Category Archives: News

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.

The European Social Forum is coming to Malmö, Sweden!

From September 17th to 21st 2008 the European Social Forum (ESF) is being held in Malmö, in the south of Sweden. More than 20 000 people are expected to participate in the forum, which is a meeting place for social movements in Europe. During five days seminars and workshops will be mixed with culture, music, activism and demonstrations. (more…)

Forthcoming UK Agency Staff Bill

With increasing use of agency staff in libraries, education and other sectors, there is a need to regulate and establish rights for agency employees. If you are in the UK you can use this form to petition local MPs to support an agency workers bill on 22/02. (more…)

UK Government approves 14 firms to help the NHS

This week, the UK government approved the use of 14 private firms to work within the NHS, these include BUPA, AXA and other US health care companies (announced by the Labour health minister Ivan Lewis). Many commentators feel this represents a further step towards privatisation of the UK health services and transformation from a public service to a non-tax funded and profit-based system. (more…)

St. Athan Military Academy (Wales)

A first meeting has taken place of people and groups opposed to plans to build a huge, privately-run military academy at St Athan near Cardiff. This vast, privately-owned training school will be run by a consortium ‘Metrix’, with partners including arms manufacturers Raytheon and the Open University. More information and how to get involved in the campaign here: (more…)

West Virginia Labor History Association Votes Unanimously to Support Preservation of Blair Mountain at Press Conference

Charleston, WV April 24, 2007] The West Virginia Labor History Association voted unanimously on Saturday, April 21, 2007 at its monthly board meeting to support the preservation of the Blair Mountain battle site. There will be a press conference in support of the nomination at noon on May 1 in the lower rotunda of the State Capitol. Members of WVLHA will attent the press conference in support of preserving Blair Mountain, the site of one of America’s greatest labor events. Between August 25 and September 4, 1921 more than 10,000 armed coal miners marched to Blair Mountain to fight for their union and their lives. Last year the National Trust for Historic Preservation listed Blair Mountain as one of the most endangered historic sites in America. Read More…

Information for Social Change Polices

Information for Social Change has undertaken a review of policies and procedures, a process which reflects the formalisation of ISC as a voluntary led, progressive and collective-based organisation. The new policies and procedures are intended to define the aims and objectives of ISC as an activist organisation and as a periodical, but also to outline the means through which ISC undertakes its stated aims to reflect and comment on the broad range of social, cultural and economic issues in the context of information, education and related spheres of activity. The policy document also defines the submission and publication process for contributions to the ISC journal and Web site, ensuring the mechanisms and procedures of ISC are transparent to ISC members, contributors and general users. (more…)

Exhibition Reviews by John Pateman

Fallen Angel: The Political Cartoons of the Daily Worker Cartoonist Gabriel I can thoroughly recommend this exhibition of cartoons by Jimmy Friel which is on display at the Political Cartoon Gallery in Store Street, London, until 28 April 2007. The gallery is directly opposite the London HQ of CILIP. But there any similarities end…. Read More (more…)

Library of Congress to Outsource Auxiliary Cataloging Functions

Washington, D.C., March 30, 2007 – The Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access Directorate of the United States Library of Congress this morning announced a new initiative for its cataloging workflow. A pilot program — expected to launch by late spring — will involve outsourcing several resource description operations to Mountain View, California-based Google. (more…)


Painswick library in the Cotswolds, is under threat of closure. Philip Booth, Green Party Stroud District Councillor, Gloucstershire has been drawing attention to this on his blog, ‘Ruscombe Green’, and relates it to Ruth Rikowski’s work. (more…)

Knowledge Management: Social, Cultural and Theoretical Perspectives Edited by Ruth Rikowski

This book includes contributions from a variety of academics and professionals, looking at KM from different perspectives. The book is divided into 4 parts: Social, Economic, Political and Philosophical Perspectives; Practical Perspectives; Cultural Perspectives and Theoretical Perspectives. Both Ruth Rikowski and Paul Catherall have contributed chapters to this new book (also edited by Ruth), Ruth’s chapters include: Leadership in the knowledge revolution: an Open Marxist theoretical perspective and analysis. Knowledge management: internal, external and social cultures. An Open Marxist theoretical analysis of knowledge management within and across cultures. Knowledge management: an Open Marxist theoretical perspective and analysis. (more…)

Two Cheers for Inclusion

John Pateman’s article ‘Two Cheers for Inclusion’ has been published in the 20th anniversary edition of the Public Library Journal (Vol. 21, No.4, 1986-2006). In this article John looks back at all the articles which he has written for PLJ over the past 20 years. Some common themes emerge – social class, internationalism and social exclusion. John concludes that, while there has been some progress with regard to public libraries tackling social exclusion, he can still only give them ‘Two Cheers for Inclusion’.

Blackboard Sues Rival Provider of Course-Management Software, Alleging Patent Infringement

The e-learning scene is currently reeling from recent legal action taken by e-learning software company and market leader, Blackboard on its competitor, Desire2Learn. Blackboard has been awarded a patent on around 50 features of e-learning which are apparently unique to the Blakboard system, some commentators beleive this will undermine the development of new learning systems and threaten popular open source systems such as Moodle which offer an alternative to commercial systems such as Blackboard. Read Full Article.