TOP library professionals are gathering in Newcastle today for a conference hosted by the city council.
It is the first time the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (Cilip) has held its annual general meeting outside London and the trip north has been styled the Cilip Big Day.
Library services across the country have been hit by cutbacks in recent years with closures causing outrage in some places.
But Newcastle has striven to retain a comprehensive service and in 2009 opened the new City Library, which is where the 160 Cilip members will be greeted this morning by Coun Ged Bell, deputy cabinet member for culture and leisure.
Penny Wilkinson, chief executive of the Northern Rock Foundation, will talk this morning about the challenges facing leaders in the Big Society in the North East.
The conference will also be addressed by Lord Shipley, former leader of Newcastle City Council and a member of the all-party parliamentary group for libraries.
The conference will also hear from Cilip president Phil Bradley and Mark Taylor of the Society of Chief Librarians. Today’s event has been organised with Cilip’s North East branch whose chairman, Colin Raistrick, said: “The North East library and information professional community has a very strong track record in working in collaboration to delivery first class services and projects.”
Tony Durcan, of the city council, said: “We are really delighted to host Cilip’s Big Day and welcome Cilip members from across the country to Newcastle and its City Library.
“We have a rich and enduring tradition of libraries of all sorts in Newcastle and we’ll do our best to showcase them.”