The importance of library advocates

Hello fair readers!

An article on Forbes.com has me thinking quite a bit about the importance of creating a sense of pride and advocacy with our patrons. The article is called “Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google” and here is the important part.

It is not written by a librarian and it is not being published in a library or education related journal.

I’m not denying the validity of writing to ourselves. Research and data that proves the need for keeping libraries and librarians around can provide mad firepower when it comes to funding. I think we could also argue that sometimes we have to convince even ourselves that we have a purpose. (or sometimes we just need to keep or reach tenure, ahem) But in the grand scheme of things, can librarians truly be our own advocates? And are we really reaching the people we need to reach when these studies are published in our own journals?

No. No we are not. I believe they call that “preaching to the converted”. Most of us know already that we are needed and I’m not talking about just being concerned about our job security.

I’m talking about the giant jump in circulation statistics and the simple numbers of how many people are entering our libraries and using our services. These  are the day to day reminders of how very important we are and how very important it is to fight for our survival.

But when I go to a major news website and see a screenie like this…

Check out the Top Rated section.

Then that means to me that someone got to him. Someone got to Mark Moran and instilled a sense of not just pride but responsibility for libraries in him. Some library or librarian made this CEO feel strong enough that he sat down and wrote in our defense.

The ALA has a great guide on how to create an advocacy network here. But don’t forget that every good exchange you have with a patron…every time you give someone great service and help them find what they need…you are creating a sense of advocacy in someone.  And that, fair readers, does so much to promote, to advocate, to save our libraries.

I’ll see you on the flipside, fair readers. And don’t forget to share…

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3 responses to “The importance of library advocates

  1. Pingback: A great post on library advocates « The Information Activist Librarian

  2. Leah, no one got to me, and everyone got to me. I created Dulcinea Media – publisher of findingDulcinea and SweetSearch – three years ago to teach, and show, Internet users how to find credible and comprehensive information online. Although my research then and now tells me that very few Internet users know how to find and evaluate the information they need, I’ve also concluded that most adults either don’t know this or aren’t willing to do anything about it (other than hoping Google or Wikipedia will magically produce an answer to their question), and the education sector has always generated our most loyal users. So we began to focus our content and outreach on education a year ago. I quickly learned that, while some teachers were doing remarkable things in their classrooms with the Internet, most were overburdened and benefited immensely from the assistance of trained media specialists who helped them find great content to share with students, and innovative tools for creating and sharing content. We attended AASL and got to know hundreds of school librarians through social media, and we’ve been inspired by the great work so many of them are doing. We are determined to fulfill our mission, which is to provide content and tools that help educators teach students to use the Web effectively, and we know that teacher librarians and media specialists are both our best audience and a critical part of helping the education system evolve to teach students the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century. And thus it angered me when I learned that some grossly ignorant school districts were planning to cut librarians from the budget, and for several months now, I’ve blogged and written to newspapers and school boards across the country to explain the critical role that librarians play. The Forbes article reflected the culmination of all these efforts.

    Regards,

    Mark Moran

  3. Mark – thank you so much for commenting! What an honor. 🙂 I would like to thank you for such a wonderful article and for continuing the conversation here on La de da. It is such an important topic.

    -Leah

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