Having introduced myself, I’ve been very quiet! The problem is – where to start?
I thought it would be good to follow on from Ken’s posting about the role of librarians in a world of austerity by looking briefly at some issues here in the UK.
As you’ll know, August saw riots across the UK, and, whilst the analysis of the reasons rolls on (with many a political twist!), a number of issues is coming to the fore, including:
- The growth in inequality – according to The Equality Trust: “UK income inequality increased by 32% between 1960 and 2005. During the same period, it increased by 23% in the USA, and in Sweden decreased by 12%.”
- The reality of life for some young people at ‘street-level’ where, according to Camila Batmanghelidjh, “large groups of young adults [are] creating their own parallel antisocial communities with different rules”
- “Young people who got involved in August’s riots were more likely to be poor and have special educational needs, government research on the unrest has revealed.” (Children & Young People Now, 24 Oct)
- A “Wall of Love” made up of messages posted in Peckham, south London, following recent rioting, is to be preserved at Peckham Library as a permanent display (according to children’s author Alan Gibbons’s blog)
- Bruce Castle Museum in Tottenham, north London already has an exhibition running, “Broadwater Farm Exhibition – Heroes and Homemakers” (which runs until March 2012), and are now planning a project called “Forgotten Gangs”, which will focus on giving a voice to those young people who are not in gangs, reflecting a positive image for young people in the area.
- The Museum of Liverpool is also addressing the recent riots with an interactive exhibit in the People’s Republic Gallery that will gather visitor responses to the unrest.