Welcome to the first edition of ‘Northern Lights’. This newsletter will now appear regularly in your inbox every quarter. As you are no doubt aware, ‘Northern Lights’ is the successor to LIHNNK-UP, which was first published 18 years ago. Much has changed in those 18 years. The word ‘blog’ has come into everyday use and the word twitter is now a noun, as well as a verb. We hope to take advantage of these changes. In addition to this quarterly email, articles submitted to ‘Northern Lights’ will appear on the ‘LKS North Blog’ and tweeted on HCLU’s Twitter account. Thus the new format represents change, but does it represent growth? C.S. Lewis wrote that growth is a mixture of continuity and change and ‘where there is no continuity there is no growth.’1 In this sense I hope that ‘Northern Lights’ also represents continuity. LIHNNK-Up was originally intended as a forum for the sharing of information and expertise across the North-West. This is still the objective of ‘Northern Lights’, but now for the whole of the North.
This theme of continuity in collaboration also occurs in ‘The more things change the more they stay the same – a library view’ by Chris Lawton. Chris considers the extent to which modern libraries are still in essence ‘the culmination of an on-going ethos’ that dates back to the 19th Century: an ethos that places collaboration at its core. There have been plenty of examples of collaboration since 2015, when The Health Care Libraries Unit (HCLU) extended its role to support libraries across the North. Joanne Naughton in her article, ‘How far have we come as a Northern Network?’ details the changes that have taken place in the last few years.
As we find new ways to collaborate, how do we capture the knowledge that is generated? This question is the concern of two articles in this issue. In ‘FADE to grey’ Rachel Steele asks to what extent new technologies have changed the definition of ‘grey literature’. In ‘Not quite seven stories’ Joanne Naughton, Susan Smith, and Suzanne Wilson discuss their experience of attending the ‘Knowledge Mobilisation Forum’, held in Newcastle in March this year.
Libraries have always been a place for people to meet and collaborate and it is important that they remain an inviting space for our users to visit. In this issue we have two great examples of libraries developing such spaces: the Keyll Daree Library staff describe the development of their new ‘innovation hub’ and Dominic Gilroy tells us about the reopening of the Calderdale and Huddersfield Library in ‘Seasonal splendour in Halifax’.
The sharing of information and expertise also takes place through training. In ‘Did we get a grasp of CASP?’ Becky Williams, Paula Eliott, and Katie Nicholas describe their experience at the critical appraisal training course that took place in March. Joanne Naughton and Paula Eliott remind us that ‘Health Literacy Awareness Training’ is taking place in June and July. Lorna Goudie and Julie Potter in their article, ‘Customer experience’ , describe their experience at the ‘Library Assistant Study Day.’ Lorna and Julie describe how listening is at the heart of good customer service, as well as demonstrating that knowledge sharing can take place informally as well as formally.
‘Northern Lights’, in the words of Joanne Naughton, ‘is an important step in helping us to forge a Northern identity.’ It too was built on collaboration and I would like to thank the contributors and editorial board for helping to put this issue together: I hope you enjoy reading it.
Chair of the Northern Lights Editorial Group
1. C. S. Lewis (2013). “Selected Literary Essays”, p.105, Cambridge University Press