National Libraries Day Freedom of Information RequestDocument Transcript
Further to your request for information relating to National Libraries Day, our response is asfollows:You indicated you were specifically "interested to know if staff have been directed not topromote or make reference to National Libraries Day or if there has been any instruction notto promote the day in general".Library managers discussed the capacity (funding and staffing capacity) of the service toengage with National Library Day. An assessment of local activities already scheduledhighlighted that there were a significant number of events already planned for January andFebruary 2012. Alongside these local events, the service has planned several large scaleevents and promotions such as celebrating the 200th anniversary of Dickens birth, theopening of the new Kent History and Library Centre in Maidstone and actively supporting theOlympics and Paralympics.The service decided to take the approach that with more than 14,500 events throughout thecounty being held every year in locallibraries - every day is Libraries Day in Kent.KCC holds a number of National Library Day emails - the following extracts relate directly toarea that you have requested: 23/11/11 8.21am from the email Gill Bromley to Jackie Taylor- Smith, Kirsty Russell, Vandra Hemmings, Nicola Browne"I saw Cath briefly last night and she is now erring on the side of caution. There is to be amarch in London on 3rd Feb and Cath feels this may turn into an anti-closure campaign. Even a membership drive could be seen as political campaigning....Im going to suggest that we state that every day is National Library Day for us and that it willbe business as usual. It is certainly a chance to explain what business as usual means topromote our services and opportunity to engage with What Kent Means to Me but maybenothing beyond that. 2012 will be a big year for Kent Libraries with the KHLC, Beaney,Dickens 2012 etc so plenty to celebrate." 25/11/11 11.23am from the email Cath Anley to Gill Bromley "We have agreed that your group should co-ordinate and monitor a range of activity that ismostly already planned over the weeks leading up to and after 4th February. This willinclude what kent means to me (and other events leading up to the KHLC opening)and Dickens 2012 activity. At this stage we will not plan to badge any of this activity as NLD,but if asked what we are doing to celebrate NLD we will be able to respond that a range ofactivity is planned over this period. Nearer the time we might still choose to badge some ofthis NLD through press releases and posters etc., but dont think we have to take thatdecision now. In some places where the public are engaged, we may plan activity over andabove what is already planned but again we will not plan to badge this as NLD and it shouldnot happen if it gets in the way of our commitment to excellent customer service." 25/11/11 12.24pm from the email Cath Anley to Denise Eden Green"Our feeling is that we will co-ordinate a range of activity that is due to happen in the weeksleading up to and after 4th Feb. These include activity to promote the imminent opening ofthe History and Library Centre, and celebrations around Dickens birthday in early Feb. Gill isleading a group that will co-ordinate and monitor this activity, and work with the Press Officeto draft any press releases and responses to media enquiries. The group will also make surelocal staff are fully briefed and know that they must not engage in any campaigning activity.We have agreed as things stand that we will not badge any of this as NLD, but will be able toevidence a wide range of activity that coincides with NLD and supports its aims. "
25/11/11 12.47pm from the email Cath Anley to District Managers"I do want you to be aware of the perceived risks and challenges this poses for us so that youcan manage the impact locally,NLD is a partnership of a wide range of organisations with very different agendas.""Some of the other partners are involved in campaigning activity that we as local governmentemployees could not be involved in and should avoid being associated with. For this reasonthere is a real risk that NLD will get high jacked, either by partners, or even more likely by themedia - to make it about a campaign to save libraries and/or fight savings in library budgets.To add to the risk, I am aware that on 3rd Feb there is a library march planned in London, andof course with councils all over the country setting 2012/13 budgets at public meetings aroundthis time, there will be multiple opportunities for the press/media to get exercised about thisand link to NLD.As you know, the approach we are taking in Kent is to recognise that in the current publicsector financial environment, savings are inevitable and necessary. Our work, recentlyreported in the POSC report, is geared towards working with local communities to find waysto deliver savings without impacting adversely on library services. This work is at an earlystage, with early conversations with local members taking place in the next few months. Thismakes our approach to NLD even more critical.Gill Bromley is leading a team that will co-ordinate all promotional activity over the weeksleading up to and following 4th Feb. She needs to be notified of any library promotionalactivity (including any events) already planned through January to February. She also needsto be consulted before any commitments are made to any additional activity. CDLs and otherstaff must be briefed that they should not proactively discuss NLD with any member of thepublic, and should be very cautious in responding to any enquiries they receive, alwaysconsulting you and Gill before making any commitments.It is possible that we will not badge any activity NLD, but rather focus on doing the day job tothe highest standards ie talking to customers, promoting our services (targeted depending onage, ability etc), assisting the public and engaging the public as volunteers etc. We willconfirm this later." 25/11/11 1.07pm email from Gill Bromley to District Managers"You will have seen Caths e-mail to DMs etc which makes it clear that we are not proactivelyengaging but need to be ready to respond to public or media enquiries."? 7/12/11 4.38pm email from Gill Bromley to Ken Jarvis, Lindsay Prestage, Christel Pobgee, Sheila Golden, Shirley Sheridan"You will have seen Caths e-mail to DMs etc which makes it clear that we are not proactivelyengaging but need to be ready to respond to public or media enquiries." 19/12/11 8.47am email from Gill Bromley to Vandra Hemmings, Nicola Browne, JackieTaylor- Smith, Elizabeth Taylor"The current situation is that Cath and LAMT have decided that with 99 libraries in Kent, andfinite resources, we do not have the capacity to devote dedicated resources to planningprogrammes of events specially for NLD"
"However, we had already planned events and promotions across the County to celebrate the200th anniversary of Dickens birth, and to promote the planned opening of the new Historyand Library Centre in the Spring, and the redeveloped Beaney in Canterbury later in 2012.Alongside this there will be a launch event for the recently opened Sheerness Gateway(including a new library) in the Spring, and further promotion of the redeveloped GravesendLibrary and the new Ashford Gateway Plus - both of which opened their doors to the publicthis summer. We hope the public appreciate that there is much to celebrate about libraries inKent, and we will continue to celebrate what we do in the best way possible - by continuing todeliver the best quality service possible to our very many satisfied customers"