I attended a webinar presented by ALA’s Washington office yesterday. The presenter was advocacy “guru” Stephanie Vance, and she shared some excellent ways library staff can not only prepare for Library Legislative Day on May 13 and 14, but also prepare for other other advocacy efforts at any level of government.
I’ll outline here some of the highlights of the webinar. Vance covered five planning steps for National Legislative Day.
Step #1: create a one-pager about your library
Tuesday is National Library Workers Day!
You’ll get no argument from me on the the premise of this campaign: “Libraries Work Because We Do.” I love my library and all my library friends and invite you to pat your co-workers, friends, employees, or (even yourself) on the back today.
If you have an library appreciation /awareness event in the works, we’d love to hear about it. If you don’t, well, never fear; ALA/APA has your back with some quick celebration ideas. While you are on their site, take a gander at the map of library stars. You may find someone you know.
Finally, don’t forget to share your plans for this and other events you are running during National Library Week! We’d love it if you’d share your thoughts in the blog or our Library Week discussion in the WebJunction community forums.
As I’m sure all of you are aware, next week is the 50th anniversary National Library Week. In addition to the personal, local events that many of you are planning (and please let us know about them in the comments!), ALA and others in our community have delivered a bookmobile full of celebratory happenings for the week.
I’ll highlight specific resources and activities later in the post, but right now I’ve got to tell you how excited I am about the wacky-good promotional Library Week videos you can download from the AL Focus site.
These videos turn normally stale library stats (“Reference librarians in the nation’s public and academic libraries answer more than 7.2 million questions weekly“) on their ear. I mean, where else are you going to find a video campaign that combines romance novels and vending machines, brings literature and Johnny Depp to the McDonalds Drive-in window, stumps viewers with the really important reference questions, and takes them inside a high-stakes game of ID-card Go Fish.Genius! (more…)
We’re on the cusp of the second annual YALSA Teen Tech week. The program encourages teens to “tune-in” and use their local library as the place they can become competent and ethical users of technologies ranging from research databases to DVD authoring to music downloads.
We’ve started a discussion thread to help the WJ community to share creative ideas for activities, promotions, and events. Come to think of it, this is also a great place for procrastinators (we know who we are) to harvest compelling, last-minute programming ideas.
As part of next week’s event, YALSA is conducting a two-phase survey to learn more about how teens access and use technology, including social networking sites; one bonus outcome of the week should mean a better understanding of teen technology habits and skills for all of us.
As always, we encourage you to post your ideas and experience (and images!) here and in the forums. Here are a few resources to get you started:
We look forward to hearing about your plans and experiences!
Just a reminder that the state of Wyoming and everyday library advocacy will be the main attraction of our Rural In-Focus Webinar tomorrow at 11 am Pacific/ 1 pm Central. Please join us for this free, one-hour session on how you can turn your customer service policy, internal and external communication plans, and networking agenda into advocacy tools that work for you everyday of the year.
One of the best things about my job is that I have my own librarian. Ok, she’s not ‘my’ librarian. Her name is Tam and she’s more OCLC’s librarian. But it still feels like I have my own personal librarian because I email her questions and she just, like, answers them. Rright away. It’s amazing! I’m such a happy patron right now.
Anyway, one of the projects I’m working on (with my colleagues here at the WJ, including ‘my’ librarian) is gathering some basic info about librarians in the US. Who are we? What do we do? Where do we work? How many of us are there? Frankly, though I don’t often come right out and say it, I’m generally not all that interested in numbers, but this project proved to be pretty interesting and so I thought I’d share some of our findings:
Two ideas emerge from these stats. First, if the bulk of retiring librarians is at the director level, who will the profession promote to those positions? Even if the post-MLIS force keeps up with retirees, will they be ready for the positions they’re asked to fill? Second, if MLIS students are increasingly moving into non-traditional environments instead of taking traditional positions in public, school, academic or other types of libraries, where does that leave us institutionally?
I’d like to append to these facts and figures with an impression that has developed for me through conversation with colleagues over the last several years. Some of my friends in LibraryLand, many of whom are extremely innovative, ambitious, and eager to contribute to the profession, are often struggling in their library jobs. They seem unsupported by their institutions, sometimes specifically by their library directors and senior colleagues. Age, along with tech savvy or advocacy and a shift towards community-based authority or expertise layers in additional divisive factors, sometimes widening the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’. I have personally benefited from relationships and mentoring with elders in our field – I won’t call them traditionalists! – as well as from very strong institutional support from my employer for my work. But I’m wondering if there’s a way to shift our culture as a profession so that my experiences along these lines are more of a norm, rather than an exception.
And so, how can we bridge these gaps in our daily work? Can we create inter-generational or inter-experiential dialog and (two-way) mentoring so that the library profession, and our institutions, can thrive (not just survive) in the midst of this particular change?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach this. At least two projects in the works so far! Stay tuned…
What gives? Why haven’t you seen more BlogJunction posts this week? Two words:
Well, that might be a slight over simplification, but we really have been kicking up some dust ’round WebJunction way lately, both in relation to current projects and in relation to the planning of future projects. Sweet, sweet planning, how we love you (I really mean that btw).
Have you heard any of us say lately that this is the most exciting time ever to work in/with and/or for libraries? The buzz is palpable around the office, the main WebJunction site, the Community Partner sites, and most importantly in lots of libraries all over the place, the very libraries that are the reason we exist in the first place. Sure, I sound like a cheerleader, but I promise you it is genuine and well deserved excitement.
Now, just so you know we are working hard in our many meetings to get the things you need us and want us to get accomplished actually accomplished, I offer you a bit of a visual riddle. Perhaps the riddle might soften the blow of fewer blog posts this week? Sadly, I can’t really jump out there and say the answer to the visual riddle provided below. Still, it might be fun to hear your speculations about this image. What the heck were we doing in this meeting anyway? Rest assured we do know! *snicker* Even though *we* know, it might fun to hear what you might guess. You’ll play nice with this one, right? Here’s the picture (click it for a link to a larger size if you need it):
Anyone care to speculate?
Everyone working in libraries knows that libraries are vital to their
The trick is to remind decision makers of your library’s value.
The following resources can help you tell your library’s story of
community contribution and may give you ideas for making an even
Making Cities Stronger, a recent report from the Urban Libraries Council,
outlines the four major ways libraries contribute to their communities,
as they provide:
* A physical space that contributes to a vibrant community
* Early literacy and school readiness programs
* Employment information and access to technology.
* Resources and support for small businesses
Keeping Your Community Connected, a free DVD recently released by The
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, tells the report’s story in pictures and
voices–order it for use as an advocacy piece as you talk to decision makers.
More advocacy resources on WebJunction:
George Needham is my boss’s boss. We write together on It’s All Good. And on Thursday I noticed that I was in trouble for not tooting my own horn about the whole LJ mover & shaker thing. He’s right, so here I am, saying very publicly that I am extremely honored to join the ranks of LJ’s movers & shakers for 2007. The special issue appears in March. They took my picture and everything.
I do appreciate the recognition, but I try not to get too swept up in the gold-star-gathering, as my friend Brian and I like to call it. Why am I being recognized for my work at WebJunction? Because of the work we do together as a community of library staff members, library organization partners, and even as WJ staff. I truly feel that it’s because of you that they even noticed me! Why do we do this work? To support libraries, ensuring that they’re vibrant and visible in every community. I am honored, and I should have said as much, but I do like to try and keep a lid on the size of my head…and my silence about it was an attempt to do that.
I’m reminded by George that it’s not always a good idea to keep a lid on everything — I know, I know, I know (though sometimes forget) that shameless self-promotion also raises awareness, shares ideas, and inspires collaboration. (Some call it marketing, I call it advocacy. Is there really a difference?)
In that spirit, I would also like to point out the difference we’re making with ALA, as described by John Berry at LJ. I feel very, very proud (hopefully it’s not coming before a fall!) to be included in John’s list of examples of the “revolution” we are all a part of. I said over in this job rocks that I know it gets better. Well, here we are, and there’s more to come!
Cindi Hickey is one of my most inspiring colleagues. Her recent work on WebJunction Kansas deserves a round of applause. Congrats Cindi, the site really looks fab, not to mention all the great work you’re doing to let Kansas librarians know about their new service!
But what Cindi impressed me with most recently is her new Building a Sustainable Future blog – just started to support her work with Kansas-statewide Rural Library Sustainability workshops offered in collaboration with the Gates Foundation, the State Library of Kansas, and WebJunction. Cindi even took Brendan up on his offer and posted our fancy new “join WebJunction” button on the right side bar.
Just knowing that you have a blog out there supporting the idea of building a sustainable future for libraries in Kansas makes me simply feel a bit better about (and more supported around) the challenging and sometimes overwhelming task all libraries ultimately have in this area. Looks great, Cindi! Keep up the good work.
I’m still trying to unwind from the action packed week in NOLA (this was originally posted last week, but yes, I’m still unwinding!) and have a handful of blog posts still running through my head, but I wanted to be sure to share the wealth of resources that came out of WJ’s first of two Rural Forums at an ALA conference. Some of you may be aware that each state participating in the Rural Library Sustainability Project will be provided with the funds to send three workshop participants to the annual ALA conference.
Thirty six participants and coordinators from Round 1 joined up at this year’s Rural Forum after being honored the night before at a reception hosted by Keith Michael Feils (ALA Exec Director). Both the reception and the morning-long forum were visited by numerous library glitterati including Satia Orange (Director of OLOS), Carol Barta (Chair of the ALA Committee on Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of all Kinds), Curious George Needham, and Jill Nishi from the Gates foundation.
The morning session began with Cassandra Osterloh’s great tips on making the most of a conference experience and ended with Stephanie Gerding’s expertise in Fundraising, Grants and all that Jazz. You can access all of the resources shared, including a podcast(!) of Stephanie’s presentation in the Rural Forum. I’m already very excited for next year’s participants from rounds 2&3 who will be attending ALA in DC. Thank you to the special guests and to all who support the great work of these rural librarians!
Overheard on an elevator, spoken by a white-haired, 70-something librarian:
“We just built a beautiful new library. This is our third library in my lifetime. We just keep outgrowing them.”
I wish I had a record of all the snippets of success stories that I heard throughout the PLA 2006 conference. They had a recurring theme of popular demand and appreciation for library services. The New York Public Library has started a wonderful collection of stories about how the library has affected patrons’ lives –moving testimonials of faith in the institution.
Anyone who doubts the power, vitality, and value of libraries should have attended this conference. With over 11,000 representatives of the public library world and two floors of vendors in the exhibit hall, it would be hard to dismiss the impact that libraries and library staff have on our society and our economy. Our main task now is to reshape the perceptions of libraries and to enhance our delivery of quality information and lifelong learning.