A surprising year

It is twelve months to the day since I left the Foundation for Conductive Education and the National Library of Conductive Education.

I felt sad and angry. Angry that the Library would no longer be a living library as there would be no-one with the time and expertise to search, find, beg for ,and add material to it. Keep it growing. As far as I know those assigned to looking after it have other responsibilities and therefore little time, if not none at all, to devote to it. Shame. The systems I put in place mean that basic services of issuing and returning items can be offered to the service users, students and staff at the Foundation. It is the only Library in Conductive Education that is open access (I know that the opening hours have been reduced to term time only by appointment) and applications for new membership not being accepted. Access is possible but not in the way it was. Shame.

Soldiering on

I felt sad as I thought that after eighteen years plus in Conductive Education I was leaving it and taking my knowledge with me. I did not think I would be able to keep up this blog, that it would be impossible without the Library around me, but I have managed it and hope to continue. A number of people have written to me with enquiries which I have responded to and the number of hits, now 10,487 as I write this, has been quite satisfying with an average of 200 a week.

Just do it

More time can now be spent on preserving the knowledge and information on Conductive Education through publishing and I am part of the Conductive Education Press publishing house. The first book, Just Do It, came out in December and sales have been steady. There are plans for several more books, so its future is looking bright and exciting.

Popular and personal support

I would like to thank again those who wrote to me a year ago saying such kind and complimentary things and also those who signed the petition.

The support of several people over the first six months helped enormously. This meant so much and encouraged me to stick with Conductive Education, determined to work for it in new (if unpaid!) ways.

An unexpected anniversary present

I started preparing this posting a week or so ago and since then I have had a surprising communication which means this extra paragraph. I received an email informing me that I had been nominated and accepted for the award of Honorary Conductor to be presented at the World Congress in Hong Kong later this year. Apparently a letter had been sent through the post in December 2009, and I had not received it, but a copy of this from Professor Schaffhauser, written on behalf of the Andras Peto Institute of Conductive Education and Conductors’ College Senate, has just arrived. Naturally this was completely unexpected and left me at sixes and sevens, as they say. Of course I was delighted to accept. I am now waiting for further information and may go to Hong Kong. I did go there as a child and have some happy, if slightly vague, memories of the trip.

It just goes to show how life can change in a very short time – and I wonder what will the next twelve month bring!

Thanks again

Over the past few weeks I have continued to receive more notes of appreciation for the National Library, its services and my contributions to them and I would like to say thank you again to all those who have taken the time and trouble to contact me. I have replied to each of you individually and hope I have not missed anyone out – if I have, please accept my apologies.

It is still my hope that the National Library of Conductive Education will become a ‘living’ library again, providing all established services and perhaps introducing a few new ones. Who knows? A new librarian, a new era, could bring fresh ideas. What is important to me is that the library goes on, carries on being an important resource for all those interested in Conductive Education.

Many of you have asked what I will do now, and all I can say is that I hope to stay in touch with the conductive world and though I am not retired in the full sense of the word, I am not ‘working’ either. So please do stay in touch and let me know how CE, and you, are in your neck of the woods.

Meanwhile I shall continue a skeleton news and information service here on Let me know if you think that there is any help that you would like from a ‘librarian without a library’!

Looking forwards

I have now officially left the Foundation for Conductive Education and am free to retire to my metaphorical rocking chair. Despite the attractions of that, I hope to do other things ( so I can avoid helping my husband on his allotment as much as possible) whilst still keeping an eye on events in the CE World.

The email contact address has been changed as you can see and I would love people to stay in touch and let me know about new centres, events, publications etc, feel free to ask for help with information and just say hello occasionally.

Thanks again to all those who have written such wonderful things and shown concern for the Library’s future. Hopefully it will have one.

What can I say?

Previous postings on this blog have been very factual, informative (I hope) and professional. This one is different. It is the hardest one I have ever written as I want to be personal and respond to events of the past few days.

Being made redundant has led to an emotional roller-coaster for me as I have bounced from sorrow to anger to regret, and had sleepless nights. But it has been made easier to bear by the very large number of emails and phone calls I have received from family, friends and colleagues of the Conductive Education world. It has been overwhelming to read such kind and flattering things, I had no idea that what I have done has been so appreciated. I had no idea that the Library was considered to be so important by others, and not just to me and those at the Foundation for Conductive Education who use it in house.

No-one is indispensable, as any politician will tell you, and neither am I. But the Library is. I hope it will be maintained, developed, and most of all, used in the future. It needs someone to take it forward now and my experience and knowledge of Conductive Education will have to be built up by another. Rony Schenker says that it is not time to say goodbye now. Due to current circumstances, however, it is time to say goodbye to an era, to this stage in the Library’s history and my contribution to it. Worldwide financial difficulties have led to hard decisions, but I think this was the wrong one.

Words cannot convey how much the good opinions voiced openly by my colleagues and students and library users mean to me, how much they have sweetened the pill and I would like to say thank you, thank you , thank you so very much to all those who have come out in support of the Library and its services.

I am sure that the Library will not die, just mark time for a while until something can be done to make it fully operational again.

I hope to stay in touch with the Conductive Education world and am happy for anyone to contact me. Contact details will be posted shortly.

Now is the time to say goodbye to an era

I worked for the Foundation for Conductive Education for eighteen years and was there as it grew, faltered, grew again and is now struggling to deal with the effects of the economic downturn leading to my redundancy this week.

I was employed to establish, run and maintain a Library that would hold information about Conductive Education that would be available in one place to anyone who wanted to find out more. Initially its basis was Andrew Sutton’s own collection, held in a single but overflowing filing cabinet and this has developed into a unique collection of books, manuscripts, articles, conference papers, conference proceedings, press cuttings, dissertations, videos, CDROMs, DVDs and Internet links – all about Conductive Education.

Over 2,000 of them.

Associate material on educational systems, special education, motor disorders, therapies, child development, psychology, neurology, anatomy, physiology, disability issues, disability experiences, disability fiction, history, has swelled the collection to 8 thousand items.

It has not been easy to bring all this together. There is very little published material on Conductive Education and tracking items down and obtaining copies has been quite a challenge at times, but worth it. Finances have been very limited and donations rather than purchases have been heavily relied on. Resources and equipment have also been minimal and lag far behind the big public and university libraries . There is no security system and items get ’lost’, no self-service photocopying, no self-service issuing and returning system. But its size and set up have also been one of its strengths, enabling ease of access to the material and the librarian.

This library has developed an international reputation and received many visitors not just from the UK but from all over the world, and enquiries, other requests and all sots of problems to be solved come in regularly via email and telephone. Along the way the Library has helped bolster the collections of other Conductive Education institutions around the world.

Initially I was apprehensive about taking this job on but went on to derive great pleasure and satisfaction from building this Library. In the process I learnt a lot about the conductive system, about running a library, publishing a journal and editing books, and most of all, myself. I think I can say these years have been my conductive upbringing. This has only been possible because of the support, knowledge and encouragement of Andrew Sutton. Thank you, Andrew.

But what now? All things must come to an end and my time is up. I want this Library to develop even more, continue to be a worldwide resource and help further the knowledge. At the moment there is no one to hand over to and its future is unknown.

I am sure that I will have more to say. Please continue to watch this space.