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open access A newsletter for West Midlands Library and Information Professionals

A supplement to CILIP Update

ISSN 0048 - 1904

Vol.51 No.1

January 2008

Membership Support Unit - CILIP Ridgmount Street The Membership Support Unit (MSU) was set up following the Review of Membership Engagement conducted at the start of 2007. We are: Kathy Ennis, Senior Adviser (part time); Lyndsay Rees-Jones, Senior Adviser; Angela Frampton, Membership Support Executive, and between us we have a number of years experience with CILIP.

Lyndsay Rees-Jones

Kathy Ennis

Angela Frampton

better. We have already conducted an in-house survey and (with colleagues) developed criteria and protocols for future links. Existing relationships will be reviewed against the agreed criteria and changes made as appropriate.

In its short life the MSU has developed a set of 11 key objectives and performance indicators – which I have listed and described briefly below. In January 2008, following the first 6 months of activity, we intend to revisit and review the number and range of these objectives and the resources available to meet them. So things may change slightly, although the trend and focus will be the same.

Branches and Groups – CILIP’s Branches and Groups (B&G) are key to effectively engaging with the membership. It is therefore vital that we develop an effective working relationship between Ridgmount Street and the B&G Committees, which are our link. We have introduced a monthly B&G eNews, which is circulated to B&Gs and published on the website (see under both the Branches and Groups Sections). We have also developed a new online contact form for B&G Officers. We will be hosting two ‘One Day Events’ (11th &18th December) that have been developed to support B&G Hon Officers in their roles, and which we anticipate becoming annual events.

The focus for the Unit is on membership engagement and on ensuring that members, whether in Groups or Branches or as individuals, are able to work more closely with Ridgmount Street. To begin with we have concentrated on developing a relationship between Ridgmount Street and the Branches and Groups, which replaces the role of Liaison Officer (LO) that was discontinued in June. The LO role worked well for many years, but was very resource-heavy (in time and expense) and it was not possible to be consistent.

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WHAT WE DO…. Relationship Management – CILIP has a ‘relationship’ with very many external organisations and we needed to understand this


‘One-CILIP’ survey will be developed and conducted during 2008, with a view to it becoming annual.

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Communities and Alternative Member Engagement – CILIP Communities is over a year old and developing into a vital communication platform. MSU has a responsibility to extend the use of Communities for member advocacy and participation. Because this is not a ‘one team’ job, MSU is one of the partners in a Communities Team that also involves the Web Team (WT), Information & Advice Team (I&A), and the Corporate Membership and Marketing Team (CMM). We also talk to colleagues in other departments. We have set up a new (and private) Forum for B&G Hon Officers to share ideas, thoughts and experiences. We have also recently launched a new blog called CILIP Members Blog Landscape, which aggregates content from a range of CILIP members individual blogs (with their permission of course).

Campaign Area for the CILIP Website – we want to develop a set of advocacy materials for members. For instance template letters to MPs, ‘plans for action’ when faced with service cuts etc. There is a wealth of information already held by members and we want to find a way of utilising that as part of the process. Joint Membership, Marketing and Advocacy Approach – we regularly meet with colleagues in CMM and I&A in order to increase collaboration and coordination of activity. LIBEX – we plan to develop a new web presence for the job exchange programme and to re-promote and publicise this opportunity for CILIP members during 2008.

Careers & CPD – our objective is to provide careers and CPD support for members which complements the more focussed advice and guidance available from QPD. The current review of QPD may impact on future activity.

IFLA – MSU provides ongoing support for CILIP’s involvement with IFLA, from dealing with grant applications, to the bi-annual elections (seeking UK representatives to IFLA) etc. CILIP Presidential Support – the MSU team will provide limited support to the President, and President Elect.

Network of Expertise and Interest – we have commissioned Gwenda Sippings to undertake an initial scoping exercise towards developing a Network of Expertise and Interest. We want to provide a mechanism for members to find and talk to each other based on their interests and experience and are currently looking for people to participate in the pilot stage.

That was something of a lightening introduction, but I hope that I have managed to give you a flavour of what we are about. You can contact us on either or (for B&G specific issues)

Life@Work Survey – this survey was last conducted during 2006. We are planning that a much larger

Lyndsay Rees-Jones MSU Senior Adviser


Warwickshire Libraries Let's Foster a Love of Reading

CILIP Members’ Day & AGM 2008

Date: Tuesday, 22nd January, 2008 Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm Venue: Complete Learning Ltd, Unit 1, Leamington Spa. CV31 3RZ Cost: £25 per person including lunch

Date: Wednesday, 5th March, 2008 Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm Venue: Mary Seacole Library, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston.

A course led by Anne Harding, who has good experience of all the issues involved, for library staff and others who work with looked after children and their carers.

Speakers will include Bruce Madge (CILIP President-elect) and Jane Richards of the Mary Seacole Library. A tour of this new state-of-the-art Library will also be available.

Booking form and further information from:

Stella Thebridge Tel: 01926 476624 Fax: 01926 412471 Email:

Look out for further information on the website and in the Gazette.


Engaging the Community 2007 BCLiP Annual Conference The newly refurbished Park View Centre in Brownhills, Walsall was the venue for this year’s annual BCLiP (Black Country Libraries in Partnership) Conference. The partnership aims to promote library services across the region and improve access by working together to develop services that reflect the changing needs of people living and working in the Black Country. On 14th November, Library Management Teams representing the four neighbouring Black Country authorities of Wolverhampton, Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell came together for a day themed around Community Engagement.

influence the decisions that affect their lives at a local level. Identifying seven elements of community engagement and five levels of participation, John indicated what this all means for people who work in libraries: A changing skills set A different role – in the community as much as the library Working with people more than resources Building communities more than collections Targeting sections of the community Children and families; young people, older people Re-order ‘professional’ and non-professional

Keynote speaker for the day was John Dolan OBE, Head of Library Policy at the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. John was on ‘home ground’ in the West Midlands, having worked in Birmingham where he rose to Head of Birmingham Libraries and John Dolan OBE where he had been responsible for Early Years and Childcare, Family Learning, the Youth Service and Adult Education. In 1997 he was project leader for the development of the national strategy that became The People’s Network, leading to the national programme for internet provision in every UK library. John was awarded the OBE in 1999 for services to libraries.

Following the keynote speech, the delegates divided into four workshops looking at ‘ways to engage’. Topics covered the use of John Dolan with Conference volunteers, organisers engaging with young people, creative consultation and community involvement. Apart from general discussion and debate within the workshops, the groups were given the task of coming up with one question each for John to answer in the following session. Not surprisingly, his answers to the questions posed from delegates were succinct and incisive. He helped allay fears that library personnel have for their jobs, stressing “volunteers are in the community not in the workforce.” He also told librarians that “most young people need people like you,” community engagement is about “working with other parties” and that librarians should be more demanding in terms of the tools they need to deliver an effective service.

John’s presentation ‘Community Engagement – how well are libraries placed?’ was thoughtprovoking and inspiring. He illustrated the need for library Heads of Service: Karen Lees (Wolverhampton) and Sue Grainger services at all stages of life in (Walsall) with John Dolan the delivery of Lifelong Learning and that effective delivery would depend primarily on the engagement of citizens – the main advocate, and workforce – the main resource. Community engagement is defined as more people being involved and able to

The afternoon gave opportunity for reflection on some of the successes across the region by looking at some examples of best practice. Each authority had representatives receiving ‘Mystery Shopping Awards’ for excellent service to the public. The awards were followed by presentations from each


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authority of examples of successful community engagement. The congratulatory mood was highlighted by the fact that three of the authorities had recently been successful in gaining lottery money for library projects.

Helen Danks (Walsall), Karon Reynolds (Wolverhampton) and Sandra Francis (Dudley) with their Mystery Shopper Awards

Paddy Quick Community Services Manager Wolverhampton Libraries

Singularly Personal: Janet Brisland although in the past I had always had a complete mental blockage when it came to history, I thrived there, developing knowledge and confidence and a peculiar passion for indexing the Hereford Times! I represented Hereford & Worcester on the West Midlands Branch of the Association of Assistant Librarians (now the Career Development Group) as I began my more ‘formal’ path of professional development.

I can’t quite believe that I’ve been working in Libraries for 24 years – in many ways I feel like a new graduate, still learning and developing. I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing many different library environments during that time and now feel that I have at last found my true ‘home’ in Centre for the Child. I am one of these people who always wanted to be a librarian from when I was in High School. I had an inspirational school librarian who encouraged and supported me and, as soon as I had the opportunity, I became a ‘voluntary’ Saturday Assistant in Mansfield Library in Nottinghamshire. This led to a proper Saturday job and work on the ‘supply pool’ during university holidays whilst I studied at Loughborough College and University until 1984.

We moved to Birmingham in 1989 and I had my first taste of academic librarianship as an Assistant Librarian in the Poly Library where I first encountered CD ROMs and ‘online searching’ – technology which bowled me over as it was still so new and ground breaking! However, having moved from the all-inclusive, wide-ranging public library service to a service focussing on a defined group of customers, I also realised that this wasn’t for me! Spotting an opportunity to return to Hereford & Worcester, I applied for the position of Librarian in a ‘dual-use library’ in Frankley, on the Worcestershire/Birmingham border.

I really struggled to get that elusive first professional post, attending interview after interview, so I know how frustrating it can be for colleagues new to our profession. Because I was willing to work anywhere to secure a position, I was finally lucky enough to be employed by Hereford & Worcester Library Service as an Assistant Librarian covering a maternity leave in Stourporton-Severn. I moved on from Stourport to Hereford Schools Library Service for a short placement and finally succeeded into my first permanent post as Assistant Librarian in the Reference & Local Studies Department in the main library in Hereford. It was fascinating work and,

I always look back at the 12 years I was at Frankley as the time I fully embraced community librarianship. Working in a library which served the local community and a high school population enabled the team to develop services in new and exciting ways, which included the joint publication of a young writers magazine and raising funding, programming and delivering an annual community arts week. So much of the library’s success at Frankley was, and continues to be, through effective partnership working, where a number of council services are located together under one roof. My professional development continued as I joined the committee of the very newly formed Hereford & Worcester Sub-branch of the Library Continued on page 5


Odds and s.o.d.s

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Association, which represented the views of our county on the West Midlands regional committee. Also during this time Frankley Library said “goodbye” to Worcestershire and “hello” to Birmingham as we became part of Brum through changes to the local authority boundaries.

(something of direct significance)!

Through the very close working with children and young people in Frankley, I became more and more convinced that this was an area of work in which I wanted to specialise. Following several temporary secondments in other community libraries and within the strategic children’s team, I finally joined the team in Centre for the Child in Birmingham Central Library. I’ve been there for nearly 6 years now and can honestly say that I love my job! CFC is probably one of the largest specialist children’s libraries in the UK, serving local residents, the City’s wider population and customers from around the West Midlands region and UK who travel to the library to use our extensive resources. I have continued to be active within CILIP, currently as Secretary of West Midlands YLG and have recently attended some CILIP Mentoring Training with a view to registering as a mentor. As we’re placed in the City Centre, we have exciting opportunities to take part in innovative events and activities all the time - the Frankfurt Christmas Market, storytelling at the Sealife Centre, Morris Dancing, and the Lord Mayor’s Show, to name but a few!

I have received the following information from Malta:

The Malta Connection

The Malta Library and Information Association (MaLIA) launched its first Register of Library and Information Professionals in the summer and this was well received. Much needed restoration work has been started on the fabric of the National Library in Valletta. There is a general impression of slow, but steady progress on the Malta library scene and the Branch’s links remain strong. The Malta Schools Library Association (MSLA) continues to grow and is active in putting on short courses and conferences for school librarians and teachers. Visiting Schools Librarian Sheila Silvester of North Yorkshire County Library, gave a well attended talk on the British School Library scene. These short, illustrative talks by visiting librarians are greatly welcomed by both MaLIA and MSLA, so if any of you are on holiday in Malta and are bored – there are dozens of eager librarians hungry to hear your words of experience and knowledge!

CFC wouldn’t be what it is today without the amazing staff team and supportive senior managers – everyone is totally committed to providing the highest possible standard of service to our customers and I am proud to be part of that team! We work hard and play hard too, and have had particular fun this year in hosting another Harry Potter sleepover with national radio coverage. We also recently hosted the UK’s first ever WizardRock gig – check out WizardRock on My Space for more details! The mantra of one of my colleagues is that ‘Every day’s a school day’ and that’s certainly true when working in CFC. I still feel that after all these years I am constantly developing – I guess that’s what Lifelong Learning is all about. Long may it continue!

Laurence Zerafa, Librarian of the Malta College of Arts, Sciences and Technology, informs me that big plans are afoot to expand the main college campus at Paolo and centralise all learning and teaching onto the one site. This will mean a new college library, three or four times bigger than the present recently completed library, as the college drives inexorably on to become the Malta University of Technology – with all that University status implies.

Mike Freeman Hon. International Relations Officer Email:

Janet Brisland Manager, Centre for the Child, Birmingham Central Library Email:

Mike went to China and Japan in November – so watch this space (ed.)

Janet didn’t mention her obsession with……. just ask if you see her! (ed.)


Doesn’t Time Fly! Committee, particularly Kate Millin, for their support.

I suddenly realised a few months ago, to my amazement, that I have been editing this newsletter for the last 10 years. Once this had sunk in, I decided that I should perhaps vacate the post – if there was someone willing to take on the challenge. You poor souls could probably do with a change!

Your new editor is David Viner and I know he will do a wonderful job. I wish him well - and if he suffers from POAS I hope you will be kind to him. Good luck David - I am looking forward to the new style Open Access.

I have really enjoyed editing Open Access…… most of the time! It has, for example, allowed me to walk around conferences, meetings, courses etc. with a camera, introduce myself and take photographs of people I would never have otherwise met or spoken to. It has been a wonderful excuse to socialise and network. There have also been times, however, when I have had absolutely nothing to put into the newsletter - and with only 2 weeks left before it had to be sent to the graphic designer. This has been known as POAS (Pre Open Access Syndrome) in our household - when I went into a mild panic and often thought that I would be the first OA editor who didn’t edit! Many of you will recognise these symptoms, as this was the time you received the begging phone call or email. Can I thank all of you who answered my pleas and came up with some excellent copy – and with very little time.

Sylvia Jenkins Children’s & Education Services Manager Wolverhampton Libraries

Open Access Publication of the West Midlands Branch of CILIP. Views expressed are not necessarily those of CILIP-WM or of the Editor. Editor: Sylvia Jenkins, Education Library Service, Jennie Lee Centre, Lichfield Road, Wednesfield, Wolverhampton. WV11 3HT

I would like to thank Melissa Cassily, the graphic designer, who has worked with me since the beginning. I have only met her once as she is based in Coventry, but I’m sure she would agree that we seem to know each other really well and I shall miss our long chats, usually on a Sunday evening. The way we communicate has totally changed over the last ten years – much faster, no hand-written items, photos by email not post, no need for faxes. Melissa will continue to design this newsletter and work with the new editor, but her circumstances are also changing. She will be freelance from this year – so if you need some design work, I can recommend a good designer! I would also like to thank my husband, without whose help I couldn’t have taken on this project. He has been my IT expert and saved me from all sorts of disasters - he has had the patience of Job. Thanks also to the Branch

Tel: 01902 555906 Fax: 01902 555265 Email: (home) (work) Editor (from next edition): David Viner, Solihull Central Library, Solihull. B91 3RG Tel: 0121 704 8534 Fax: 0121 704 6907 Email:

Copy date for next issue: 20th February, 2008


Open Access - January 2008 - Vol. 51 No. 1  

Newsletter of the West Midland branch of CILIP, delivered as a printed supplement to Library + Information Gazette. ISSN 0048-1904

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