Tag Archives: library advocacy

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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An Argument for More, Not Less, in Tough Times

Hello fair readers,

An annoucement today has really made me sit back and think.  Chicago Public Library is considering laying off workers and I’m sure they are not the  only ones.  What library isn’t suffering from massive budget cuts right now?  The economy is hitting its bottom, correct?

I blame you...and you...and you.

I blame you...and you...and that short one in the middle.

And  this has been going on for awhile now.  A quick Google News search pulls up many articles from the past year or so commenting on libraries during tough economic times, with headlines like: Patrons flock to libraries as the economy struggles.  The news is the same.  Patrons needs are increasing.  Meanwhile library budgets are being slashed.

This, my fair readers, is a huge mistake.

This is the first image that comes up when googling huge mistake

This is the first image that comes up when googling "huge mistake"

Libraries, in every setting, are invaluable during these times.  What has led us to this point? Ignorance and a lack of common sense or knowledge.  I’m not saying the people responsible are undereducated.  In fact many have their MBAs I’m sure.  But there is a degree and then there is knowledge.  And these can be two different things.

Libraries provide information.  They are the safety net in times of woe and in times of need.  We are here to arm citizens with knowledge and information to prevent future economic crises.

Knowledge is power...not just a cliche.

Knowledge is power...not just a cliche.

Slashing budgets, cutting corners, laying off workers, decreasing hours.  These are not the answer.  Not right now.  I am not saying that all libraries are in perfect fiscal working order.  I’m sure some need fine tuning.  But that is certainly not the case when CPL has announced it may be laying off over 100 workers, which is sure to hit every branch and every neighborhood.

And for those people who think this isn’t possible, that people will not want to continue to fund libraries in times of need.  Let us take an example, one I commonly turn to, with Kalamazoo Public Library.  As mentioned in a previous post, this library went up for a millage renewal at a time when most libraries would never want to and this millage passed on May 5, 2009.   This is a perfect example of a community that realizes it needs the library in times like these.

And they do.

So this is my argument for more, not less, when it comes to supporting our libraries in tough economic times.  This is when people need us the most.  This is our time to shine.  But in order to shine, we need our funding and staff protected and maintained.  Because we are not just the preservers of the past but also the building blocks for the future.

library addition at CSU - Dominquez Hills

library addition at CSU - Dominquez Hills

If your library is having funding issues, contact your elected representatives and let them know about the importance of this issue.

Have a great weekend fair readers.


A Vote for KPL

Hello fair readers,

(specifically those in Kalamazoo, Michigan)

Important news update.  The Kalamazoo Public Library has a millage renewal vote coming up on May 5th, this Tuesday.  For some good info and details check out this site:

http://www.vote4kpl.org/index.htm

But first…let me tell you a little about KPL.

Reference Area of KPL

Reference Area of KPL

I have worked and been in many libraries in my 26 years of living.  But I can tell you that KPL is special.  There is just something about the connection of the people who work there and the way they provide amazing resources to the citizens of Kalamazoo.  I’m talking not just book groups but free monthly legal clinics, grant writing classes, art exhibitions and this is on top of the collections of books, DVDs, specialized sections for small businesses, history buffs and local attorneys.

from KPL's flickr page.

from KPL's flickr page.

This library literally has something for everyone.  From the local artwork in the children’s department to the Westlaw terminal in the Law Library.  Kalamazoo is truly blessed to have such an amazing library at their finger tips.  The library won the Library of the Year award in 2002 but that isn’t even the half of it.  This library *is* Kalamazoo.  It embodies what is wonderful about that town: an open, educated, cultural location in which all are welcome.

Taken from kzooblue's flickr

Taken from kzooblue's flickr

So get out and do your part.  Your small part in keeping this library alive and thriving.  Get out and vote on May 5th.  I promise you will not regret it. Not one bit.

Have a lovely week fair readers.