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‘Politics’ Category

  1. Fleetwood Library – a sorry state of affairs.

    January 15, 2013 by lallyd

    It’s been a while since I updated this blog, but having just returned from a trip to my local library, I felt compelled to write this post.

    As a child the library was a frequent friend, my Mum took me regularly to South Norwood library to loan books, attend story time and go to children’s events and I loved it. Right up until becoming a (too cool for books) teenager, I enjoyed reading and as such, visiting the library. Now I know times are changing, e-books are replacing traditional paperbacks, and more people are downloading content and reading magazines and newspapers on-line than buying them or checking them out at the library, but I felt such a deep sorrow when I walked into Fleetwood library.

    Now Fleetwood has got what you’d probably describe as a ‘deprived’ population, with a high percentage of those people on the lowest incomes (pensioners, single parents, unemployed, minimum wagers) but you’d think that would be an incentive to empower and educate the local population by providing decent facilities? I’m also well aware of the cut backs happening up and down the country, and I understand that libraries are taking a big hit (I wish I had some decent data here to back up these insights) but still, when you go to a library, generally one assumes you will find books? Not at Fleetwood Library.

    It seems as though the library does a good job of catering for those who are it’s daily/weekly visitors; pensioners. Half of the first floor is taken up with books about wars, and romantic fiction and tales of seamen past, and that’s lovely, if you’re drawing a pension and saving on electricity by reading instead of watching TV (the other half coincidently¬†is the children’s section). However, when I search the library catalogue for ‘ethics’ and get no results, for ‘computing law’ and ‘IT legislation’ and get no results; alarm bells ring.

    A search for ‘trust computer’ returned but one result, a DVD entitled ‘Trust’ directed by David Schwimmer… need I say more? Following a thorough (all of 2 minutes to check 3 shelves) search of the woeful ‘Computers’ section and a cursory glance at ‘Psychology'; including such gems as ‘How to tell if you’re Psychic’ and a book on dowsing I gave up. I felt such despair for the people of Fleetwood, that all their local library can offer on computing is tips on how to use an iPod, and ‘Internet for the elderly’.

    On the flip side to the horrendous experience of trying to find a book in a library (I know!) the staff there were extremely helpful, despite being in high demand and they’ve brought themselves into the 21st century by installing self-service computers where you can check out and return books. What I’d rather they’d spent that money on though is books! Both for the library and the people who go there in search of advice, information or something more than stories about fishermen.

    The only upside to this whole experience, was allowing an old man to show me how to use the self-service machine. He looked thoroughly pleased. So much for having a degree in IT.



  2. It’s time to get hyperlocal in Blackpool.

    February 24, 2012 by lallyd

    Following on from my last couple of posts about Blackpool Youth Question Time, I’ve taken a bit more of an interest in the politics at play in Blackpool. I’m currently following both Blackpool Conservative Councillor Paul Galley and Labour Councillor Chris Maughan on Twitter as a result of the event, which is why I was a bit miffed when I realised that neither of them had tweeted about today’s budget meeting for 2012/13.

    As some of my readers will know, the setting of the budget is an important event as it dictates what money will be spent in the area, on which services and approximately when. With the council having to find savings at every turn in the current economic climate, this year’s budget is something most of us are going to be affected by one way or another and I was disappointed to realise that we weren’t being kept in the loop regarding it. In fact, the only reason I knew the budget meeting was taking place today was because I saw this tweet;

    At this point, it became alarmingly apparent that there was barely a scrap of information available about the meeting even taking place today. I dug a little further and realised that neither the council home page, or the local newspaper found the meeting to be newsworthy. How disappointing!

    Having just popped back to the council’s site, I’m pleased to see this post about the budget taking centre stage, but is it really enough? It smacks of ‘too little, too late’ to me.

    In this day and age, information availability is key to success and I feel on this occasion the council let themselves down. Not only was there a lack of transparency about this meeting taking place, but also on it’s importance and impact on Blackpool residents. What I’m really trying to say is that for whatever reason, the online coverage of the budget meeting was poor, if not non-existent and I don’t think that’s acceptable.

    There are examples all over the show of other councils doing a brilliant job of providing real-time event coverage (here, here and here), and if Blackpool Youth Question Time was anything to go by (being broadcast live on the web with live tweet commentary) it’s not like Blackpool Council lacks the resources to be able to pull off a live broadcast, or updates & tweets live from a meeting, so why didn’t they use what they had at their disposal?

    I’d really like to see better coverage of these key events in the future and I know Blackpool Council can do it, because I’ve seen it done! Perhaps this gap in quality, reliable coverage is the perfect opportunity for a hyperlocal news outlet? Here’s hoping.


  3. Blackpool Youth Question Time on YouTube.

    February 21, 2012 by lallyd

    The team behind Blackpool Youth Question Time, which I blogged about last week have posted some videos of the events on their YouTube channel. For those of you who were a bit bewildered by my last blog post on this topic, or found it too long to read, why not watch the videos below and see what to make of the event for yourselves.