Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Public Information

A number of you must be able to visualise Whitby Visitor Centre. A generous sized single storey modern building opposite Whitby Railway Station. Clearly civic pride created it 15 years ago. It is now about to close and wears for sale signs. Hexham's own tourist information closed 1st May this year. A modern building also located like Whitby at a perfect entry point for visitors. Hexham was relocated to the Library and already as I found out today has been downsized from its original incarnation there. At Whitby the plan was to do without, but after much aggro, a smaller facility will run in the harbour office. What do you think? Is public information provision an unnecessary luxury in a modern age? I know our holiday in Whitby was coloured by what leaflets were available. Internet access where we stayed and in the Moors in general is patchy. It was obvious far less leaflets are in print than in the past whether bus timetables or Forestry walks. A case in point was with Falling Foss waterfall, the Hermitage and Littlebeck where we just had to make it up as we went along. In the end two exhausted Dutch Ladies suggested to us the pull up from Littlebeck to the Hermitage was a bit wearing. I am clear what I believe, Libraries, Careers Services, Public Transport offices, Tourist Information Services, all deal in one commodity. The professional provision of information, hard and digital. Nothing can substitute for them because very few people are REALLY REALLY digitally literate, know how to do an information search or write a literature review. I think tourism in areas without physical tourist information centres will suffer. I think every secondary school in Britain should be legally obliged to employ a qualified librarian (who could also serve feeder schools). A National Careers Service should be available to all educational establishments. Pie in the sky, but don't be surprised if without attainment suffers. R4 this morning was on about the failings of modern apprenticeships and in part one could see that those organisations that were not investing in information were letting their students down. There is another aside to this. Heritage Open Weekends are imminent. I asked in Hexham Library for the Northumberland programme, there was none. There was a Hexham leaflet but that only had part of the Allendale programme. The full Allendale programme was pinned onto the railings opposite the front door of the Library.. And did any of you go to the Tall Ships at Blyth? What was your experience like?.

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