I'm usually fairly easy going, and not much gets to me. However, I'm really angry at the moment, so this is your warning; the blog will not be a nice read for some/many.
There's a petition out at the moment, "HM Government: act now to protect my statutory rights to a quality public library service" However, it would seem that most library and information professionals don't give a flying f* about it. 'What's that?' you say 'Of course librarians want to save their library services, not to mention all of the friends groups out there!' You can read more about the petition/campaign over on the CILIP site. The campaign started on December 15th, and to date the petition has 6,133 supporters.
In. a. month.
Some people seem to think that this is rather good, however, I think it's pathetic, derisory and damaging. That's about 230 people a day signing it. CILIP itself has over 13,000 members, and they will all have seen information on the campaign as it has featured heavily in Update. Let's make a wild guess here, and say that each member knows 4 people well enough to get them to sign it. That's 52,000 people, which is half way to getting the thing debated in Parliament. If each of those people who have signed it know another person and can get them to sign it, we're at a reasonable figure.
In. a. month.
But apparently not. Apparently not enough people care about their library services to give 5 minutes (or less!) to signing the petition. I apologise to the 6,132 other people who have signed this, because you're excluded. But for the rest of you - what the fuck are you doing? I've got 10,000 people following my Twitter account, and yes, a lot of those are overseas etc, but if each one who could sign the petition did, and encouraged one other person to sign it, that figure would be looking a little bit healthier.
I've taken a look at a few accounts on social media from Friends groups, other librarians, other library groups, special library groups, CILIP groups and so on. Deafening. Seriously, you wouldn't know that there's a problem, let alone that there's a petition that people could sign. Apparently most of you don't give a fuck. THAT's why I'm angry.
Of course, there are a number of reasons why people have chosen not to sign the petition. Let's take a look at a few of them.
'It's CILIP. Too little, too late'. I get that, but NOT to support a petition to save libraries because CILIP started it is about as pathetic as it gets. Yes, CILIP is late to the party in this respect, though it has done some great stuff with previous campaigns, #Savelibraries and so on. However, it IS doing something now. If you're in that camp (and I can think of at least one high profile group that is) pull your fingers out, grow up and start signing. Get more people to sign it. Not signing isn't telling CILIP what you think of them, it's telling the government that you're quite happy for them to close as many libraries as they want.
'I'm afraid that someone might see that I've put my name to it'. Doesn't work that way, and even if it did, if there are enough signatures yours is going to be lost in the mix. And to be honest, if you are too scared to sign it, then you deserve to see your library closed and your job lost.
'I don't have time'. 5 minutes or less. Doesn't wash.
'Oh, someone else can do it'. Yeah, and someone else can save your library as well. But what if they don't? What if, as seems likely at the moment, every one is passing the buck? Everyone is expecting someone else to do it, so nothing happens. Which is pretty much the case that we've got here.
In. a. month,
Maybe it's simply not reaching the number of people that it needs to. We ALL need to start sharing details on the petition more than we have, and I'll hold my hand up to this one - I've only done so a few times on Facebook and Twitter, so you're going to be seeing much more of it from me in the future. And I hope that I'll see much more of it from all of you as well! Have YOU shared it? I'm guessing probably not, since I haven't been bored witless yet by seeing references to it. Put it into your own Twitter stream, write about it in your blog, share the hell out of it on Facebook. Thrust it under the face of everyone that you know, march them over to their computer(s) and get them to sign it today. We are an information profession. We should be able to do this stuff without even thinking - it's dead easy.
Having said that, there's been high profile support from authors such as Neil Gaiman, bless his heart. And it's been mentioned in The Bookseller, and in the national press. It's not as though it's an invisible campaign.
'Bit worried about my employer finding out.' They don't need to know you signed, and besides you should be telling your boss that they bloody well need to be signing it as well. Because at this rate, your boss isn't going to be your boss much longer, they are going to be standing in front of you in the dole queue.
Can't think of many other reasons right now to be honest - but if there's a good reason why you're not prepared to sign it, do let me know in the comments, because I would love to know.
Why is it important to sign it?
If you choose not to sign it, you're covertly giving the government more permission to close libraries. They look at this petition, Vaizey, Cameron, Whittingdale and the rest of the sorry crew are going to be laughing their socks off. If all we can manage is 6,000 signatures it's basically saying that we don't care. Rather than stopping them in their tracks, it's going to be encouraging them to do even MORE to close libraries because they think they can get away with it. And you know what - they'll probably be right, because if most of you can't be bothered to get up off your backsides and even just sign a petition, you're not likely to do anything else, let's face it.
So I'm angry, and quite frankly, you should be as well. 6,000 signatures is pathetic. It's making the entire profession look like a laughing stock, and it's giving the government a green light to do whatever they want. And if you're angry, do something about it. Sign the petition. And if you've already signed it, get two more people to sign it. Ask your loved one, your siblings, your parents and your adult children to sign it. If you're cross with me, then show me just how cross you are and tweet a link to the petition. Share it on Facebook. Print copies of the details off and leave them in your staff rooms. Then next week, do it again. And again. Rinse and repeat until we get something that's not quite as pathetic as 6,133 signatures.
In. a. month.
For fucks sake.
Edited to add: Apparently my language is 'vile'. Yes, it is. It's because I'm angry, and sometimes language like that makes a very strong point. However, at least one person has it would seem decided not to sign the petition because she doesn't approve of it. I'm not entirely sure how to respond to such a pathetic and infantile approach, but will have a go. If you think my language is worse than 2 libraries closing a week, get over it. If, as it seems is the case, that you're not signing because you want to spite me for my use of language, then you're part of the problem.