British Librarianship and Information Work 2011-2015

The latest quinquennial edition of this valuable series was published earlier this year. It is edited as well as published by John Bowman, who retired in September 2008 and is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Information Studies, University College London. This publications looks at major trends and developments that face all aspects of library work in Britain. You will find in depth, expert analysis on many areas of library work in Britain, to include: prison, map and art libraries, copyright, archives and of its time a chapter on social media.

What is very apparent reading this edition was this period was a time of great change as public funding was drastically cut especially with regard to public libraries. The consequence of the ‘austerity programme’ was not only a reduction of services but of actual physical libraries. The chapter on public libraries makes depressing reading. The statistics are quite shocking, ‘The total number of public libraries in the United Kingdom at December 2015 stood at 3.917, compared with 4,482 in 2009/10’ (p.21 BLIW 2011-2015)

The chapter on Official papers written and compiled by Andrew Coburn our retiring Chair (with contributions from Parliament and National Libraries) examines, amongst other topics, the transition to publishing online for the majority of government and parliamentary publications in all devolved assemblies and parliaments. This was partly to stream line services for the end user but also driven by the need to save money in terms of publishing costs to the organisation. Consequently there was a need for a more intuitive and better coordinated portal for government publications and transactions. In the UK for example,  this was realised in 2012 with the launch of GOV.UK. A single branded site that housed government websites with a uniform approach to web page construction and searching. Scotland saw the introduction of, the public-facing site and for Scottish Government policy.  I note with interest that the editor could not find an author for a chapter on government libraries for this edition.

To find out more about the effects of austerity, technology, collection management and publishing trends from experts in the field, this is a must read edition.

British Librarianship and information work 2011-2015 / edited by John Bowman. Published by the editor via, 2017. 9781326820473. £31.50

Hannah Chandler, Bodleian Libraries Oxford