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And I have eaten out a lot this week – each time I have had a good experience, which is not always the case for the coeliac.

My first good experience was at Woktastic  in Birmingham. I have been there for their lovely Sushi before and asked about gluten-free soy sauce. This time when I went they had got some in (following my previous request). The first good experience.

Then on Thursday I was in London and went to one of the Bella Italia‘s in Leicester Square  as I had been told they have a gluten-free menu, and you don’t have to pre-book your meal. It’s true and the food was good too with a separate menu with plenty of choice.

Then onto Newcastle to visit my daughter, first of all a lovely meal at a local Indian restaurant – Shahira  where they were very helpful and the meal was tasty too.

The next day we had food from another continent with tapas at El Coto  recommended by a Coeliac friend of my daughter. She was right it is excellent, with  a wide range of gluten-free dishes. I only wish there were more restaurants nearer to me in Wolverhampton. As it is those of you in Durham and Newcastle are lucky.

Finally today tapas again – this time La Tasca by the millennium bridge in Newcastle. This is a company I have used before who have clearly marked menu’s.

So I have had a good trip around the world’s cuisines, with all of the experiences excellent. I only wish it was always like this – maybe it will be, I can live in hope…………

This post is inspired by a blog “A librarian’s worth around the world’. There is a statement at the end of the blog which says:

Librarians are trained professionals with advanced degrees. They make a huge contribution in their libraries and communities.

I agree with the 2nd part of the statement more than the first as there are a lot of excellent library staff  who are not professionally qualified, but who, with training, are professional in the work that they do.

The blog compares American public libraries with Amazon transactions (every day libraries circulate nearly 4 times more items than Amazon handles), and Macdonald’s buildings (12,804 compared to 122,011). Both of these companies have high profiles and many people know about what they do – this is rarely the case for public libraries and is something we all need to do something about.

There are a number of statistics which show the volume and range of work that libraries do – which also show how the cumulation of statistics can have  a wow factor. It made me think about the fact that libraries need to be promoting and SHOUTING  about the positive impact we have in what we do – even in the difficult times we are currently living through. This has been done by some people, one of whom is Liz McGettigan who manages Edinburgh Libraries in Scotland.

The list of information at the end of the blog giving an overview of what librarians do for their libraries and communities might form the basis of a series of blogs if I can get enough content for them ….

The Future Libraries Programme final report was published today. You can find it here.

The following comments are my own and are my initial thoughts about the report and the responses it has had when it was first published and promoted.

There are some strong feelings going around about the recommendations in the report that libraries should work differently along the lines of ‘but that is what we already do’. In many cases this is right – especially in the better library services, but it is not true everywhere, and it may not be true in full in every library authority.

My concern is that the high level of press coverage with the annoyance at some of the content is missing some really useful messages that strategic library managers and campaigners need to be making use of when working to keep library services we can all be proud of and want to use.

The document has many things that would be better for us to make a noise about, 2 of which are demonstrated in the following quotes:

‘Investment in a good process will achieve the best outcomes both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness for local residents and communities.’

‘Change will only happen if political leadership and professional expertise are harnessed in the same direction. ‘

This document also says that change takes time to implement effectively (the document quotes 12-18 months).

Hallelujah – but does that mean those of us who are trying to develop innovative new ways of managing libraries in a financially challenged time will be given this type of support? Lets hope so, but we need to be passing on these messages not just the frustration that the document keeps telling us to do the things some of us are already doing.

Maybe the reason that we keep being told to do things we already do is that we haven’t told enough people often about what an excellent library service actually does in words that mean something to them? The report does make reference to this:

‘For many decades, libraries have developed good practice across a range of outcomes and demonstrated innovation in partnerships and programmes to meet the needs of new communities or changing customer circumstances and choices. However this has not always been reflected in strong corporate buy-in at the level of the council executive and corporate management team. One of the key lessons from the Future Libraries Programme pilots is the need to position modernising libraries within and alongside wider transformation programmes taking place in the council.’


Just a quick post today with a Coeliac theme as I really wanted to share my good experience with this cafe. They understood my needs and had a range of food so that I had a good choice. Add to that a lovely location in the harbour with views of Shotley, Felixstowe and the ferries going to Parkeston. What more could a water loving Coeliac need.

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