Author Archives: Paul Catherall

Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries – Marx, Maslow and Management (New Book Flyer)

In Managing Cultural Change in Public Libraries, John Pateman and Joe Pateman draw on the ideas of Marx and Maslow to present an ambitious ‘analytical framework’, which, they say, can be used to create bold public-library strategies, structures, and systems. Pateman and Pateman argue for radical—but sustainable—transformations in public libraries.

Information for Social Change Issue 37 released

Issue 37 of Information for Social Change is now available, edited by Dr Paul Catherall and Martyn Lowe, including coverage of the status of progressive and radical Library activism in 2018, an obituary to the Library activist Nikolaus [Niki] Hamann, short commentary, articles dealing with challenges for E-Learning, Information Literates and other trends for education sectors, a short article on using WordPress to maintain activist Web sites and a selection of short poetry. See

Al Kagan’s Progressive Library Update 2013-17

The ‘Progressive Library Organizations Update, 2013–2017’ by Al Kagan ( outlines the current status of Library and Information groups, journals and related groups in the arena of progressive or radical libraries, this is an addendum to Kagan’s book ‘Progressive Library Organizations: A Worldwide History’. The update includes coverage of Sweden, Bibliotek i Samhälle (BiS) [Libraries in Society], outlining their work at the at the Gothenburg Book and Library Fair and international solidarity projects with Palestine and Western Sahara, Germany, AK Kritische Bibliothek (KB) [Working Group Critical Library], including coverage of their work with the Berlin Working Group on District Libraries, the German-Speaking Network of Women/Lesbian Libraries and Archives and documentation of the East German women’s movement. Kagan also outlined developments for the Austria, Arbeitskreis kritischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare (KRIBIBI) [Working Group of Critical Librarians], including their advocacy on an official government policy for libraries, work on the needs of students in writing their pre-academic essays and work to reform library education. Information for Social Change (IS) is also described in terms of a journal and blog, commenting on challenges ISC has faced in maintaining active contributions, Kagan concludes that ISC continues to offer important work in the area of progressive librarianship. Other organisations featured include the United States, Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association (SRRT) and the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG). In summary, the paper provides a valuable overview of progressive and radical Library groups and publications internationally, with Kagan having undertaken considerable effort to liaise with groups via non-English medium such as discussion boards, email and interviews, this is an important publication for the progressive library community and provides a useful addendum to Kagan’s substantive publication.

UK Conservative-LibDem Government anti-immigration campaign

The Conservative-LibDem UK government has launched  what many commentators are describing as an intimidating roadside publicity campaign to persuade illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin, the campaign features lorries with high visibility placards worded “106 ARRESTS LAST WEEK”, “GO HOME OR FACE ARREST” and similar slogans, with large graphic images associated with crime and punishment, such as handcuffs . The campaign appears to profile certain ethnic groups, with the automated answer line for the advertised phone line offering advice on deportation in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu or English (apparently limited to South Asian languages).  A twitter trend has emerged with individuals calling the telephone line offered to ask for assistance to “go home” e.g. by asking for the taxi fare from their office… As one blogger has pointed out, the ConDem campaign is a reminder of racist behaviour more common to previous decades than 2013.