Thing 16 – advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published…
It IS unfortunate the These Economic Times have necessitated a push, a rise in advocacy. In Australia we have been less affected by the GFC etc, but libraries can be seen as soft targets – so there is always time and room for advocacy. I have followed quite a few campaigns, both in the UK and in the US to save libraries from closure or radical budget cuts.
ALIA – my professional association has advocacy information, and the latest public campaign is taking place in the state of Queensland, where the ‘dumb idea’ campaign is being waged against the Queensland government (a newly elected government) that is closing some government libraries.
What I think is interesting (and I am not involved in public libraries really, but I have read about) is that public libraries are so incredibly important in a community and I think some of the campaigns and studies have been quite successful in showing this. Studies such as ‘Enriching communities: the value of public libraries in NSW’ are really important publications. This two page summary of some Victorian research is also really useful; ‘Dollars, sense and public libraries‘.
Traditionally libraries are not good at advocacy, but it is a necessary and vital skill – to be able to articulate and promote and advocate for your library service.
I was recently involved in a ‘Value of Libraries Symposium’ (was on the planning group) held in my local area. A great day, but in some ways we are left with – what now – who will take this further? Where do we go from here?
And yes…a blog is a great way of keeping record of all of your involvement – in whatever you do.