Monday, 31 October 2011

Diana Edmonds, Head of Libraries Division within Greenwich Leisure Ltd

David Marzella, Library Union Steward for Greenwich (and someone that I connected with whilst writing about cuts in public libraries and relating it all to the General Agreement in Trade in Services - GATS) alerted me to this important news item. He asked me if I would circulate it for him. So here it is:

News item in CILIP UDATE October 2011

" Diana Edmonds , Ast Director Culture Services Haringey leaves her post in October. Diana will be taking up a post as Head of the Libraries division with GLL , a charitable social enterprise which currently manages leisure services for more than 20 local authorities. GLL expects to become a significant provider of library services in the coming years. "

David informed me that Greenwich Leisure Ltd (GLL) was sent up some years ago, initially for the purpose of taking over and running Greenwich Leisure and have now expanded. There is little union recognition, David says.

The intention of the council it seems is to transfer Greenwich libraries over to a ‘trust’. Now, I foresaw such developments years ago now – I started writing about all this back in 2001. Libraries getting taken out of state control, being handed over to a trust, thereby paving the way for commercialisation and eventual privatisation.

Whilst writing on the GATS I referred to ‘Instant Library Ltd’, which Diana Edmonds was in charge of at the time. ‘Instant Library’ was traditionally a library recruitment agency, but then moved into other areas. As I explained Instant Library took over and ran Haringey public libraries for 3 years (after Haringey was deemed to have failed its Best Value Regime). Also, that this incident was the first time that a public library service had been taken over and run by a private company. I foresaw that this would likely be the start of more to come, and this news item clearly indicates that this is the way things are going.

Alan Wyllie in Islington
also provides more information about privatisation on his blog – see

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Some Brief Thoughts on Descartes

The topic of the great philosopher, Descartes, leads on nicely from my previous blog.

Now, 'The Wise Man and the Foolish Man' - as I said, this was a Christian chorus that I used to sing as a child at church.

So, what was the message in this Chorus? Well, that the Wise Man aimed to lead a good life, and to follow and pursue goodness, so his house was solid. But the Foolish Man was not pursuing that, so his house fell down. (bit sexist all this 'Wise Man' and 'Foolish Man' stuff - but won't pursue that one right now!).

Now, Descartes. The only subject that all 5 of us (Glenn, Alexander, Victor and Gregory and myself) have studied so far is Philosophy and guess what - yes, we have all read and studied some Descartes. I read Descartes as part of my Prelims at UEA when I was just 18 years old.

Now, Descartes has often been called 'the father of modern philosophy' - so he has to be taken seriously, does he not.

All of us (apart from Victor) have also all read Descartes 'The Meditations' but the other day, our youngest son, Gregory, decided to re-read it, and persuaded me to re-read it (which I am currently still reading). I have also just read Descartes 'Discourse on the Method of Properly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking the Truth in the Sciences'.

I will probably write more about all this later, but for now, I just wanted to draw attention to why Descartes argues for the existence of God - as this leads on nicely from 'The Wise Man' and his pursuit of goodness.

Descartes starts by doubting everything and then famously says, of course:

"I think, therefore I am."

However, he points out in Discourse that " was a greater perfection to know than to doubt..." (p.55 in Penguin edition, 1968) and that the fact that he doubted his existence at all, showed that he was imperfect.

And yet, he has some notion of perfection and he says:

"...I decided to inquire whence I had learned to think of some thing more perfect than myself; and I clearly recognised that this must have been from some nature which was in fact more perfect." (p. 55)

So, the idea of perfection:

"...must have been put into me by a being whose nature was truly more perfect than mine and which even had in itself all the perfections of which I could have any idea, that is to say, in a single word, which was God." (p.55)

Now, I am someone that rejected religion many years ago, but various circumstances and changes in ones life and around one lead one to continually think and re-evaluate. I seek the truth, knowledge and wisdom - as Descartes did. And within this, my aim is also to make some break-throughs in my own thinking and writing.

So, we ponder and we think on.

But at this point I would once again, like to give great praise and credit to these great philosophers, who help us to get away from the rubbish and to think clearly and coherently. I do not know how some people manage to get by in life without reading and thinking about some of these great philosophers. But there you go.

Over the last couple of years or so, I have been really influenced, helped and inspired by 4 great philosophers, in particular - Marx (as always), Wittgenstein, Sartre and now Descartes.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

Sometimes, these days, I find myself reflecting on various people's behaviour and having these words (see below) ringing in my ears. Now, these are the words to a Children's Christian Chorus that I used to sing at church, as a child - and we used to put actions with it all as well. As a child I just sang it and enjoyed it, but suddenly I realise just how poignant these words can be.

So, here it is:

The Wise Man and the Foolish Man

The Foolish Man built his house upon the sand,
The Foolish Man built his house upon the sand,
The Foolish Man built his house upon the sand,
And the rains came tumbling down.

The rain came down and the floods came up,
The rain came down and the floods came up,
The rain came down and the floods came up,
And the house on the sands fell down.

The Wise Man built his house upon the rock,
The Wise Man built his house upon the rock,
The Wise Man built his house upon the rock,
And the rains came tumbling down.

The rain came down and the floods came up,
The rain came down and the floods came up,
The rain came down and the floods came up,
And the house on the rock stood firm.

10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women

Tina Sans, from 'Online Degrees' emailed me about my 'Serendipitous Moments' blog and wondered whether I would be interested in including an item about an article that they posted on my blog.

The artile is entitled “10 Most Lucrative Industries for Women”. The message in the article is certainly not something that I agree with - that women have it all made today, that they have broken through the glass ceiling etc. However, I thought it might raise some eyebrows and some level of interest, so decided to blog it. So, here is the link:

Saturday, 15 October 2011




Discover the Writer within You – by taking part in our new CREATIVE WRITING Workshops!

Tuesdays, 4.00-6.00pm [11+] from 29th November 2011

Do you have a passion for writing, telling and sharing stories?

Have you ever wanted to be an author?

If so, then take part in this FREE Workshop to start your creative journey, whilst also improving your IT and literacy skills.

Novels, poetry, TV scripts, film scripts, plays, short stories or even comic books.

Set the stories of your imagination free!

IDEA: Library Learning Information

Idea Store
Chrisp Street
1 Vesey Path
East India Dock Road
E14 6BT
Tel: 0207 364 1506

Saturday, 8 October 2011




Thursday 13th October 2011

10.-00am - 12 noon

Looking to find your great grandmother?

Come to our workshop and use our free online Ancestry Library Edition to be able to trace your roots and find other family members!


Idea Store Chrisp Street

1 Vesey Path, East India Dock Road

London, E14 6BT

Tel; 020 7364 4332

Idea: Library Learning Information