September seems a long time ago now - but this blog post is about something that started back then and is just beginning to come to fruition now. As part of the Library Camp East unconference I ran a session for solo librarians and people single-staffing libraries to get together, have a chat and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of working on their own.
I wanted to do this because I’d just spent a hectic summer single-staffing a very small library branch through a record-breaking Summer Reading Challenge. I hadn’t had too much in the way of support or line management during this time, specifically due to a managerial vacancy directly above me. And, although I didn’t know this at Library Camp East, my days as a Senior Library Assistant were already numbered.
At the end of September I had an interview for what felt like a long-shot secondment to a very attractive librarian’s post, working as part of the central enquiry team for the county library service. To my amazement and disbelief (a feeling which still hadn’t departed a couple of weeks after I’d started work and had an email signature with the word ‘librarian’ for all to see) I was chosen and given an initial six months in the job. That’s just been extended for a further six months and so I’m not sure whether or not I will find myself single-staffing again.
With that in mind, I want to do something positive with what was a very difficult and simultaneously very rewarding experience. It occurred to me that it would be nice if there was some formal group that could offer support to solos and single-staffers who find themselves needing a bit of a metaphorical hug, and also that the regional branch of CILIP would be the perfect way to organise this. So I’m now about to propose to CILIP East that we found a peer support network for solo library and information workers with the possibility of future events, training and networking opportunities.
This was an idea that was floated at Library Camp East and which met with quite a positive reception. So, even though a few months have gone by, I hope I can follow through on that and actually deliver something that will help people in what can be an immensely difficult and stressful situation. In the meantime, here’s some of the material that came out of the day for you to consider and comment on.Advantages of solo librarianship/single-staffing:
English PEN, an organisation that works for the freedom to write and the freedom to read around the world, has asked its supporters to help with an urgent action to support imprisoned Muharrem Erbey.
This writer, advocate and human rights lawyer who represented clients at the European Court of Human Rights, and who was involved in investigating extra-judicial killings in the Turkish region, has been imprisoned in Turkey for more than four years for membership of a banned organisation. The accusations against him include trying to humiliate the Turkish state and security forces, participating in demonstrations and representing legal clients.
English PEN is extremely concerned about this case. It believes the charges against Muharrem Erbey are politically motivated, and that he is being held due to an alleged affiliation with Kurdish political parties. The organisation is calling for his immediate and unconditional release from prison, in accordance with his right to freedom of expression and association, as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human and Democratic Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory.
You can help by taking any of the following actions:
For help with the above, visit English PEN’s urgent action page for Muharrem Erbey here.