Blog: Take Five with Activist

A five-minute read roaming freely around the world of local government, culture and technology.

So what about the library post-Covid?

As we head through 2022 have you noticed that you are starting to think and talk about your life and daily activities in terms of before-Covid, during-Covid and after-Covid? Of course, it isn’t strictly accurate to say “post-Covid”, because it hasn’t gone away and may not completely for many years to come, if ever, but … Read more

In praise of local government IT

What to say to people at parties. Someone asks me what I do for a living, and I have to say that I worked for 35 years in local government IT and now I do consultancy. I see the panic in their eyes. How soon can they find they need the facilities, or their glass … Read more

A New Year Miscellany

Miscellany: “An unorganised collection or mixture of various things” (Merriam Webster), yes that feels like a reasonable description for this blog. This month my only rule is not to mention the words C—d or P——c as frankly I think we’re all thoroughly tired of that topic.  I thought about calling the blog a ‘potpourri’, but … Read more

Libraries are first and foremost about …

Books? It’s true that if you mention ‘library’, even today most people first think of a place with a lot of books. But there are libraries that don’t have any books. One of my favourites is DoSpace, which describes itself as ‘technology library’, and of course digital access to public library services everywhere continues to … Read more

Video killed the radio star?

Well I guess arguably it did for some, and the same was said of the arrival of the ‘talkies’ in the 1920s, which ended the career of not a few silent movie stars who were capable of hamming it up for the cameras, but whose diction left a lot to be desired. But perhaps the … Read more

Libraries, levelling up and laundry baskets

All the talk at the moment seems to be about ‘Levelling up’, though I’m unconvinced anyone knows exactly what the term means. Not that this has stopped the UK government renaming the DCHLG as the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in so doing causing ‘local government’ to drop off the end, much to … Read more

After Covid: what next for the library and the High Street?

As we head into autumn it’s encouraging to see that not only are the UK’s shopping areas open but that also the majority of public libraries have reopened and are offering some level of ‘normal’ service.  But the Covid-19 pandemic, which over the past year and a half has changed so much that we previously … Read more

Banana on pink background

OK, now I’ve got your attention I confess that this blog has nothing whatever to do with bananas … nor pink backgrounds! The last couple of blogs have been quite heavy, discussing whether and why libraries should reopen and focusing on the various ways they can impact on social issues, so for July and August … Read more

Why would I want to reopen the libraries?

As the UK emerged from the first Covid-19 lockdown last autumn, one English council chief executive was asked if he had reopened the libraries yet and replied, “Why would I want to reopen the libraries?” And without doubt the same question has been at least pondered, if not asked openly, in most local authorities up … Read more

This is the sign you’ve been looking for . . .

Right now leaders everywhere, not least in local government, are looking for solutions to a range of problems, many of which existed before the Covid-19 pandemic but that now have been brought into stark relief.  Social issues around health – both physical and mental – unemployment, education and training, homelessness, poverty, are not new but … Read more