tomorrow, and keep on going! Say this whenever you cross the threshold of your library “This is my place of freedom. This is my place of knowledge and of help. This is my place of enjoyment. This is my place of safety. This is my right. This is my Library!”

Friday, 21 October 2011

A response to Mr McTernan

My reaction to this article was inevitable. For a good half hour I was speechless. I could not even begin to contemplate how someone could think, let alone believe the drivel within this piece of poorly researched piffle.

Apparently “John McTernan has an MA in librarianship from Sheffield University and worked in libraries from 1984 to 1994” really? He worked in Libraries up until 16 years ago. In that case he must be up to date then. We don’t trust medical evidence from 1994 unless it has been re-investigated since then, so why on earth should we listen to a non-practicing librarian who unless he can produce proof he’s kept up to date? A non-practicing Librarian who clearly HATES Libraries and other Librarians.

I’d like to address some of his points
“This is a fight by middle-class liberals to keep libraries open not for themselves, but for the less fortunate. This is partly out of condescension, and partly guilt – because the protesters don’t use libraries either, and feel they may have precipitated the closures by their neglect.”

Really, and you know this how? It is ridiculous as an argument. So anyone who hasn’t been tortured should not protest against violent regimes then? We should stop giving money to Charity because we, our mother/sister/wife/daughter hasn’t had breast cancer etc? Yeah, that argument works...

“Yes, public libraries have been of huge benefit in helping us educate ourselves over the past 150 years. It’s an honourable tradition – but it’s over. Their defence depends on a deficit model, the argument that they fill a unique gap. But that’s simply no longer true.”

Ahh... WRONG, now who’s patronising eh? Libraries have been in existence for that long for a reason. That reason being to provide open access to information FOR ALL regardless of whether they can afford it or not. I do believe that people cannot hope to afford to have access to every piece of information they need in the course of their lives. They do fill a unique gap. ALL Libraries have access to information you could not find anywhere else. What we do have now thanks to computers and let’s face it, culture in general is an expectation that you can get what you want IMMEDIATELY. That’s the issue we are getting at here, people won’t wait for an Inter Library Loan, crikey! some people don’t want to click more than twice to get an article online, let alone wait for a book to arrive from another library! This is not something to blame Libraries for. Libraries have been a driving force for increasing access to information. Libraries are a service, not just a location.

“Access to information has been transformed by the internet. Google a subject and you can become ridiculously well-informed ridiculously quickly.”

Right, here we have another problem. I, on a daily basis repeat this phrase to my students “Just because it’s on the internet, it doesn’t make it true!” Any loony can and does publish on the internet. The fact that I have to remind MSc and doctoral students of this doesn’t bode well for people, who haven’t had the experience with the internet that most of my students have. Oh Google will give you an answer alright, but is it the right one? Is the question right? I’m reminded of the quote by Mark Twain (yes he who opened one of the threatened Libraries) “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.”

If Google did have all the answers, why would academic Libraries spend so much on scientific bibliographic databases? Why would we spend huge swathes of our budgets on full text journal access? not forgetting the print stuff, some of which is not available online, certainly not for free, the publishers would never allow it, despite all the advances of the open access movement. Why would I spend so much time teaching people about search strategies? Why would public librarians provide and demonstrate their users different resources they select especially to support EVERYONE.

“Fast, cheap computing had spread to most homes, and to our whizzy new mobile phones. Where on earth is the gap that libraries are meant to plug?”

Do I really need to answer this again? apparently so!
1: Not everyone has access, some due to location, some due to income. This is more than you would think
2: Not everyone has the necessary skills to access correct information.
Libraries help with this. We might not always have up to the minute technology. But something is better than nothing.

Onto the next point!
“Virtually every kid has a desk at home – even if it often has a games console on it. And libraries at secondary schools are, in my experience, uniformly good and open places for young people.”

Do they? Government reports show that child poverty is increasing. Too many children are not fed or clothed properly. Do not sleep in a bed. Are not encouraged at home or where literacy or time with parents is restricted. Go to schools without Libraries or Librarians to staff them. What good is a games console when you need to study? Close Libraries and you condemn a generation.

“The crisis in our libraries is not because of the “cuts” – it’s because they are needed less.”

I don’t think so. Do you? Libraries are needed more than ever. EMA’s are gone. Community centres closed, youth groups gone and with them all associated help and programmes. Even the BBC held up by Mr McTernan as an example of good practice is having to scale back its online service as it has had it’s funding frozen.

Libraries might not be used by every person everyday, but they are free at point of access, like the NHS. Lets see if Mr McTernan wants to help close that next?

I’m a Librarian, I will I suspect according to be a biased liberal, so, thank goodness John McTernan has shown me the error of my ways. Close Libraries indeed... *Rolls eyes and goes back to cataloguing*

Oh and if you don't want to listen to me? Listen to Lauren