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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.
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    Thursday, June 07, 2007

    Are there any other views on Public Libraries?

    Most readers of iNG will be aware of concerns voiced here in the past about what is happening (or not) to public libraries in the UK. Those same readers cannot fail to be aware of the continuing onslaught from Tim Coates in The Good Library Blog on any body which has any responsibility for public libraries: from CILIP to MLA; from Demos to the (now closing) Laser Foundation.

    Now, we have Richard Wallis of library systems producer, Talis weighing in with a reasoned analysis of the state of play so far on the Talis Panlibus blog. In 'Public Libraries - What Next?', Richard looks briefly at the official reports of the last 15 or so months and at all that Tim Coates has produced, and concludes that:
    it is clear that all the authors have in common a passionate belief that public libraries deliver massive benefit to our society, and they should be protected and improved.

    Things, or I should say more correctly priorities, then start to diverge somewhat. Some of the blogging and other coverage around these reports over the months has to say the least been a bit critical.

    More importantly, Richard feels that

    we have had enough position stating around this important subject, and it is about time there was some working together to start to get things done
    although he has has some doubts about the ability of the MLA (especially, with its leadership in transition - CJA) to deliver on this.

    Talis are very committed to libraries (obviously!)... I wonder if that extends to hosting a forum of the great and the good - professional bodies, government, MLA, and the concerned - to work out a way forward that will benefit the public and their libraries?

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