I attended the Alan Gibbons conference at the weekend with a stand for the Federation. As a Federation it was great to be able to support the work that Alan is doing for the whole library sector. It was also great to see so many people passionate about the causes attend. The conference itself was full of heartfelt stories about the system failing but also about hope of what can be achieved. I am a school librarian myself so Alan's work is something that is very important to me as an individual, but also what Alan is calling for and what the campaign is trying to achieve as affects the work that we do as a charity. A lot of our groups work with school librarians and public libraries in holding events for authors and in encouraging people to read. Libraries are the place where we hold strong links through the country to help complete our own aims and a destruction of these and a de-professionalisation of the role of libraries can only have a bad effect on what we are trying to achieve and make our job a lot harder.
From the conference a lot of things sprang to my mind about ways in which there might be something we can do but one of the most upsetting things was the average age of the people that were in attendance. This is by no means a mark against anyone that there was there and as librarianship as a profession but if all this great work that is going on does manage to achieve something who is going to be taking this on in the future when the majority of the profession is no longer around? Unfortunately as a profession librarianship isn't seen any more as a career, now whether this is because of the way the job has steadily been deprofessionalised over the years, or the stigmas that surround librarians or any other issues. If you want to study to become a librarian there are very few places where you can do this. Only really Aberystwyth can offer this and that is a crying shame for the profession.
I hope that from the work that Alan is doing one of the factors that comes out of it is the work that can be done by a librarian - that it isn't just shelve stacking and not something that might be a career. We need more people wanting to become librarians and we need more people of a younger age to decide to take it up as well otherwise all the hardwork that is going on at the moment through campaigns such as Alan's will be lost.