Incorporates: Asian Libraries
Online from: 1898
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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Article citation: Linda Ashcroft, (2008) "Editorial", New Library World, Vol. 109 Iss: 9/10, pp. -
CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) is concerned about a growing number of police requests regarding library user activity in the context of criminal activity and terrorism. A recent response from CILIP to the Bookseller Editor’s blog welcomed the support for CILIP’s “long-held position in defence of libraries as neutral spaces where users’ rights to privacy within the law and of free enquiry and access to knowledge are inviolable”. The response also commented that “librarians have to act within the law but CILIP does not want to see the confidence and privacy with which people use libraries undermined” (www.thebookseller.co.uk/blogs/57957-a-neutral-space.html). The article by Schepman et al. reports on a research study undertaken simultaneously in the Netherlands and Croatia to investigate library practices regarding the protection of personal data and awareness of the privacy of library users, with focus on aspects relating to new technology. They conclude that it will be necessary “to prepare librarians not only for the introduction of possible new services, but also for the professional and ethical issues that follow”.
A recent article in Library + Information Update (Doust, 2008) focused on the Bulawayo Public Library in Zimbabwe. Inflation has rendered the grant income from the city council valueless and the library has been forced to become financially self-supporting. While the library is public in the sense that it is open to any person who wishes to join, it is not run or owned by a local council or government, but is constituted as a co-operative with all members being part-owners. Libraries in Zimbabwe form the focus of the article from Nelson, which provides an overview of historical and current events on the Zimbabwe library community in light of political and economic events. Noted is the fact that libraries in 2008 have fewer resources available than they had in the 1960s.
Many items in a report from the council’s culture and communities scrutiny committee to Hampshire’s library services raise questions and make it clear that the library service must come up with solutions. In various sections “customer service ethos” and community engagement are urged, and staff quality is seen as relevant to the success of new service developments. While not all current staff are thought to be perfect, this was noted in particular by young people used as mystery shoppers by the Children’s Library Service. Young people are also the focus of Pors’ article which presents the main findings of a nation-wide survey of Danish high school students and their use of libraries and digital resources. While the research results indicate that high school students are a much diversified group possessing a great variability in information behaviour, there is also a hint of “a troubling issue, which is that the library profession’s construction of user needs and wants is a bit out of tune with the high school students’ perception of the importance of what constitutes a library”.
Leadership is quite a hot topic for libraries in various countries as ways to develop leaders to replace those who are likely to retire over the next decade are considered. The Mortenson Centre at the University of Illinois is developing and testing modules for international library leadership. One concern is the need to develop leaders from within a library. Various projects and programmes aimed at developing current and future leaders and preparing them for top positions have resulted from concerns about recruitment. In their article, Arnold et al. present the results of a survey directed to leadership institute attendees and consider the impact of such institutes on librarians’ careers and their willingness to move into leadership roles. The findings of this study suggest that leadership institutes are helping to create the next generation of library leaders.
A report from the Research Information Network (RIN) calls for a five-year national strategy and programme to tackle key cataloguing backlogs and retro-conversion priorities (www.rin.ac.uk/catalogue-coverage). RIN will work with the library community on authoritative guidelines on standards and priorities for new and retro-conversion of cataloguing, staffing aspects and evaluation and promotion, which are also called for in the report. The article from Hollender and Kasprzyk discusses the development of library catalogues, the national union catalogue in Poland and the inclusion of the latter in OCLC’s WorldCat. As well as providing an overview of the cataloguing situation in a recent Eastern member state of the European Union, examples and scenarios are provided.
At the recent 8th Henley Knowledge Management Conference, collaboration was one theme. Focus was on the ability to collaborate at a deep level in order to find solutions to new challenges as they emerge. Organisational structures were described in two dimensions – hierarchical and collaborative, with these dimensions needing to co-exist and reinforce each other. Collaborative networks help people innovate and develop, and hierarchies provide checks and balances. Ocholla, in his article, discusses collaboration in Library and Information Studies (LIS) education in South Africa. Whilst he finds that collaboration of LIS schools in the region is weak and largely informal with hardly any research collaboration, the existing opportunities require initiatives, involvement and leadership. He suggests that organising LIS schools’ workshops and pre/post conferences during national, regional and international conferences is a way to unravel some of the current collaborative plight.
Doust, R. (2008), “Making it pay in Zimbabwe: the value of a public library in a collapsing economy”, Library + Information Update, Vol. 7 No. 5, pp. 37–9