Wednesday, 14 November 2012

"Not made here" - the origins of innovation and resistance to adoption

Are we good at recognising excellence within the Welsh library and information sector? Have we / do we implement experience from outside of Wales, and in doing so have you ever experienced resistance - the "not made here" challenge?

© Copyright Steven Haslington and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
I've been fortunate to attend a couple of events recently where professional energy and enthusiasm have seemed almost palpable.

The CILIP Cymru Wales AGM heard John Dolan (Chair, CILIP Council) talk about valuing librarians and their crucial roles in society. John also reminded us that there may be lots of relevant shared professional experience and learning between Wales and Ireland. We should be keen to open dialogue and to learn from their projects and initiatives.

A few days later I attended the first Digital Wales Forum organised by the Welsh Government. Participants came from a wide range of public, third sector, academic  and commercial organisations. We'd assembled in order to network and provide feedback to the Policy Officials on the Digital Wales Strategy. A theme that arose several times from participants was that Wales should not be fearful of implementing solutions and initiatives not developed on home soil - the "not made here" aversion. This clearly resonates with John's message of identifying organisations / nations with parallels to Wales and learning from them.

Surely a number of  home-grown initiatives should be celebrated and shared! The Welsh Information Literacy Project, the Welsh Public Library Standards and national strategy "Libraries Inspire", vibrant regional training groups, the National Library of Wales, Gathering the Jewels  might be a few of the positives to share. But please let me know of others. I don't think that we're good in publicising our successes!

Conversely, have you experienced resistance to implementing initiatives first developed outside of Wales? Is there more to this than simply trying to create "clear red water" - a political desire  in Wales to have a different set of policies and frameworks, especially when compared with England? Do we, as sharing, collaborative and well-informed professional librarians, buck this paradigm? I will be interested in hearing your experiences!

Stephen Gregory
Policy Officer (Wales) - Maternity Cover

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