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Website Library Photo Competition Calling all budding photographers CILIP West Midlands is embarking on an exciting digital photography project using the photo management and sharing application Flickr. We are collecting images of libraries in the West Midlands, from Birmingham to Bloxwich and from Warwick to Worcester. Whatever kind of library you work in – we want to see it, inside or out! Whether it is public or academic, legal or medical, old or new. If you are proud of where you work, why not tell the rest of the region? Simply photograph your library and add your photo* to the group pool on the ‘CILIP West Midlands Library Photo Competition’ group page on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/ groups/cilipwmlibphotocomp). It’s that easy! Anyone can join our group, you don’t need to be a member of CILIP, but you will need to have a Flickr account.

New Webmaster After three and a half years as Webmaster, it’s now time for me to hand over to a new face. I’m pleased to report that as of 1 February Katherine Widdows will be taking over our committee webpages and associated social networking activities. Katherine can be contacted at: k.widdows@warwick.ac.uk

Facebook Love it or loathe it? CILIP West Midlands is now on Facebook! If you already have a Facebook account you can join our group by searching for “CILIP West Midlands”. If you’re new to the world of social networking, it’s quick and easy to join Facebook, visit www.facebook.com to register.

A newsletter from the West Midlands branch of CILIP

Not only will you be helping to create a digital collage to showcase the diversity of our region’s libraries, but the library or individual that submits the best image to our group pool will have it reproduced in Library + Information Gazette. The winning shot should be artistic, creative and imaginative, showing off your library in a new light. So get snapping and put your library on the map! For more information visit our website at: www.cilip.org.uk/wm or email cilipwm@me.com Closing Date: Friday 5 June 2009. The winner will be announced in July’s issue of Open Access and published in Gazette in August. * By adding your photo on Flickr you are accepting that consent has been given by any person(s) pictured.

Events What’s happening in health information? (a study day for non-specialists) Date: Thursday 12th February 2009� Time: 9:30am - 3:30pm � Venue: Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX � Cost: Career Development Group Members £41.13 (Inc.VAT) CILIP Members £47 (Inc.VAT) Non-members £52.88 (Inc.VAT) There are a number of free places for students or the unwaged. A one day workshop run by West Midlands Career Development Group, CILIP

Joining our group will help keep you in touch with news and events from your local branch, and it’s a great way to network with fellow professionals from the region.

Health Information is a fast changing environment where it is often difficult for the non-specialist to keep informed. This event is being run so that Library and Information professionals who work outside of the health environment can see how this specialist area is changing and developing.

David Viner is Vice-Chair of CILIP WM & Editor of Open Access.

Contact: Catherine McLaren catherine.mclaren@geh.nhs.uk

Open Access Publication of the West Midlands Branch of CILIP. Views expressed are not necessarily those of CILIP-WM or of the Editor.

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Editor: David Viner Solihull Central Library Solihull B91 3RG Tel: 0121 704 8534 Fax: 0121 704 6907 Email: dviner@solihull.gov.uk Copy date for next issue: Friday 14 March 2009

A supplement to CILIP Update January 2009 Vol. 52 No.1

ISSN 0048-1904

INSPIRE West Midlands INSPIRE England and our local and regional manifestation Inspire West Midlands, emerged from the DCMS strategy, Framework for the Future published in February 2003. The ‘Framework’ provided the government’s vision for public libraries in England to 2013. If a week is a long time in politics, then 10 years is the working definition of eternity. And so, just five years in, the DCMS has now announced another review, the ‘Modernisation Review of Public Libraries’. It seems appropriate then at this juncture to review INSPIRE and INSPIRE activities in the West Midlands and to consider ‘what next’ for INSPIRE in the region? In 2003 the MLA was tasked with the development and implementation of a national action plan to stimulate and support public libraries in England in delivering the Framework vision. The INSPIRE initiative was led by SCONUL (the Society of College, National and University Libraries), and the Society of Chief Librarians (public librarians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) in partnership with The British Library, CILIP and the MLA Council, both nationally and regionally. A National Steering Group led activities and disseminated information. As a first approach to INSPIRE the MLA West Midlands surveyed access agreements in the region and discovered limited access to other institutions and members of the public in relation to Higher Education institutions. From this, three project groups were formed to carry out demonstration projects in Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton, with the intention to promote access to libraries across the HE and

point in its Birmingham Bennetts Hill offices. The sub regional approach demonstrated pockets of excellent practice, particularly evidenced in Coventry and Warwickshire. public sectors to those not in formal education, or perhaps ‘disenfranchised’ from the educational process. Procedures and training materials were developed and workshops and briefing sessions were held for library staff. The pilot groups developed cooperative access agreements, which the report found resulted in an increased use of library resources by the target ‘learners’. INSPIRE’s intended purpose was therefore to create a seamless pathway to support learning and access to information for all. Initially focusing on academic, national and public libraries it quickly grew to include NHS and FE Colleges, specialist libraries including gems such as Hereford Cathedral and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The NHS and FE colleges soon demonstrated incredible commitment, innovation and perseverance; contributing exemplars of cross sectoral activity. Given the geographically and socio economically diverse urban and rural nature of the West Midlands region, a distributed model of sub regional groupings was adopted. A Monitoring and Operational Group (MOG) at regional level identified and promoted good practice, disseminated information, awarded funding for projects, promotional and marketing material, with the MLA providing administrative support and a focal

Eschewing overly bureaucratic administrative functions and relying on existing pathways and frameworks at the sub regional level, Inspire became very much a grassroots initiative. Individual libraries and librarians demonstrated commitment, developed activity and showed leadership. Activity led to workshops, training initiatives, open days, a showcase for what libraries can be for people. Inspire encouraged and enabled libraries to look beyond their boundaries and Continued on page 2

In this issue... We Did It Our Way...............2 Innovation in independent learning.....................................4 MaLIA’s vision for libraries in Malta.....................................5 Committee Matters..............6 SPICE 2008 Training Day......7 International Relations.........7 Website....................................8 Events.......................................8

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sectors – it led to cross fertilisation, generated ideas, fostered dialogue and joint activities, whilst encouraging and facilitating managed access for learners and aspiring learners to the wealth of resources found in the region’s libraries. Did it meet the original aims? Probably not – the sheer scale of the region, a number of other competing commitments and a sense of ‘initiativeness’, local and sectoral issues affecting all libraries at a time of great change, perhaps meant that a joined up regional response didn’t materialise.

Its legacy however will be one of aspiration for those involved, to be more than the boundaries of our walls for those that use us and are yet to use us. What has become clear is that access to our electronic resources for all citizens, students, learners, patients and workers of the West Midlands, is the real challenge we must now face. At our last MOG meeting we asked, ‘whither Inspire West Midlands’? Do we continue to promote, disseminate, monitor and encourage access to our collections under the INSPIRE banner?

Do we re-focus activity as a new cross sector regional group? Do we meet perhaps twice a year to ensure we are doing all we can to encourage joined up thinking? And we now invite your response, I’d be very grateful for any comments! David Parkes is Associate Director of Information Services at Staffordshire University. d.j.parkes@staffs.ac.uk

We Did It Our Way (Almost) 80 years of libraries working together in the West Midlands region Part 2 – “The nineties”...in transition In Part 1 we saw that the “Conference of the Librarians of the West Midlands Area” in 1931 was the starting point for library collaboration in the region. Bureau operations were based at Adderley Park Library well into the post-war period, but then moved to the “old” Birmingham Central Library. (This was much earlier than the 1970s as suggested in Part 1). By the 1990s a great deal more was changing than location of offices. As Christopher Evans had predicted in The Might Micro, it was now possible, for the first time in history, to hold and share massive quantities of data at very low cost courtesy of the silicon chip. Libraries would never be quite the same again. WMRLS needed to re-invent itself ready for the 21st century.

of the UK. West Midlands was the only region to negotiate with LASER to implement the VISCOUNT solution for all its public libraries. It has taken far too long (almost 15 years) for the fracture into Unity and V3 “camps” to be finally healed. Only in 2008 has OCLC been able to complete the integration of both products into Unity UK. Despite these difficulties, WMRLS was able to pilot a new approach to a UK-wide vocal sets catalogue in our region and Malcolm Jones worked with both IAML(UK) and CONARLS (representing all the library regions) to develop Encore. This was funded from the Department of National Heritage (DNH)’s Public Library Development Incentive Scheme (PLDIS). As I write it remains to be seen if this too can now be fully integrated into Unity UK.

When I joined the organisation in early 1992 it was “to direct the implementation of an agreed strategy for the development of effective collaboration”. I was very fortunate to work with a succession of Chairs who were outstanding leaders – Pat Coleman, Michael Messenger, Mary Heaney and Richard Honeysett. As senior figures in the public or university library sectors, they encouraged their colleagues to contribute regionally, whilst helping me as Director to stay focused on what was driving the major library organisations. This partnership between Honorary Officers and the Executive function was the key to successively meeting a number of challenges. To begin with, we had to do something about inter-lending. The technological solutions, and new ways of managing inter-library loans, that Frances Hendrix and Peter Smith had pioneered in London and the South East were a step too far, or perhaps too fast, for colleagues in some other parts

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SPICE 2008 Training Day The principal role of the SPICE group (Specialist Provision in Community Languages & English) is to provide advice and guidance to the Society of Chief Librarians West Midlands, on service delivery to Black and Minority Ethnic communities, and to act as a forum for ideas, views, and comments with regard to library service plans.

Warwickshire Libraries continue to radically change the face of their libraries. Ayub shared the vision Faydene addresses delegates at Brownhills Library. by discussing diversity, skills, social inclusion and the law. He also shared the new perspective in The annual SPICE training day took place on Wednesday 5 Warwickshire, but was quick to remind us all of the barriers November at the Brownhills Library in Walsall. Specialist that have kept people away and showed us how libraries have presenters included Community Librarian Deep Hunjan got to continue to break those barriers down. Using the and Cara Evans of Birmingham Libraries, Project Manager success of their outreach to the county’s migrant community, Sandeep Mahal of the Reading Agency, Local Studies Librarian Ayub defined some of the important research that took place Tracey Williams from Solihull Libraries and Head of Strategy before and during the outreach and the outcomes that were Ayub Khan from Warwickshire Libraries. The training day accomplished. was aimed at people with responsibility for developing services to BME and new communities and the purpose of The other Project shared with the group was CILIP’s the day was to identify and share best practice for wider ENCOMPASS programme – a positive action programme implementation. aimed at getting ethnic minorities to pursue a career in the library services. It was likened to the ALAs SPECTRUM Twenty-three delegates attended from 13 authorities, programme in the U.S.A. The programme gets underway alongside their SPICE representatives. The day included in December 2008. For more information on the feedback breakout sessions, where all groups were able to discuss in from the training day visit the SPICE blog at: http:// detail, barriers and ways forward for library services gearing spicelibraries.wordpress.com/ up to improve the provision to BME and new communities in the most cost-effective way. Faydene Gillings-Grant is Community Librarian & Library Manager with Birmingham Libraries and also Chair of SPICE. Deep and Cara’s work looked at the partnership with ESOL tutors at the Spring Hill Library in Birmingham. Participants faydene_gillings-grant@birmingham.gov.uk were able to view the important ESOL resources available including appropriate leaflets, dictionaries, popular series and information about unique suppliers. The very practical activities were shared to show how to engage different levels of new learners in taking up reading for fun.

International Relations

The TRA’s Reading Partners’ Consortium was explained by Sandeep and the success it had achieved in getting readers and writers together using clever marketing and publicity means. She reported how tremendous the feedback had been from the public, in such a way as to impress publishers enough to keep them on board working in the Consortium. She stressed that there was still a big opportunity to market library services to the general BME communities based on what the Reading Readers project had uncovered. She further emphasised that there were still lots of offers available to reading groups from Publishers for BME Readers, and indicated that the TRA online calendar was a good place to start the journey. Speakers at the 3rd Regional Telematics Conference, September 1999. Chris Batt (future CEO MLA), David Potts, Nigel Summers (CEO Sandwell MBC), Susi Woodhouse, Collin Tennant (Birmingham University), Richard Honeysett (Solihull MBC) and Ian Everall (Walsall MBC).

resources from the Mormon Family History Centres and the contribution of key players such as genealogists and authors – in engaging members of the African Caribbean Community in a largely traditional English pastime.

Family History for the African Caribbean community was piloted as a full length 10 week course in Solihull. It captured the imagination of the many that flocked to the library to take part. This was in collaboration with Solihull College. Tracey shared the challenging experience of preparing and delivering a course such as this – which was a first – and it did make interesting listening. A lot was said of the fantastic

“The horror, the horror...” Libraries pop up in the strangest and most unexpected places. On a recent trip to Lithuania your Hon. International Relations Officer was visiting the grim former Gestapo HQ and ex-KGB prison in central Vilnius (as you do). Here, amidst the horror, degradation and misery of the totalitarian state’s apparatus of control and repression was a bare cell converted into a Prisoners’ Library. Doubtless, the Library’s stock was rigorously censored and controlled but nevertheless it was a start...a ‘Shawshank Redemption’ moment, perhaps? Mike Freeman is Hon. International Relations Officer.

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Apart from the benefits to library services, the automation of bureau activity released resources at WMRLS for new developments. Of these the SEALS (Access to European Fiction) project - also PLDIS funded – proved especially valuable to public library services and extremely enjoyable for all of us who got involved in it. Deborah Goodall, our Project Officer, developed a circulating collections model and forged some valuable links to libraries in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to ensure that our selection of foreign language fiction was both authentic and diverse. I went on a study tour of German Libraries and delivered papers at conferences in Paris, Berlin, Cologne and at the London International Book Fair. Other projects included Signposts (funded by LINC) which aimed to deal more effectively with books in languages other than English, and there was SPICE, a network for those managing services to linguistic communities in the region. John Dolan provided strategic leadership for both of these initiatives. Developing Together in Literature Promotion (funded by the Arts Council) addressed the need to train front line pubic library staff at a time when reading groups and other new approaches to marketing a reading offer were emerging. Poetry on Loan was part of the Poetry Society’s Poetry Places initiative and is still going strong today. LitNet is also still in existence and has enjoyed Arts Council finance over a long period. This “virtual literature centre for the West Midlands and beyond” has benefited from David Fine’s seemingly unlimited determination. All these initiatives delivered double benefit – they were added value for library services and at the same time provided further help for WMRLS to make itself into a partnership brokering organisation. However it was the appointment of David Potts as Regional Telematics Officer (funded via WMRLS by the public library authorities) that took things much further. David’s work provided an excellent foundation for the roll-out of The People’s Network in the region as we shall see. There was a series of high profile conferences, at two of which Government Minister Mark Fisher was involved.

Running alongside this work was Futures Together. The first conference with this title was in January 1996 planned and organised by John Dolan (on behalf of Birmingham PALS) and myself (for WMRLS). A distinguished group of national and regional speakers came together to help us unearth the key issues across the collaborative landscape. The main outcome from this day was a decision to map library special collections in the West Midlands, work subsequently funded by the British Library, and then the Library and Information Commission, with public and university libraries contributing match funding. The report was launched at a second conference in early 2000 at which (Worcestershire) Councillor Colin Beardwood, Chair of the Regional Assembly, gave the key note address. This was a fitting climax to a decade of substantial progress in working together and an appropriate prelude to the launch of The Libraries Partnership - West Midlands which marked the end of this particular period of transition. In Part 3 (“The noughties”...other journeys) we will cover more changes in the landscape of cooperation as libraries entered new partnerships with museums and archives - right through to the current winding up of MLA’s separate regional agencies: a cross-domain regional content strategy and Revolutionary Players business information (INTER-ALL) reaching disadvantaged young people though Caring with Books access to resources through Multi-Net, Crossroads, Inspire and Find It the role of the Libraries Forum and its annual events the Advantage West Midlands Libraries Challenge working with BBC learning campaigns library spaces and the Big Lottery’s Community Libraries programme Geoff Warren is Deputy CEO and Libraries Domain Lead for MLA West Midlands. geoff.warren@mlawestmidlands.org.uk

Mark Fisher (MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) at the 2nd Regional Telematics Conference, June 1998.

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Innovation in independent learning The University of Warwick’s Learning Grid The Learning Grid opened in September 2004, aiming to provide an innovative facility that actively supports the development of study as well as transferable and professional skills. It has provided the Library with the opportunity to experiment with a different kind of learning provision to meet the changing needs of learners in higher education, including: differing learning preferences/styles; a diverse learning community (international students, students with specific needs as well as the cross section of disciplines and levels of study offered by the University); the ability to blend a range of learning activities, traditional with the technological; and the opportunity for students to work collaboratively, experiment and be creative with their learning experiences.

Students at the University of Warwick. The Library worked in partnership with MJP Architects to design a concept and physical space that would complement the Main Library building. The ability to introduce appropriate design features, the use of curves, colours and textures and flexible furniture arrangements has been a critical element to how The Learning Grid has been received and developed over time. The range of collaborative and individual work areas as well as mobile screens, whiteboards and OHPs, allow the environment to be incredibly flexible, enabling students to manipulate their environment to suit their learning activities. It supports individual study, group problem-solving activities and team working, including an emphasis on facilitating the development and delivery of student presentations and supporting students in the use of digital multimedia for their assignments. The Learning Grid provides students with 24/7 access to a range of learning technologies (plasma stations, smartboards, cleverboards, document visualisers, video editing suites, PCs, wireless networks) and practice presentation facilities, in

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addition to a 10,000 core text reference only collection. The availability and flexibility of these resources and the space enables students to experiment with their modes of learning and adopt new techniques. Equally important is the flexible service delivery model employed within the space. The Learning Grid is staffed by a team of student advisors trained to facilitate the learning of their peers at an individual or small group level. They are the first point of contact for Grid users and are equipped with best practice principles in the delivery of advice and guidance, adult learning theory and tutoring skills. The peer-to-peer approach provides part of the character of the facility, which has encouraged student ‘ownership’ of the space. Because The Learning Grid has no fixed traditional help desk, advisors wear blue T-shirts and it is their responsibility to be visible on both floors of the Grid, to be stopped at any time to respond to a range of queries. At a basic level these relate to facilitating the use of Grid resources and IT software packages, helping people to navigate the Library’s resources and referring users to the right level of support provision within the University. This may be to The Learning Grid’s drop-in provision, where experts are available in the space to offer specialist, bite-size, context-driven advice and guidance, or more broadly to a course that might be run by a particular support service in the coming weeks. Alternatively, referrals to other service providers (E-Lab, Subject Librarians, Counselling colleagues) might be more appropriate. The lack of an authoritarian staff presence means that staff support can blend in and out of the space successfully throughout the 24/7 period, and that the space continues to hold its integrity whilst ‘unstaffed’.

“the lack of silent study spaces is one of the things I enjoy about The Learning Grid. I personally don’t like that sort of rarefied atmosphere”; provides opportunities to obtain bespoke, personalised and specialist advice and guidance thus reducing traditional barriers to seeking support; and raises awareness of electronic resources, the Academic Support Subject Librarians, and other support specialists within the institution. Academics who are engaging closely with The Learning Grid have reported that the facility is beginning to have an impact on the curriculum. Comments stress that it increases opportunities for innovative teaching practice, allows for the embedding of information literacy instruction into courses, and creates a new and evolving relationship between Library personnel and academics: “Mature part-time students are a significant and growing proportion of learners and information users at the University of Warwick. Over the past two years I have introduced various cohorts of mature learners on academic and profession-related programmes of study to The Learning Grid and have noted the impact this facility has had on their learning experience. Traditionally shy of entering an ‘overwhelming’ library, mature students tell me they arrange to meet each other there for study support and that the service offered has increased their confidence in accessing [the] University’s learning materials. This in turn has had a significant and positive impact on their sense of identity as a university student.” (Senior Tutor in Lifelong Learning)

From evaluations with students we have identified that The Learning Grid has impacted on their experience at Warwick in the following ways: It allows students to feel valued within the University; provides a high quality environment that motivates students to study; “because there’s a place on campus, apart from my room, where I can go and study – it’s a bit more motivation for me to go [and] study”; provides students with a space where they can work collaboratively and engage in discussion, debate and apply a range of resources to support their learning experiences; “given that there is so much emphasis on group work in the courses that I’m doing, it’s been a necessity to have an area where we can conveniently meet and work together”; creates a culture of reciprocal user respect for differing learning styles and an emphasis on the requirement to share resources has created a profound sense of student ownership for the space. Instilling this sense of ownership,

MaLIA’s vision for libraries in Malta

not only encourages students to look after the space and respect, as well as develop, their attitude to learning, but the concept of ownership is extended to the development of themselves as independent adult learners;

In 2007 the Library underwent a major refurbishment to reflect changing user needs including significant changes in the way front line services were delivered. The Library wanted to build on the successes of The Learning Grid by offering similar spaces within the Main Library building as well as offering new facilities tailored specifically to the needs of teaching staff and postgraduate research students, whilst also retaining traditional library spaces to meet the different needs of different groups of library users at different times. Dean McIlwraith is Operations Co-ordinator (The Learning Grid & BioMed Grid) at the University of Warwick. d.mcIlwraith@warwick.ac.uk

The Malta Library and Information Association (MaLIA) was founded in 1969 and is one of the founding members of the Commonwealth Library Association (COMLA). MaLIA is also a member of the IFLA and EBLIDA. MaLIA has, in recent years, sustained its cooperation with CILIP in London as well as with the West Midlands branch, mainly thanks to the work and frequent visits to our island of Dr Mike Freeman, an old friend of MaLIA. Since its early days, MaLIA has always been active in the promoting of the library and information profession and in the training of library and information professionals. Our forty years of history have always been marked with the willingness to contribute towards the advancement of the profession and the libraries in Malta and Gozo. I have used the word willingness intentionally, as despite the good intentions, the achievements of MaLIA have often been an uphill struggle, compounded by the wheels of bureaucracy in the public sector and lack of vision for our libraries by the competent authorities. Despite this, MaLIA is still alive and kicking, mainly thanks to the people who have, for the past forty years, served on Council and contributed towards the objectives of the association with great dedication. But the title of this article is MaLIA’s vision for libraries and therefore we must look ahead and be proactive. I am choosing my words very carefully here. I have already made reference in the introductory paragraph to the lack of vision for our libraries. This is something that MaLIA has been harping on about for ages with the local authorities. MaLIA is very concerned that most local libraries have failed to grasp the opportunities offered by the advancement in technologies in the last 10 years. Instead of taking the opportunities on board and ensuring their continued relevance in what we now refer to as the knowledge-based society, many of our libraries have remained embedded in the archaic notion of a library being a repository of books for circulation. Whilst libraries in developed countries have added services such as internet points, lifelong learning for all the family, online services and web 2.0 technologies, we are still discussing why our public libraries are not in a position to offer interlibrary loans? These problems were highlighted in the Report on the State of Maltese Libraries that was published by MaLIA in 2006. This report provided a clear picture of the situation in our libraries and should be one of the main references in taking the necessary decisions to start moving our libraries in the right direction. MaLIA should now insist that apart from an investment in terms of financial and human resources, there is a more pressing need for our libraries, that of having a clear strategy Continued on page 6

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Innovation in independent learning The University of Warwick’s Learning Grid The Learning Grid opened in September 2004, aiming to provide an innovative facility that actively supports the development of study as well as transferable and professional skills. It has provided the Library with the opportunity to experiment with a different kind of learning provision to meet the changing needs of learners in higher education, including: differing learning preferences/styles; a diverse learning community (international students, students with specific needs as well as the cross section of disciplines and levels of study offered by the University); the ability to blend a range of learning activities, traditional with the technological; and the opportunity for students to work collaboratively, experiment and be creative with their learning experiences.

Students at the University of Warwick. The Library worked in partnership with MJP Architects to design a concept and physical space that would complement the Main Library building. The ability to introduce appropriate design features, the use of curves, colours and textures and flexible furniture arrangements has been a critical element to how The Learning Grid has been received and developed over time. The range of collaborative and individual work areas as well as mobile screens, whiteboards and OHPs, allow the environment to be incredibly flexible, enabling students to manipulate their environment to suit their learning activities. It supports individual study, group problem-solving activities and team working, including an emphasis on facilitating the development and delivery of student presentations and supporting students in the use of digital multimedia for their assignments. The Learning Grid provides students with 24/7 access to a range of learning technologies (plasma stations, smartboards, cleverboards, document visualisers, video editing suites, PCs, wireless networks) and practice presentation facilities, in

4

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addition to a 10,000 core text reference only collection. The availability and flexibility of these resources and the space enables students to experiment with their modes of learning and adopt new techniques. Equally important is the flexible service delivery model employed within the space. The Learning Grid is staffed by a team of student advisors trained to facilitate the learning of their peers at an individual or small group level. They are the first point of contact for Grid users and are equipped with best practice principles in the delivery of advice and guidance, adult learning theory and tutoring skills. The peer-to-peer approach provides part of the character of the facility, which has encouraged student ‘ownership’ of the space. Because The Learning Grid has no fixed traditional help desk, advisors wear blue T-shirts and it is their responsibility to be visible on both floors of the Grid, to be stopped at any time to respond to a range of queries. At a basic level these relate to facilitating the use of Grid resources and IT software packages, helping people to navigate the Library’s resources and referring users to the right level of support provision within the University. This may be to The Learning Grid’s drop-in provision, where experts are available in the space to offer specialist, bite-size, context-driven advice and guidance, or more broadly to a course that might be run by a particular support service in the coming weeks. Alternatively, referrals to other service providers (E-Lab, Subject Librarians, Counselling colleagues) might be more appropriate. The lack of an authoritarian staff presence means that staff support can blend in and out of the space successfully throughout the 24/7 period, and that the space continues to hold its integrity whilst ‘unstaffed’.

“the lack of silent study spaces is one of the things I enjoy about The Learning Grid. I personally don’t like that sort of rarefied atmosphere”; provides opportunities to obtain bespoke, personalised and specialist advice and guidance thus reducing traditional barriers to seeking support; and raises awareness of electronic resources, the Academic Support Subject Librarians, and other support specialists within the institution. Academics who are engaging closely with The Learning Grid have reported that the facility is beginning to have an impact on the curriculum. Comments stress that it increases opportunities for innovative teaching practice, allows for the embedding of information literacy instruction into courses, and creates a new and evolving relationship between Library personnel and academics: “Mature part-time students are a significant and growing proportion of learners and information users at the University of Warwick. Over the past two years I have introduced various cohorts of mature learners on academic and profession-related programmes of study to The Learning Grid and have noted the impact this facility has had on their learning experience. Traditionally shy of entering an ‘overwhelming’ library, mature students tell me they arrange to meet each other there for study support and that the service offered has increased their confidence in accessing [the] University’s learning materials. This in turn has had a significant and positive impact on their sense of identity as a university student.” (Senior Tutor in Lifelong Learning)

From evaluations with students we have identified that The Learning Grid has impacted on their experience at Warwick in the following ways: It allows students to feel valued within the University; provides a high quality environment that motivates students to study; “because there’s a place on campus, apart from my room, where I can go and study – it’s a bit more motivation for me to go [and] study”; provides students with a space where they can work collaboratively and engage in discussion, debate and apply a range of resources to support their learning experiences; “given that there is so much emphasis on group work in the courses that I’m doing, it’s been a necessity to have an area where we can conveniently meet and work together”; creates a culture of reciprocal user respect for differing learning styles and an emphasis on the requirement to share resources has created a profound sense of student ownership for the space. Instilling this sense of ownership,

MaLIA’s vision for libraries in Malta

not only encourages students to look after the space and respect, as well as develop, their attitude to learning, but the concept of ownership is extended to the development of themselves as independent adult learners;

In 2007 the Library underwent a major refurbishment to reflect changing user needs including significant changes in the way front line services were delivered. The Library wanted to build on the successes of The Learning Grid by offering similar spaces within the Main Library building as well as offering new facilities tailored specifically to the needs of teaching staff and postgraduate research students, whilst also retaining traditional library spaces to meet the different needs of different groups of library users at different times. Dean McIlwraith is Operations Co-ordinator (The Learning Grid & BioMed Grid) at the University of Warwick. d.mcIlwraith@warwick.ac.uk

The Malta Library and Information Association (MaLIA) was founded in 1969 and is one of the founding members of the Commonwealth Library Association (COMLA). MaLIA is also a member of the IFLA and EBLIDA. MaLIA has, in recent years, sustained its cooperation with CILIP in London as well as with the West Midlands branch, mainly thanks to the work and frequent visits to our island of Dr Mike Freeman, an old friend of MaLIA. Since its early days, MaLIA has always been active in the promoting of the library and information profession and in the training of library and information professionals. Our forty years of history have always been marked with the willingness to contribute towards the advancement of the profession and the libraries in Malta and Gozo. I have used the word willingness intentionally, as despite the good intentions, the achievements of MaLIA have often been an uphill struggle, compounded by the wheels of bureaucracy in the public sector and lack of vision for our libraries by the competent authorities. Despite this, MaLIA is still alive and kicking, mainly thanks to the people who have, for the past forty years, served on Council and contributed towards the objectives of the association with great dedication. But the title of this article is MaLIA’s vision for libraries and therefore we must look ahead and be proactive. I am choosing my words very carefully here. I have already made reference in the introductory paragraph to the lack of vision for our libraries. This is something that MaLIA has been harping on about for ages with the local authorities. MaLIA is very concerned that most local libraries have failed to grasp the opportunities offered by the advancement in technologies in the last 10 years. Instead of taking the opportunities on board and ensuring their continued relevance in what we now refer to as the knowledge-based society, many of our libraries have remained embedded in the archaic notion of a library being a repository of books for circulation. Whilst libraries in developed countries have added services such as internet points, lifelong learning for all the family, online services and web 2.0 technologies, we are still discussing why our public libraries are not in a position to offer interlibrary loans? These problems were highlighted in the Report on the State of Maltese Libraries that was published by MaLIA in 2006. This report provided a clear picture of the situation in our libraries and should be one of the main references in taking the necessary decisions to start moving our libraries in the right direction. MaLIA should now insist that apart from an investment in terms of financial and human resources, there is a more pressing need for our libraries, that of having a clear strategy Continued on page 6

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indicating where we want to be in 2015. The year 2015 is the year that has been chosen by the Maltese Government as the year by which Malta will become a centre of excellence, with education being indicated as one of the focal points for the achievement of this vision. I sincerely believe that MaLIA, as an association, should work towards the creation of such a strategy that should indicate clearly what roles the various national, academic, public and school libraries will be expected to play in this centre of excellence. It is up to us to make ourselves visible to the local authorities and insist that yes, modern, well equipped libraries have an important role to play in achieving vision 2015. Being proactive is the way forward. I believe that as an association representing libraries, archives and information related entities, we should become more proactive than we have been in the past. That is why, on the eve of our 40th anniversary we have issued a press release requesting a Cultural Centre to be built in place of the ruins of the former Royal Opera House in Valletta. For those of you who have never visited Malta, the Royal Opera House in Valletta was a landmark that was heavily bombed during the Second World War and has to date, never been rebuilt. There have been several discussions over the years on what this area should be rebuilt into and MaLIA has now presented a proposal based on the needs of the Maltese society. The fact that a cultural centre is missing in our capital city was the main idea behind this proposal, and, as the MaLIA Council discussed during the recent council meetings, integrating the idea of a cultural centre with that of a state-of-the-art public library seemed ideal as this complex will also be able to accommodate various activities related to the promotion of culture. In our press release dated 10 October 2008, MaLIA indicated that this cultural centre should include “a modern public library with a rich collection made up of

Committee Matters Last year I expressed concern as to whether the CILIP Branch network would survive. Financial constraints looked set to require an, ‘opt in’ of members to decide which branch would sink or swim. Fortunately CILIP Council has now decided that this idea should be dropped due to its unpopularity with members. Funding will continue to be by a lump sum plus a set amount per member. The function of Branches to engage with members locally and work with Groups at a regional level has been accepted as fundamental to maintaining active professional commitment. Council now expects Branches (and Groups) to have business plans and set targets. We have therefore revised our previous business plan, which will be put to members at our Members’ Day & AGM on 28 January. The new Policy Forum has now met 3 times, and is beginning to assert itself. All Branches and Groups have one

books, CDs, DVDs, digital collections, etc. Ample reading areas with natural light should be available together with an environment conducive to promoting education, recreation and satisfying the information needs of all users.” This was the first step in being proactive. The concurrent launch of an iPetition to support the proposal has proved a success and is still open for signatures. Consequently, MaLIA has also launched two Facebook groups, one for the association and another one in support of our proposal for the Cultural Centre. Our association is also cooperating with the CDG of CILIP in view of a forthcoming visit to Malta that will take place next March. A talk by representatives from this group will be given to our members and this will form part of our 40th Anniversary activities. This year promises to be an exciting year for MaLIA. Let us hope that our call for synergies between all parties concerned with the running of our libraries, archives and information centres is heeded and we start working together on a journey that will make libraries an integral part of vision 2015. May I take this opportunity to invite all library and information professionals visiting Malta for one reason or another to contact us at info@malia-malta.org. We will be more than happy to meet up with you and offer our traditional Maltese hospitality! The MaLIA website is available at www.malia-malta.org and access to the press release and the iPetition are available from the homepage. Readers are encouraged to add their signature to this petition in support of MaLIA’s proposal. Robert Mizzi is Chair of the The Malta Library and Information Association (MaLIA). robmiz@maltanet.net

representative, and a named alternate member. Policy issues are discussed, with final decisions being made by the CILIP Trustees on Council. Branches and Groups are encouraged to put forward topics for discussion, and highlight the need for policy development. The role of libraries in public health, community development and the treatment of rare books collections were all discussed at the meeting in November. Finally, Peter Griffiths, as President Elect, set out ideas for his presidential themes and invited comments. He will be presenting these ideas at our January meeting. A number of long standing members will be stepping down from the Committee at the AGM. Sue Bates-Hird has been involved with CILIP WM in a number of different roles for many years, and Sylvia Jenkins was Editor of Open Access for ten years. Jennifer Whitworth and Christine Tootill have also stood down, and we would like to thank them all for their many years of service to CILIP West Midland Branch and wish them all the best for the future. Margaret Rowley is Chair of CILIP West Midlands. margaret.rowley@worcsacute.nhs.uk

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Apart from the benefits to library services, the automation of bureau activity released resources at WMRLS for new developments. Of these the SEALS (Access to European Fiction) project - also PLDIS funded – proved especially valuable to public library services and extremely enjoyable for all of us who got involved in it. Deborah Goodall, our Project Officer, developed a circulating collections model and forged some valuable links to libraries in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to ensure that our selection of foreign language fiction was both authentic and diverse. I went on a study tour of German Libraries and delivered papers at conferences in Paris, Berlin, Cologne and at the London International Book Fair. Other projects included Signposts (funded by LINC) which aimed to deal more effectively with books in languages other than English, and there was SPICE, a network for those managing services to linguistic communities in the region. John Dolan provided strategic leadership for both of these initiatives. Developing Together in Literature Promotion (funded by the Arts Council) addressed the need to train front line pubic library staff at a time when reading groups and other new approaches to marketing a reading offer were emerging. Poetry on Loan was part of the Poetry Society’s Poetry Places initiative and is still going strong today. LitNet is also still in existence and has enjoyed Arts Council finance over a long period. This “virtual literature centre for the West Midlands and beyond” has benefited from David Fine’s seemingly unlimited determination. All these initiatives delivered double benefit – they were added value for library services and at the same time provided further help for WMRLS to make itself into a partnership brokering organisation. However it was the appointment of David Potts as Regional Telematics Officer (funded via WMRLS by the public library authorities) that took things much further. David’s work provided an excellent foundation for the roll-out of The People’s Network in the region as we shall see. There was a series of high profile conferences, at two of which Government Minister Mark Fisher was involved. Mark Fisher (MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport) at the 2nd Regional Telematics Conference, June 1998. Running alongside this work was Futures Together. The first conference with this title was in January 1996 planned and organised by John Dolan (on behalf of Birmingham PALS) and myself (for WMRLS). A distinguished group of national and regional speakers came together to help us unearth the key issues across the collaborative landscape.

Chris Dodd, Colin Beardwood, Geoff Warren, Margaret Haines and Derek Law at Austin Court, Birmingham. The main outcome from this day was a decision to map library special collections in the West Midlands, work subsequently funded by the British Library, and then the Library and Information Commission, with public and university libraries contributing match funding. Chris Dodd was employed to carry out the research and to help develop recommendations for shared use of content by the region’s libraries. The report was launched at a second conference in early 2000 at which (Worcestershire) Councillor Colin Beardwood, Chair of the Regional Assembly, gave the key note address. This was a fitting climax to a decade of substantial progress in working together and an appropriate prelude to the launch of The Libraries Partnership - West Midlands which marked the end of this particular period of transition. In Part 3 (“The noughties”...other journeys) we will cover more changes in the landscape of cooperation as libraries entered new partnerships with museums and archives - right through to the current winding up of MLA’s separate regional agencies: a cross-domain regional content strategy and Revolutionary Players business information (INTER-ALL) reaching disadvantaged young people though Caring with Books access to resources through Multi-Net, Crossroads, Inspire and Find It the role of the Libraries Forum and its annual events the Advantage West Midlands Libraries Challenge working with BBC learning campaigns library spaces and the Big Lottery’s Community Libraries programme Geoff Warren is Deputy CEO and Libraries Domain Lead for MLA West Midlands. geoff.warren@mlawestmidlands.org.uk

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sectors – it led to cross fertilisation, generated ideas, fostered dialogue and joint activities, whilst encouraging and facilitating managed access for learners and aspiring learners to the wealth of resources found in the region’s libraries. Did it meet the original aims? Probably not – the sheer scale of the region, a number of other competing commitments and a sense of ‘initiativeness’, local and sectoral issues affecting all libraries at a time of great change, perhaps meant that a joined up regional response didn’t materialise.

Its legacy however will be one of aspiration for those involved, to be more than the boundaries of our walls for those that use us and are yet to use us. What has become clear is that access to our electronic resources for all citizens, students, learners, patients and workers of the West Midlands, is the real challenge we must now face. At our last MOG meeting we asked, ‘whither Inspire West Midlands’? Do we continue to promote, disseminate, monitor and encourage access to our collections under the INSPIRE banner?

Do we re-focus activity as a new cross sector regional group? Do we meet perhaps twice a year to ensure we are doing all we can to encourage joined up thinking? And we now invite your response, I’d be very grateful for any comments! David Parkes is Associate Director of Information Services at Staffordshire University. d.j.parkes@staffs.ac.uk

We Did It Our Way (Almost) 80 years of libraries working together in the West Midlands region Part 2 – “The nineties”...in transition In Part 1 we saw that the “Conference of the Librarians of the West Midlands Area” in 1931 was the starting point for library collaboration in the region. Bureau operations were based at Adderley Park Library well into the post-war period, but then moved to the “old” Birmingham Central Library. (This was much earlier than the 1970s as suggested in Part 1). By the 1990s a great deal more was changing than location of offices. As Christopher Evans had predicted in The Might Micro, it was now possible, for the first time in history, to hold and share massive quantities of data at very low cost courtesy of the silicon chip. Libraries would never be quite the same again. WMRLS needed to re-invent itself ready for the 21st century.

of the UK. West Midlands was the only region to negotiate with LASER to implement the VISCOUNT solution for all its public libraries. It has taken far too long (almost 15 years) for the fracture into Unity and V3 “camps” to be finally healed. Only in 2008 has OCLC been able to complete the integration of both products into Unity UK. Despite these difficulties, WMRLS was able to pilot a new approach to a UK-wide vocal sets catalogue in our region and Malcolm Jones worked with both IAML(UK) and CONARLS (representing all the library regions) to develop Encore. This was funded from the Department of National Heritage (DNH)’s Public Library Development Incentive Scheme (PLDIS). As I write it remains to be seen if this too can now be fully integrated into Unity UK.

When I joined the organisation in early 1992 it was “to direct the implementation of an agreed strategy for the development of effective collaboration”. I was very fortunate to work with a succession of Chairs who were outstanding leaders – Pat Coleman, Michael Messenger, Mary Heaney and Richard Honeysett. As senior figures in the public or university library sectors, they encouraged their colleagues to contribute regionally, whilst helping me as Director to stay focused on what was driving the major library organisations. This partnership between Honorary Officers and the Executive function was the key to successively meeting a number of challenges. To begin with, we had to do something about inter-lending. The technological solutions, and new ways of managing inter-library loans, that Frances Hendrix and Peter Smith had pioneered in London and the South East were a step too far, or perhaps too fast, for colleagues in some other parts

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SPICE 2008 Training Day The principal role of the SPICE group (Specialist Provision in Community Languages & English) is to provide advice and guidance to the Society of Chief Librarians West Midlands, on service delivery to Black and Minority Ethnic communities, and to act as a forum for ideas, views, and comments with regard to library service plans.

Warwickshire Libraries continue to radically change the face of their libraries. Ayub shared the vision Faydene addresses delegates at Brownhills Library. by discussing diversity, skills, social inclusion and the law. He also shared the new perspective in The annual SPICE training day took place on Wednesday 5 Warwickshire, but was quick to remind us all of the barriers November at the Brownhills Library in Walsall. Specialist that have kept people away and showed us how libraries have presenters included Community Librarian Deep Hunjan got to continue to break those barriers down. Using the and Cara Evans of Birmingham Libraries, Project Manager success of their outreach to the county’s migrant community, Sandeep Mahal of the Reading Agency, Local Studies Librarian Ayub defined some of the important research that took place Tracey Williams from Solihull Libraries and Head of Strategy before and during the outreach and the outcomes that were Ayub Khan from Warwickshire Libraries. The training day accomplished. was aimed at people with responsibility for developing services to BME and new communities and the purpose of The other Project shared with the group was CILIP’s the day was to identify and share best practice for wider ENCOMPASS programme – a positive action programme implementation. aimed at getting ethnic minorities to pursue a career in the library services. It was likened to the ALAs SPECTRUM Twenty-three delegates attended from 13 authorities, programme in the U.S.A. The programme gets underway alongside their SPICE representatives. The day included in December 2008. For more information on the feedback breakout sessions, where all groups were able to discuss in from the training day visit the SPICE blog at: http:// detail, barriers and ways forward for library services gearing spicelibraries.wordpress.com/ up to improve the provision to BME and new communities in the most cost-effective way. Faydene Gillings-Grant is Community Librarian & Library Manager with Birmingham Libraries and also Chair of SPICE. Deep and Cara’s work looked at the partnership with ESOL tutors at the Spring Hill Library in Birmingham. Participants faydene_gillings-grant@birmingham.gov.uk were able to view the important ESOL resources available including appropriate leaflets, dictionaries, popular series and information about unique suppliers. The very practical activities were shared to show how to engage different levels of new learners in taking up reading for fun.

International Relations

The TRA’s Reading Partners’ Consortium was explained by Sandeep and the success it had achieved in getting readers and writers together using clever marketing and publicity means. She reported how tremendous the feedback had been from the public, in such a way as to impress publishers enough to keep them on board working in the Consortium. She stressed that there was still a big opportunity to market library services to the general BME communities based on what the Reading Readers project had uncovered. She further emphasised that there were still lots of offers available to reading groups from Publishers for BME Readers, and indicated that the TRA online calendar was a good place to start the journey. Speakers at the 3rd Regional Telematics Conference, September 1999. Chris Batt (future CEO MLA), David Potts, Nigel Summers (CEO Sandwell MBC), Susi Woodhouse, Collin Tennant (Birmingham University), Richard Honeysett (Solihull MBC) and Ian Everall (Walsall MBC).

resources from the Mormon Family History Centres and the contribution of key players such as genealogists and authors – in engaging members of the African Caribbean Community in a largely traditional English pastime.

Family History for the African Caribbean community was piloted as a full length 10 week course in Solihull. It captured the imagination of the many that flocked to the library to take part. This was in collaboration with Solihull College. Tracey shared the challenging experience of preparing and delivering a course such as this – which was a first – and it did make interesting listening. A lot was said of the fantastic

“The horror, the horror...” Libraries pop up in the strangest and most unexpected places. On a recent trip to Lithuania your Hon. International Relations Officer was visiting the grim former Gestapo HQ and ex-KGB prison in central Vilnius (as you do). Here, amidst the horror, degradation and misery of the totalitarian state’s apparatus of control and repression was a bare cell converted into a Prisoners’ Library. Doubtless, the Library’s stock was rigorously censored and controlled but nevertheless it was a start...a ‘Shawshank Redemption’ moment, perhaps? Mike Freeman is Hon. International Relations Officer.

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Website Library Photo Competition Calling all budding photographers CILIP West Midlands is embarking on an exciting digital photography project using the photo management and sharing application Flickr. We are collecting images of libraries in the West Midlands, from Birmingham to Bloxwich and from Warwick to Worcester. Whatever kind of library you work in – we want to see it, inside or out! Whether it is public or academic, legal or medical, old or new. If you are proud of where you work, why not tell the rest of the region? Simply photograph your library and add your photo* to the group pool on the ‘CILIP West Midlands Library Photo Competition’ group page on Flickr (http://www.flickr.com/ groups/cilipwmlibphotocomp). It’s that easy! Anyone can join our group, you don’t need to be a member of CILIP, but you will need to have a Flickr account.

New Webmaster After three and a half years as Webmaster, it’s now time for me to hand over to a new face. I’m pleased to report that as of 1 February Katherine Widdows will be taking over our committee webpages and associated social networking activities. Katherine can be contacted at: k.widdows@warwick.ac.uk

Facebook Love it or loathe it? CILIP West Midlands is now on Facebook! If you already have a Facebook account you can join our group by searching for “CILIP West Midlands”. If you’re new to the world of social networking, it’s quick and easy to join Facebook, visit www.facebook.com to register.

A newsletter from the West Midlands branch of CILIP

Not only will you be helping to create a digital collage to showcase the diversity of our region’s libraries, but the library or individual that submits the best image to our group pool will have it reproduced in Library + Information Gazette. The winning shot should be artistic, creative and imaginative, showing off your library in a new light. So get snapping and put your library on the map! For more information visit our website at: www.cilip.org.uk/wm or email cilipwm@me.com Closing Date: Friday 5 June 2009. The winner will be announced in July’s issue of Open Access and published in Gazette in August. * By adding your photo on Flickr you are accepting that consent has been given by any person(s) pictured.

Events What’s happening in health information? (a study day for non-specialists) Date: Thursday 12th February 2009� Time: 9:30am - 3:30pm � Venue: Carrs Lane Church Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham B4 7SX � Cost: Career Development Group Members £41.13 (Inc.VAT) CILIP Members £47 (Inc.VAT) Non-members £52.88 (Inc.VAT) There are a number of free places for students or the unwaged. A one day workshop run by West Midlands Career Development Group, CILIP

Joining our group will help keep you in touch with news and events from your local branch, and it’s a great way to network with fellow professionals from the region.

Health Information is a fast changing environment where it is often difficult for the non-specialist to keep informed. This event is being run so that Library and Information professionals who work outside of the health environment can see how this specialist area is changing and developing.

David Viner is Vice-Chair of CILIP WM & Editor of Open Access.

Contact: Catherine McLaren catherine.mclaren@geh.nhs.uk

Open Access Publication of the West Midlands Branch of CILIP. Views expressed are not necessarily those of CILIP-WM or of the Editor.

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Editor: David Viner Solihull Central Library Solihull B91 3RG Tel: 0121 704 8534 Fax: 0121 704 6907 Email: dviner@solihull.gov.uk Copy date for next issue: Friday 14 March 2009

A supplement to CILIP Update January 2009 Vol. 52 No.1

ISSN 0048-1904

INSPIRE West Midlands INSPIRE England and our local and regional manifestation Inspire West Midlands, emerged from the DCMS strategy, Framework for the Future published in February 2003. The ‘Framework’ provided the government’s vision for public libraries in England to 2013. If a week is a long time in politics, then 10 years is the working definition of eternity. And so, just five years in, the DCMS has now announced another review, the ‘Modernisation Review of Public Libraries’. It seems appropriate then at this juncture to review INSPIRE and INSPIRE activities in the West Midlands and to consider ‘what next’ for INSPIRE in the region? In 2003 the MLA was tasked with the development and implementation of a national action plan to stimulate and support public libraries in England in delivering the Framework vision. The INSPIRE initiative was led by SCONUL (the Society of College, National and University Libraries), and the Society of Chief Librarians (public librarians in England, Wales and Northern Ireland) in partnership with The British Library, CILIP and the MLA Council, both nationally and regionally. A National Steering Group led activities and disseminated information. As a first approach to INSPIRE the MLA West Midlands surveyed access agreements in the region and discovered limited access to other institutions and members of the public in relation to Higher Education institutions. From this, three project groups were formed to carry out demonstration projects in Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent and Wolverhampton, with the intention to promote access to libraries across the HE and

point in its Birmingham Bennetts Hill offices. The sub regional approach demonstrated pockets of excellent practice, particularly evidenced in Coventry and Warwickshire. public sectors to those not in formal education, or perhaps ‘disenfranchised’ from the educational process. Procedures and training materials were developed and workshops and briefing sessions were held for library staff. The pilot groups developed cooperative access agreements, which the report found resulted in an increased use of library resources by the target ‘learners’. INSPIRE’s intended purpose was therefore to create a seamless pathway to support learning and access to information for all. Initially focusing on academic, national and public libraries it quickly grew to include NHS and FE Colleges, specialist libraries including gems such as Hereford Cathedral and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The NHS and FE colleges soon demonstrated incredible commitment, innovation and perseverance; contributing exemplars of cross sectoral activity. Given the geographically and socio economically diverse urban and rural nature of the West Midlands region, a distributed model of sub regional groupings was adopted. A Monitoring and Operational Group (MOG) at regional level identified and promoted good practice, disseminated information, awarded funding for projects, promotional and marketing material, with the MLA providing administrative support and a focal

Eschewing overly bureaucratic administrative functions and relying on existing pathways and frameworks at the sub regional level, Inspire became very much a grassroots initiative. Individual libraries and librarians demonstrated commitment, developed activity and showed leadership. Activity led to workshops, training initiatives, open days, a showcase for what libraries can be for people. Inspire encouraged and enabled libraries to look beyond their boundaries and Continued on page 2

In this issue... We Did It Our Way...............2 Innovation in independent learning.....................................4 MaLIA’s vision for libraries in Malta.....................................5 Committee Matters..............6 SPICE 2008 Training Day......7 International Relations.........7 Website....................................8 Events.......................................8

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Open Access - January 2009 - Vol. 52 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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