In November I went on a visit to Worksop Public Library run by the East Midlands branch of CILIP, which combined a workshop on CILIP qualifications (relevant to my chartership) and a tour of the library.
It was good to meet people who were in a similar stage of chartership and the talk from Kath Owen was great. This was the first part of my plan to get beyond the ‘gathering evidence’ stage of my chartership and actually start putting together something which looks like a portfolio. As I’ve finally regained my free time after buying a house in September (hence the lack of activity on this blog since then!) I should have lots more opportunity to make that happen!
Worksop Library is newly built and only opened on 20th September 2010. It’s lovely: my photos really didn’t do it justice, so I’d recommend checking out the photos from the day on the East Midlands Branch Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/emboc/sets/72157625342805449/. It’s a beautiful rebuild.
What was really inspiring for me, though, was hearing all about how the library had gone the extra mile in embedding itself in the community since the reopening. The library had worked alongside community businesses to help open up author days and put on lots of community activities. They were also co-located with other services, including a registry office (and gorgeous little wedding chapel!) and a day centre for those with disabilities.
With my chartership hat on I was particularly interested in how the library has fostered relationships with the other services in the building. I think it’s often assumed that putting two services together will automatically lead to collaboration, but in my experience it’s far from that easy! For example, the Student Development team in the University are based in the library building at my current post, but we’re still working on ways to work together.
At Worksop collaboration and co-location seemed to have worked well: you could tell that staff from different services all knew each other, and day centre users were happy to wander out into the library and get books. I asked after the tour and the staff were keen to stress that it had needed a lot of personal commitment. Clearly something to think about doing more in my post (I’m a liaison librarian, after all!).
The only downer of the day was going into the staff room and noticing a newspaper clipping about library cuts on the noticeboard. It’s all the more heartbreaking to think about the impact of cuts when you see what a little investment in library services can do, and Nottinghamshire County Council is getting hit hard http://www.thebookseller.co.uk/news/131578-protests-begin-over-library-cuts-in-nottinghamshire.html. I hope the momentum Worksop Library gained when the new build opened isn’t lost completely in these hard times.