On Being a Librarian

Trends, Achievements, and Perspectives

Thing 16: Talk about Your Library

We have the chance to talk about our libraries every day.  We can direct the neighbour to resources at the library when having one of those over-the-fence conversations about rose hybrids.  At the grocery store, we might find ourselves in a conversation with another about local produce with another shopper and comment that a DVD about the 100-mile diet is at the library.  The possibilities are frequent, but we seem to overlook them.

What is a library advocate?

To advocate is to support and promote your library encouraging others to use it, the resources and services offered, and to ultimately become a champion of your library.

We have the opportunity to advocate for our library in every interaction with faculty, students, and the community.  To be an advocate extends beyond being resourceful, pleasant, and helpful at work.

Why advocate?

Advocating can take many forms and provide rewarding options for a professional librarian within the context of professional development opportunities.  Issues and opportunities where advocacy can occur include ideas, such as:

  • serving students and faculty both inside and outside the library fostering informed interconnectedness and professional relationships
  • communicating a shift in service model, relocation of materials, introduction of new services, etc.
  • providing resources to strategically solve an information need
  • the role of librarians in the future of information access and intellectual freedoms
  • positioning the library as a community information distribution centre

Here in Canada there are many associations within which a librarian can contribute to advocacy, such as:

Advocacy isn’t romantic, high-profile, nor perceived as exciting.  It gets little press and is pushed off our radar as we develop our careers.  Let’s all take some time and promote our libraries in some small way every day.  I  bet we would make a huge collective difference.

Recent events in Toronto brought advocacy to new heights.  The City was about to cut funding for the library when the community rallied in support of the public library.  The results were resoundingly positive.  Project Rescue was formed and continues to promote Toronto’s public libraries through various programs, such as:

Take a few minutes to watch these videos where librarians and others earnestly and professionally advocate for their libraries.

Go on.  Talk about your library.  With anyone.  With everyone.

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This entry was posted on 10/24/2011 by in Professional Development and tagged .
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