Merging library authorities

The rain didn’t deter the
CILIP in London
crowd from flocking to the north side of the Euston Road last night, to a pub just
around the corner from Sherlock’s BBC home (delighted as I was to have deduced its
location having seen UCH in the background in one episode). We braved the almost
single digit temperatures to hear David Ruse talk about the tri-borough library
service in Westminster,
Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith.

As Director of the service, David was
well-placed to talk us through the journey so far. He spoke about the
challenges of knowledge capture and understanding each borough’s differences in
working culture, as well as engaging and communicating with staff at all points
in the process – quite some task when you have some people who only work on a
Sunday or a Wednesday evening. Hearing about the structure of the tri-borough
service was interesting, as was the use of Section 113 of the 1972 Local
Government Act – the lending out of staff to other boroughs for the development
of services.

Is this the future of library provision in London? It’s certainly innovative,
cost-effective and seems to provide more choice to the people in these boroughs.
It was, and is, a massive change management programme, which will always
provide challenges in any sector. David spoke about these challenges at the top end actually
leading to raised service quality provision. “What happens after tri-borough?”
A question posed by David, no doubt to be discussed in many different circles.

Fascinating talk by a great speaker. I’ll take away his words about how to keep going through change – “keep a focus
on the vision and the mandates; remember why we’re doing it.”

– Suzanne

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