Blog: Take Five With Geoff

A five-minute read roaming freely around the world of libraries, present and past, with Geoff Allen, Activist associate consultant.

Man in clown mask at computer

Discover the truth …

… at your local library In 2020, notwithstanding the ongoing digital divide, 96% of households in the UK had some level of access to the internet, but this brings with it a danger that has never been more stark than during the frenetic events of the past year. The problem is that anyone and everyone … Read more
photo of Carcassonne castle

Once upon a time …

… there was a world before Covid-19 … a world even before austerity … a world before performance management. So before focusing on the year ahead I thought I’d start “À la recherche de temps perdu”. No, I won’t be quoting from Proust’s novels in French, although I still recall a time when they were … Read more
road junction

Library services: so, what happens next?

The Christmas holiday is nearly here but without doubt a very different Christmas wherever we may be, bringing with it a range of complicated restrictions that are hard to keep up with. This scene from a Spanish town hall square sums this up with everyone except the giant figures required to wear a face mask, … Read more

Closed access to contactless

Amidst the more modern themes, my last blog seems to have created a fair bit of interest in Alfred Cotgreave; indeed he probably shot up the Google search list for the first time since his death in 1911. But to answer last month’s question about the last UK library to abandon ‘closed access’: in Kilkenny, … Read more

COVID, clicks and Cotgreave

´Click and collect´ seems to be the Coronavirus catchphrase of the moment in libraries, though Argos claim to have introduced the concept in the year 2000. But have you spotted a certain similarity between ‘click and collect’ and the ‘closed access’ model that all UK public library services once operated? Yes ok, Victorian and Edwardian … Read more