But, I have news, and this seems a good place to describe my plans. After 20 years at DFID (yes, 20, seems hard to believe….) after running a library, creating an intranet, learning html and building a website, building a team, replanning after a team was split, rebuilding a team, creating a website using a content management system, migrating a website onto another platform, initiating and participating in numerous experiments with new and exciting
toys tools now collectively known under the banner of social media, writing a strategy, trying to implement that strategy, working with some fantastically creative and innovative and fun-to-be-with colleagues, and many many more things (sometimes badged with e-something, or webby, or online, or nowadays digital) I’m finally ready for a change.
And to follow the earworm song titles theme I started with, I’m going back to my roots…..
I’m going to work on communications for the Taskforce for Libraries: the body created to implement the recommendations made in the Independent Library Report for England . While I’ve still got some work to do for DFID, I did spend one day last week attending the Taskforce’s 3rd meeting – and it was inspiring and fascinating to hear the huge amount of commitment and enthusiasm of people round that table, encouraging to recognise their ambition and slightly daunting to think about the amount that is to be done.
I aim to make the time to blog more about my experiences (my whole role is about communications, and I don’t have to fake a passion for libraries, so it really shouldn’t be that hard!). I’ve already met some wonderful people and heard lots of stories about the diverse things going on in public libraries. Anyone I’ve talked to about the role has positive things to share and recognises we are potentially at a crucial time where there is so much opportunity to get things right, to learn from the excellent good practice happening around the country. Yet also it is impossible to ignore the scale of the challenge. You don’t have to look very hard to find stories of library closures, of the implications of relying on volunteers to run a service, of decaying buildings. Libraries are places people feel passionate about, they evoke an emotional response, and I look forward to working with people who want to build on that emotion and nurture a new breed of libraries which are truly at the heart of communities – as I heard earlier this week, are used and valued by their communities, and are seen by decision makers and budget holders as “a resource, not a cost”.
There are masses of things to do to handover my old role, and plan for the new – but one of the profiles I’m most looking forward to changing is my twitter bio. No longer will there need to be a split between the job description and the second half where it said “outside of work, like owls, castles and libraries…….”
Can’t wait to get started.