https://librariestaskforce.blog.gov.uk/2016/01/04/finding-common-purpose/

Finding common purpose

I've been asked to write a regular blog post during my six months representing SCL at The Wellcome Trust. I'm into week five now and have got a new way of describing what it is I am currently trying to do: I feel very much like I am scoping out the scoping exercise.

One of my tasks during the six month secondment here at the Wellcome Trust is to scope, and during this initial period I have already made a blindingly obvious discovery. The Wellcome Trust is a large and complex organisation. Very large and very complex. The “Idiot's Guide to the Wellcome Trust” (if one were to exist) would be a heavy, thick manual. It would also be instantly out of date the day after it was printed; I appear to have arrived in the middle of a period of significant change, but my gut feeling is that this organisation is constantly changing and evolving anyway.

Opening doors

I'm being invited to open doors here. Without exception, behind each metaphorical door (there are literally no doors in this open-plan building) there is a lovely knowledgeable person who tells me lots of interesting stuff, and then shows me some more doors. I wander through one of those, and meet a lovely knowledgeable person who tells me lots of interesting stuff, and then shows me some more doors. I then go back to my desk and make some notes, and as I'm doing this someone comes by, says "Hi” and shows me their door. I promise them that I'll wander through as soon as I can. When I do, there are more doors. You get the picture. It's great though, just great in an unbelievably confusing way.

What is already coming through loud and clear is the commonality in sense of purpose: I am seeing the threads that can bind us all together.

Common purpose

Having done some basic top line research recently I tweeted the following:

"Good health makes life better" says @WellcomeTrust, "Great art and culture makes life better” says @ace_national - #libraries bridge both
Tweet from @LibrariandyW

"Good health makes life better" says @WellcomeTrust, "Great art and culture makes life better” says @ace_national - #libraries bridge both

I hope this is a useful insight, albeit with the simplicity required when dealing in 140 characters. It's a purely top line observation. Librarians instinctively know that libraries "make life better"; a person's engagement with the services libraries provide can be immensely enriching for that individual, and although people who know me will know that I am sometimes uncomfortable with exactly how libraries fit into the Arts Council agenda, there is no doubt in my mind as to the value of a library as a cultural hub and in that sense we are all here with the overarching aim of making life better.

I'm hoping that during my secondment here I will be able to tease out practical ways that Wellcome and Society of Chief Librarians can join forces to help libraries make life better.

You can follow my progress at Wellcome, as well as random thoughts on the general brilliance of libraries on twitter @LibrariandyW.

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Please note, this is a guest blog. Views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Libraries Taskforce or the DCMS.

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