Change

Driving change

I was recently asked to sum up our success and significant upturn in performance in an email and found it almost impossible. However In 2012 Edinburgh won the Bookseller Library Service of the Year Award and I think this sums up our success pretty well. The award was launched to recognise library services which are thriving and innovating in a difficult climate and increasing access and performance.

Edinburgh was considered against a range of libraries across the UK. Judges identified our key strengths as:
* Range of services for hard to reach readers
* A cutting edge website and Library App
* Engaging social media activity
* Committed support from the local authority.

Also referenced in our success was our online library portal ‘Your Library‘, 2 brand new library facilities within the city including Drumbrae Library Hub and Craigmillar Library Hub, refurbished facilities in Morningside and several others, the Prison Library Service, the range of special reading projects including those for dyslexic children and services for older readers.

Judges concluded that Edinburgh Libraries & Information Services are “innovative on so many fronts, full of energy, bang up to date and unafraid of the future”. Providing “a template for libraries everywhere to be inspired by.”

This is the third national libraries award won by the city’s library service in two years. In July 2010, the service was successful in winning the Libraries Change Lives Award from the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals for HMP Edinburgh Library Partnership (Saughton Prison).
This was followed in 2011 with the ‘Whose Town’ Project achieving the Scottish Design Awards Chairman’s Award.

Key to any success is the fantastic teamwork and innovative thinking in our staff. It is the power to drive and embrace change

If you would like to know more we are hosting  our annual EDGE 2013 conference 28th February – 1st March and we would be delighted to put some flesh on the bones of this short summary

Libraries – driving a digital future for Scotland

The Scottish Government published its Digital Public Services FrDigital future wordleamework  on the 19th of September. The document sets out the vision and helps shape how the Scottish Government will move forward with their priority of public service reform over the coming years.

It puts the needs of users at the heart of services.  We know online services mean that we can access information when we require it, pay a bill or even arrange social care in a simple and quick way. The strategy outlines how different organisations can join up across all sectors to deliver services in a more responsive way.

So where is our library and information leadership? This is our opportunity to put forward a business case for libraries now and  in the future Who is going to keep people skilled up? Who will people trust to access much of this?

I believe the future of libraries is in driving and  underpinning this strategy and making it a reality for real people.

Join us at Libraries driving a digital future at the VOCAL conference

10 euros to turn mobile phone users into book readers?

A German e-reader company has launched its device . Likely to be priced at a startling €10, the txtr beagle  5” e-reader is small and light, and runs on two AAA batteries.Txtr Beagle gadget

Txtr is planning to tackle a growing problem: how to turn mobile phone users into book readers, a potential market, which could be huge.

At €10, the beagle may not feel like having to buy another device, and therefore might appeal to readers who want to read digitally, but don’t want to do so on their mobile phones.

Something else for us all in libraries to wrestle with?

Eye on the future

With an eye on the future Edinburgh’s libraries are are ready to underpin the Scottish Government’s plans for Scotland’s Digital Future

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced “It will also change the way that we live – from the way we book holidays to the way we access health care.  We are committed to ensuring that all of Scotland is able to reap the social and cultural benefits of the internet.

Broadband, just like roads and railways, is a vital part of Scotland’s infrastructure, and that is why we are committed to delivering a world class digital infrastructure to the people of Scotland by 2020.”

Chris van der Kuyl, Chief Executive of Dundee-based online publishing company Brightsolid, said:

“ A digital Scotland to me is a concept that has to be central to our future. As a small country with huge intellectual capacity, digital media and digital  technology have to be right at the core of everything we do going forward.”

Edinburgh’s libraries can support everyone with the information, skills, access to content and opportunities to get on board and benefit from Scotland’s bright future

Open data – the opportunity

Open data is us! The government’s commitment to open data gives libraries and information services another opportuinty to shine in a new role as the “trusted” channel to a potentially huge information resource for the public.

This is only one of many ways libraries will be “rebranded” as an increasing proportion of our resources and services – and the information in the world that surrounds them – are digital.

What really scares me is the possibility that we miss this potentially major opportunity to capitalise on this as we did with the People’s Network.

With the opening of government agencies’ databanks and the emergence of applications to help present data in a friendly way to the public, libraries must be the vital link to this information for people who don’t have their own access.

The local library has long been an information centre for the community, but those communities are now partly constructed online and through social media, and we must be in the digital world where our customers are

Internet Librarian

I am excited about speaking at Internet Librarian International 12  I will be hearing from information professionals and practising librarians as they share their experiences about their creative projects, innovative solutions and practical implementation strategies.

I know I’ll come back with updated skills and ideas on new approaches, products and technology for finding, organising and managing information resources.

For me it is a real opportunity to step back,  be reawakened, renewed and refresh my ideas and thinking.

Super connected city

Libraries and Information Services in Edinburgh are gearing up to help support the drive to roll out of ubiquitous fast connectivity. This has never been more important in cities in order to meet the increasing demand of all users and to foster economic growth. Pervasive fast broadband connectivity for residents and businesses is seen as a key driver of inward investment. By investing in Ultrafast broadband, Edinburgh will strengthen its position as a super-connected city able to compete with the world’s top digital cities, and as a place where digital businesses aspire to be based.  However this will deliver other objectives besides economic growth: increase opportunities for all, enable social initiatives, increase digital participation, support tourism and improve the delivery of public services.

This is the right time for libraries to step up and lead on demand stimulation and digital and social inclusion – areas that we are so good at!