Liverpool – you did us proud

It is fun to see history being made.  Modern history is doubtless going to be recorded via electronic means and researched and added to so the more ‘stuff’ is written about the more it will be regarded as key.  Are quiet libraries going to be consigned to the past and become history?

I had a good seat at the Public Libraries Conference in Liverpool to hear the Rt Hon Andy Burnham, MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport deliver his Ministerial Address to a rapt audience. I was sitting next to MLA supremo Roy Clare who was to give his MLA Briefing – Libraries at the heart of local ‘best practice’ , just an hour later.  Of course the Minister’s text had been leaked to the press in advance and matched up with the ‘noise in libraries vs books’ debate to create much press comment – which is still continuing.  This one will run and run I am sure.

Bob McKee then chaired Lyn Brown, MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Libraries and Literacy who announced an enquiry by the APPG into the governance and leadership in Public Libraries in England.  A lot for a brain to take in but fun to be there and to see and hear key strategists and politicians talking.

Over a cup of pre-lunch coffee I was privileged to sit with Bob McKee, Tim Coates and Roy Clare and hear them gently but forcefully put their (firmly entrenched) views to each other.  As time was precious I offered to host a further meeting with me as referee.  (Not sure if they got the tongue in cheek!)

I loved the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Steve Rotherham, who offered us a splendid Civc Reception and reminded us of just how wonderful Liverpool was and is.  He was so thrilled by my confession that I had invested a considerable number of pounds in the new retail outlets in Liverpool One that he mentioned it in his address! 

There is no doubt that getting out and going to conferences broadens your mind and widens your horizons.  I must make a note to do more of it.

One comment to this post

  •  :  Glad to see you made it out to the provinces, Sue, especially to Liverpool, which always repays a visit. I read of Andy Burnham's comments in The Independent, which even devoted a small amount of editorial space to the subject of public libraries, and wondered whether he (or his speech writer) had been in a public library recently? Coffee bars, food and noise have been a part of the public library scene for at least 10 years. It is disappointing when a minister takes on a brief and doesn't really get a grasp of what's going on. What is even more disappointing is the resounding silence from CILIP - where is all that "advocacy", I wonder? There were no letters in response the next day.

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