An interview with Cilip Council candidate David McMenemy BA (Hons) MSc MCLIP FHEA

(part of a series of six for you to cut out and keep)

For the manifestos of each of the six candidates, please see this page.

David McMenemy: Candidate 2013

David McMenemy: Candidate 2013

  • Who has been your biggest inspiration? Several people really, for different reasons.  Academically, Bob Usherwood’s work is a constant inspiration.  Personally speaking, a couple of (unnamed) young peoples’ librarians I worked with who are still important to me.
  • What was the worst mistake in your career? Locking a man in the department (accidentally!) when I worked in the Mitchell Library.  He was only found when he set alarms off wandering around an empty and closed library.   
  • What was your best career move? Becoming an academic.   
  • Who’s been the best and the worst minister responsible for libraries in your lifetime? Vaizey’s inaction over library closures is unprecedented really, so he wins hands down. Although I struggle to think of any good ministers in my professional lifetime.  All operated from the same reductionist playbook of market thinking and applied it where it didn’t belong (with too little resistance from some). 
  • Where are or were you happiest? On Arran. 
  • Do you believe that e-books will entirely replace printed books? Not entirely, as we’ll never have all of the world’s knowledge digitised.  They pose major challenges and opportunities to the profession though that we should embrace. 
  • What book should every librarian/information professional read? I’ll pick two.  Michael Gorman’s “Our enduring values” and Bob Usherwood’s “Equity and excellence: why ignorance is not our heritage.”  Both advocate passionately what we as a profession exist for. 
  • What is your guiltiest pleasure? Pizza, South Park, and Viz comic. 
  • Clarkson or Clark? Would you rather watch Top Gear or Civilisation? I avoid “Top Gear” like the plague, it’s close to the worse thing the BBC does (for lots of reasons).  I’ve seen “Civilisation” on DVD – was too young to see the original airing as it was the year before I was born.   I’d rather watch anything than “Top Gear” though.   
  • What personal ambition do you still have? To have a piece accepted for Viz comic. 
  • Summarise your personality in three words Curmudgeonly, passionate, generous. 
  • Do you have any regrets about becoming a librarian/information professional? No, other than it took me so long to find my professional voice. 
  • If you weren’t a librarian/information professional what would you be doing instead? Belinda Carlisle’s personal assistant.

National UK news

“SCL welcomes seeing Libraries embedded within Arts Council England but we still hold concerns that our important work supporting IT literacy, community health outcomes and generating economic prosperity–through our work with job seekers, small businesses and lone workers–is not reflected within this.” Society of Chief Librarians response to new Arts Council England strategy.

“Given that ACE is charged with “developing and Improving” public libraries in England, many will also be disappointed that ACE’s revised strategy does not address the many issues faced by the service and the opportunities to deliver significant structural, technical, service and operational improvements as identified by the many consultancy studies commissioned by the DCMS and its strategic agencies. It can not be acceptable that ACE should simply concern itself with fitting libraries into its Arts and Culture agenda while ignoring concerns such as the increasing disparity in service provision. ACE’s responsibility to the library sector and to the millions of library users can not be met by simply adding “and Libraries” to the points in its stategic Framework.” Desmond Clarke via email

International news

  • Flying a Drone around The NY Public Library – Boltron (USA). A strangely beautiful film, with a camera drone flying in, out and around New York Public Library.
  • Guns, books and Eyman don’t mix at the library – Seattle Times (USA). On top of being forced to allow guns to be carried on the premises (as long as it’s done in a “non-threatening manner”), Seatlle libraries will soon have to allow paid signature gatherers inside.
  • Little ‘Libraires’ That Could: French Law Would Keep Amazon At Bay – NPR (France).  French Government ensures Amazon cannot discount books and cannot offer free delivery.  The French also subsidise bookshops, meaning there are 300 [sic – three hundred – Ed.] bookshops in Paris. “”We have to keep our identity because if we don’t, all the shops are exactly the same in Paris, in London, in New York, in New Delhi, everywhere.””
  • Most Borrowed Authors 2012 – Public Lending Remuneration (Eire). See also this. Children’s authors dominate, with Diary of the Wimpy Kid being top.
  • Public Libraries Make Digital Magazines Accessible to All – Media Shift (USA). “Public libraries in cities large and small already offer their patrons digital magazines free of charge. The most common source is actually digital newsstand Zinio, which offers libraries subscriptions through the library services company Recorded Books. Digital magazines are broadening libraries’ collections and deepening patrons’ interaction with library resources, helping them read media in the format they prefer, whenever and wherever.”
  • South Windsor library offers ‘goofy’ zombie-preparedness program – Reminder News (USA). “Local kids daring enough to brave the night were treated to a zombie survival kit, which came fully-equipped with a pencil (to poke out a zombie’s eye), a Chinese finger lock (to secure the zombie), a fake scar tattoo, zombie eye patches (to avoid zombies by blending in), and a paddle ball game shaped like a zombie’s hand. The kit also included some candy shaped like “body parts” just for fun.”


  • Putting the user first – UKlibchat.  7th November on Twitter. “This month’s topic is all about what Library’s can do, do do, and should do to put users at the core of the services they deliver”

UK news by authority

  • Buckinghamshire – Pubs and shops could act as libraries – Bucks Free Press. ” mobile library service operating in Bucks is set to be scaled down but the county council says it is looking at alternate ways to lend books to the public instead – which could see pub punters borrowing the latest LeCarre or Pratchett as they purchase a pint. A cost-saving revision to mobile library schedules means the service will now run three vehicles instead of four, which will visit areas once a month instead of every fortnight.”

“For example, would communities prefer a more permanent supply of books at their local pub, say, instead of a mobile library visiting for 20 minutes once a month? This is the kind of question we want communities to help us explore.” Libraries Service Delivery Manager David Jones

“schoolgirl campaigner Anna Mayer has enlisted the help of staff and pupils at her school, Lydgate Juniors, for a demonstration on November 18, opposing the closure of Broomhill Library. The 11-year-old will lead around 100 classmates on a march down Manchester Road to the library, armed with placards and banners, urging city bosses to re-think proposals.”

  • Sheffield – Photo sees Sheffield library chief reported to standards board – ITV. “Three Sheffield councillors who sit on the Labour Party’s ruling Cabinet have been reported to the Council’s standards board over controversial library claims. Cllr Harry Harpham, Cllr Mary Lea & Cllr Mazher Iqbal, the politician with responsibility for the Council’s libraries’ policy, have all been reported for their behaviour, following the release of a controversial photo. The photo shows the three councillors delivering a leaflet claiming that a library – within the ward they represent of Darnall – will “stay open”, stirring anger among library campaigners as the council are still consulting over closing 16 libraries. Opposition councillors claim that the photo demonstrates that the Council’s Cabinet is not approaching the issue with an open mind.”
  • Southend – Community libraries move a step closer – Southend Standard. “Proposals to shut two Southend libraries and hand three over to volunteers have moved a step closer, despite opposition from three-quarters of residents. Just one in five people backed plans to close Thorpedene and Friars libraries, in Shoebury, in favour of a new library in Delaware Road. They also opposed plans to cut paid staff from Westcliff, Southchurch and either Leigh or Kent Elms libraries. Despite the results of a public consultation, a cross-party group of councillors has recommended Southend Council push forward the controversial plan, designed to save £378,000 over three years.”.  Councils says they also took into account focus groups etc., local groups and Unison unimpressed.