advocacy

January 25, 2011 is Florida Library Snapshot Day

In Florida, we are ready for our own Snapshot Day. Other states have participated and now it's our turn.

"In 2009, almost 89 MILLION people visited Florida's public libraries compared to just over 67 million visits to the major theme parks."

The Florida Library Association is asking all Florida Libraries to collect usage statistics and take photos of what they do on January 25, 2011 (or any day during that week).
How many customers checked out books?
How many students worked on a paper?
What events occurred that day?

Photos will show on Flickr at floridalibrarysnapshotday. Don't be jealous if you see a lot of people in the photos wearing shorts in January.

Alternative Advocacy Ideas for the Library Funding Skeptics

Last week, I found an article in the New York Times entitled “In Kansas, Climate Skeptics Embrace Cleaner Energy” that got me thinking in regards to library advocacy. Specifically, this passage:

Over dinner, Wes Jackson, the president of the Land Institute, which promotes environmentally sustainable agriculture, complained to Ms. Jackson, his daughter-in-law, that even though many local farmers would suffer from climate change, few believed that it was happening or were willing to take steps to avoid it.

Why did the conversation have to be about climate change? Ms. Jackson countered. If the goal was to persuade people to reduce their use of fossil fuels, why not identify issues that motivated them instead of getting stuck on something that did not?

(Emphasis mine.)

There are some very familiar refrains that library advocacy invokes in a public awareness campaign in the last year: books and reading, computer access, education programming, assistance for the unemployed and underemployed, and lending aid in the time of the recession. But, as I would commonly see in comments on library funding news stories, what librarians find as a compelling reason does not resonate with everyone. -- Read More

Shine like a Star, Star

Over my vacation week, I caught this post "The Librarian IS the Rockstar” over on David Lee King’s blog. It’s a great post about the library looking to showcase the talents of its employees, the people who work their magic and make the programs and services possible for their community. Libraries have talented staff members who (too often) remain in the shadows, unnoticed by the public and unacknowledged by the library. So why not elevate them to where people can see and appreciate the skills, knowledge, and talent they bring to the library? -- Read More

Social Media & Library Advocacy

In the most recent New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell examines the social activism in the age of social media. If you have any interest in library advocacy, you need to go read it now. The gist of this article is that social media is excellent for reaching a multitude of people, but it lacks some of the strong bonds that turn interest into action.

The kind of activism associated with social media isn’t like this at all. The platforms of social media are built around weak ties. Twitter is a way of following (or being followed by) people you may never have met. Facebook is a tool for efficiently managing your acquaintances, for keeping up with the people you would not otherwise be able to stay in touch with. That’s why you can have a thousand “friends” on Facebook, as you never could in real life.

This is in many ways a wonderful thing. There is strength in weak ties, as the sociologist Mark Granovetter has observed. Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information. The Internet lets us exploit the power of these kinds of distant connections with marvellous efficiency. It’s terrific at the diffusion of innovation, interdisciplinary collaboration, seamlessly matching up buyers and sellers, and the logistical functions of the dating world. But weak ties seldom lead to high-risk activism. -- Read More

Vertical Advocacy in Libraryland

CC Photo by becketchai/Flickr From my readings and observations, there is a visible disconnect between library types when it comes to advocating and action. When the state budget battle was being fought in New Jersey this past year, this lack of affiliation was readily apparent. -- Read More

Let's Eat Peanut Butter

This morning, I was reading another article on Mashable when I saw this link to a story about the Old Spice marketing people making custom videos to answer fans. With a little help from the Twitterverse, people were tweeting and retweeting about getting the Old Spice guy to say a few words for libraries. Within two hours of my first tweet (and apparently while I was eating lunch), there came a reply with the video linked below.

For lack of a better phrase, there was a plethora of celebratory posts on Twitter. -- Read More

The Boiling Point

Photo by ell brown (off to Italy) [Flickr]“What is your boiling point?”

For my part of the “Social Media and Advocacy” presentation that I did at ALA annual about two weeks ago, that was the question I posed to the attendees. During the train ride down on that Friday, I had decided to change my original talk. The compromise for the New Jersey state budget had just been announced earlier in the week and the implications of funding restoration lines were just being determined. The night before I left for the conference, I felt the emotional tension of months of pushing, writing, and advocating resolve itself in the course of a few hours. Having been without word of news or developments from anyone in the know, it had been a rough time wondering what was working, what didn’t, and what was left to be done. -- Read More

Why Closing More Public Libraries Might Be The Best Thing (…Right Now)

Photo by bigoteetoe (CC)In Roman times, there was a uncommon military discipline practice called decimation. Meant as a way to punish cowardly or mutinous soldiers, it was a brutal practice in which groups of ten would draw lots; one man would be selected to be killed by the other nine men through clubbing, stoning, or only with their hands and feet. This ‘removal of a tenth’ punishment sent a clear message to the survivors: your actions (or lack of action) put you at risk for a disgraceful death. It was warning to all, a vicious lesson that the cruelty of the battlefield is nothing compared to the cruelty of your fellow countrymen. -- Read More

Analog Advocacy

I saw this TED talk a couple of days back and posted it on my Facebook account. But it stuck with me over the days since I first saw it (and not just because I’m attending TEDxNJLibraries at the end of this week). Because as much as I work with using blogs, email, Facebook and Twitter to promote my work and connect with other people of similar mindsets, this talk really made me think about how much of advocacy comes back to the personal connection. Whether it is face to face discussion, the pencil or pen written word, or a craft made with one’s own hand, there is still so much power to those objects and encounters in which time is invested. -- Read More

Library Budgets in the Perfect Storm

Just about a month ago, New Jersey Governor Christie proposed his version of the FY2011 budget. In addressing a $10 billion budget gap, he sought to make dramatic cuts to state spending. As part of this self-proclaimed new day of fiscal responsibility, he made a 74% cut to state library spending. Cut is a bit of a misnomer for this action; the better term I have heard used is a decapitation. The reduction of state library spending would result in the complete elimination of valuable library services and support programs such as intrastate inter-library loan, the Talking Book and Braille Center (formerly the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped), group purchasing contracts for internet access and databases, and the library cooperatives whose exemplary efforts provide libraries with additional savings through grant finding, tailored group contracts, and innovative pilot programs. -- Read More

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