Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: New Library World, Volume 109, Issue 7/8
The report from Hampshire Council’s Culture and Scrutiny Committee to Hampshire Library Service made it clear that the library service must come up with solutions. Staff quality is seen as relevant to the success of new service developments. The failure to make staffing decisions fit service needs was sharply criticised. The report comments that staff should have been fully engaged in past decisions and asks the service to demonstrate how it will do this in future. The article from Harer reports on a research project into current practices in employee satisfaction assessment, arguing that employees provide a unique perspective to the assessment of quality that external customers cannot provide. The study argues that there is a direct link to assessing quality of goods when libraries and organisations include measures of quality of an employee’s direct role in the process of production, efforts and methods of improving the process.
There is an improvement in the assessment of the Charter Mark status awarded to services in recognition of their responsiveness to customers. The new approach is to put the customer at the centre of service development as opposed to simply responding to customers. In a recent national project across Wales, 62 per cent of customers commented that they had noticed an improvement to the exterior of the library. This was achieved by training library staff to focus on matters over which they had control, such as managing landscaping contracts more closely, ensuring litter is dealt with and keeping windows clear of clutter. This applies inside also by dealing with the clutter of unnecessary furnishings and messages, particularly confusing (and dated) signs and notices. However, the design of a “green” library is grand scale. This is the topic of the article by Tseng, who writes about the design and evaluation of the Beitou Branch Library in Taipei Public Library System in Taiwan, which has won numerous awards. The planning and design experiences of this diamond class green library are discussed, which relate to issues of environmental protection and energy conservation for public libraries together with provision of a more healthy and comfortable environment.
British Library funding will rise to £100m in 2010/2011. This is part of the three year Comprehensive Spending Review, which takes into account international recognition. Culture Secretary, James Purnell, said “The BL provides a world-class service to vast numbers of people and organisations … the library takes on a new role as symbol of British excellence to the world.” Johnson’s article takes a different view of international support, by reviewing traditional forms of support for developing Schools of Librarianship & Information Sciences, drawing on recent research in Latin America. Johnson’s paper challenges orthodox thinking about support for new Schools of Librarianship and Information Sciences in developing countries and suggests consideration of how new communications media could play a part in this process.
A current approach to public services is to maximise opportunities for collaboration and sharing to drive efficiency. An example of this is The Bridge, a custom designed facility, resulting from an agreement between John Wheatley Further Education College and Culture & Sport Glasgow, to deliver library services to students and members of the public. The Bridge demonstrates how shared services can be transformational when they are focused on the needs of the user. True collaboration may involve some lack of control by each partner, but end users are receiving a better service. The importance of collaboration is highlighted by Chaudhry and Khoo in their paper. They describe the continuing effort to develop a repository of teaching materials for sharing and reuse in LIS schools in Asia. Their paper suggest guidelines for developing taxonomies in different domains, describes steps in building repositories of learning materials, and suggests a methodology for studying reusability of learning material.
According to John Mullins, Director of the Future Leaders Programme for information services staff in higher education, the librarian identity needs to be reworked into a more visionary, strategic leadership role. He says that people in libraries “need to begin to reframe their identity … they need to grow into their role as leader”. (Library + Information Update, 2008). The paper from Rehman considers the strategic plan and other elements of nine Library and Information Science education programs in the six member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Whilst the evaluation effort undertaken in these programs through self study and external assessment and the outcomes of these exercises are described, accreditation possibilities are explored and potential problems addressed.
The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) was commissioned to provide guidance for public libraries on the management of “extremist and inflammatory material”. It has launched a consultation on this guidance on managing “controversial stock”. Included in the draft guidance are “free expression and open libraries remain essential to British democracy” and “libraries operate within the law to provide free access to a diversity of information, opinion and ideas in a neutral and hospitable environment”. There is a problem with stock selection being subject o a range of laws, some of which are contradictory. One consequence of this is that librarians could become risk-averse and decide not to stock certain books (Pateman, 2008). This highlights the changing global society and its needs, which, in the context of LIS teaching and learning, is highlighted also in Abdullahi’s article. This deals with the general concept of the cultural dimension of human development through identification of students who are culturally different from the main stream orientation, by creating culturally mediated instruction in a learning environment, elaborating the roles of LIS schools in this direction. The article presents ways by which LIS educators can create a better learning environment base inclusive of all cultures represented in the classroom.
Library + Information Update (2008), “Broader, more strategic vision needed”, Library + Information Update, Vol. 7 No. 4, April, p. 14
Pateman, J. (2008), “Hey, Minister – leave those books alone”, Library + Information Update, Vol. 7 No. 3, March, pp. 20–1