Tag Archives: library advocacy

Library A to Z

Just a quick plug for the advocacy toolkit Library A to Z, created by librarians Andrew Walsh, Gary Green and illustrator Josh Filhol, which was launched yesterday.

The Library A to Z is a campaign that highlights the breadth of services, resources and facilities available from libraries, and celebrates their continued importance, value and relevance.

This summer a crowd-funding project was set up to help produce a range of promotional and advocacy materials, centred around a visual alphabet of 27 full colour illustrations. These materials include editable posters, greetings cards and a fully illustrated book. There’s a chapter in the book which I helped to write, about the importance of libraries, and you can read it here.

All of the materials including the original illustrations, are available for free download from the Library A to Z site, and most can be reproduced and re-used by anyone within the terms of the creative commons license shown on the site.

Andy even kindly made me my own P is for Political Literacy badge 😀

Screenshot 2014-11-18 11.45.29

I’m going to pop down to my local library to show it to them and see if we can make a display of some kind. If you’ve got any imaginative ideas about how to make use of the resources, leave me a comment! 🙂

Haters Gonna Hate?

One of the most important parts of library advocacy at the moment seems to be setting the record straight; explaining to people where they’ve got the wrong impression of libraries (be that because they’ve had a bad and unrepresentative experience and/or because they haven’t used a library in many years).

It happens an awful lot on news articles talking about library cuts. You can guarantee that a number of naysayers will comment with something from the List of Predictable Anti-Library Comments (catchy, I know):

These points are all wrong and/or inaccurate and have all been challenged very well by librarians, library staff and/or members of the public. It’s not exhaustive, it’s a work in progress. I might make a table of comments and responses to cut and paste from the next time they come up…

It’s been suggested that we should just ignore the naysayers and leave them to their ignorance. This is not an option! It’s really tiring to argue against all the misconceptions and misunderstandings of public libraries, but we have to. And it’s worth it. In a Times article back in August, Frank Skinner wrote about how, in his (admittedly) limited experience, libraries are out of date and awful. This caused uproar in the library community. Many people wrote to challenge his views and explain why he was wrong. One or more of them even wrote to him. And do you know, it worked! Frank changed his mind when he went to a library and saw what a lot of them are actually like these days. It might not work all the time, because some people have made their minds up and that’s it, but it’s our duty to set the record straight whenever we can. Voices for the Library aim to debunk the myths about libraries, but we can’t be everywhere all the time! Please do speak up for your services when you hear someone propagating inaccuracies. Haters ain’t necessarily gonna hate forever, and you never know, once they’re better informed, they might become great advocates of libraries themselves.

Update:  I’ll keep linking to things as I come across them.

 

One of the most important parts of library advocacy at the moment is setting the record straight; explaining to people where they’ve got the wrong impression of libraries (be that because they’ve had a bad and unrepresentative experience and/or because they haven’t used a library in many years).

It happens an awful lot on news articles talking about library cuts. You can guarantee that a number of naysayers will comment with something from the List of Predictable Anti-Library Comments (catchy, I know):

· Libraries are an irrelevant anachronism in the digital age (here and here, too)

· Cuts have to be made somewhere – libraries are not a priority and it’s better than cutting other services – if you don’t have any other suggestions, you can’t oppose library cuts (here, here, here, yawn and here too)

· Library usage is declining

· Everything’s available online now or if it isn’t, it should be

· People should use bookshops instead

· Charity shops are an adequate replacement for libraries

· Google is better than librarians/libraries

· You don’t need librarians

· Everybody has the internet these days (and that’s sufficient)

· Universities and schools have libraries, use those instead (here, too)

· I’m all right, Jack

· I don’t know anyone who uses a library or my library’s quiet when I go in it, therefore nobody uses libraries

· I didn’t like my library the last time I used it (donkeys years ago) so it must be worse now

· Libraries don’t have books in them anymore and are just cyber-cafés with crèches

· Librarians hate books and it’s all their fault

· Putting computers in libraries has killed them

· Librarians are just campaigning to save their jobs

· People stopped using libraries because they didn’t need them anymore

· Poor and/or working class people don’t read, aren’t deserving and aren’t entitled to an education so we should close libraries

These points are all wrong and/or inaccurate and have all been challenged very well by librarians, library staff and/or members of the public. It’s not exhaustive, it’s a work in progress. I might make a table of comments and responses to cut and paste from the next time they come up…

It’s been suggested that we should just ignore the naysayers and leave them to their ignorance. This is not an option! It’s really tiring to argue against all the misconceptions and misunderstandings of public libraries, but we have to. And it’s worth it. In a Times article back in August, Frank Skinner wrote about how, in his (admittedly) limited experience, libraries are out of date and awful. This caused uproar in the library community. Many people wrote to challenge his views and explain why he was wrong. One or more of them even wrote to him. And do you know, it worked! Frank changed his mind when he went to a library and saw what a lot of them are actually like these days.