Challenge! Escape from the Echo Chamber

Its been more than a year since Ned Potter got me thinking about the echo chamber in libraryland and more importantly the need to escape it.  I’ll admit that while I’ve thought about it and wrote about I haven’t made any extreme efforts. Oh sure I have had some successes (some through no effort on my part like the Library Day in the Life Project mention in the Guardian) the only real action I’ve taken is to make an effort to follow more non-library people on Twitter and read more non-library blogs. Shame on me. Luckily Ned and others working to break out and encouraging others to do so to.

Enter Patrick Sweeney’s Great Librarian Write-Out. The premise is simple, write (and get published) an article about libraries in a non-library publication and you could win $250 (full rules and regulations) Let me applaud Patrick for offering up cold-hard cash out of his out pocket as an incentive for this project.

We need to make a concerted effort to escape the echo chamber, to make our worth known. Not with the “save libraries” rally cry but with value demonstration and engagement and we need to stop talking to each other and start talking to others.

So this is my challenge – Escape the Echo Chamber. Stretch your boundaries, your comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be through Patrick’s contest, though I strongly encourage you to submit something. It can be big like submitting an article to a non-library publication or proposing a session at a non-library conference or it can just be to start engaging with non-librarians both on and off-line. However you do it, bring your A-game, represent.

Then come back here and leave a comment, share your idea with others, make suggestions to help others make their own escape.


  1. anyone? anyone?



  2. Great post. I’m participating in a open to all blogging challenge for the month of April. The rules are simple, 26 posts for each letter of the alphabet. Since joining the challenge i’ve more then doubled my google followers, none of who are librarians, so my audience is now the interested educated public, and I’m loving sharing pieces of library land that I know non librarians are learning something from.


  3. Tom this is great idea! How did you find out about the blogging challenge?


  4. Good question Bobbi. I found it on the blog of a host (and founder) of the challenge. I was casually surfing and found it. Only found the day before the challenge began so it’s been pretty tight in coming up with blogging ideas. It’s been going for three years, first year just a few dozen people, but this year there are more then 1200 participating blogs. Part of the challenge is to visit and comment on as many of these blogs as possible, which has been fun. There are dozens of indie authors participating, book lovers, photographers, personal journal writers, crafters, a few libraries and librarians, and for me there have been some gems – blogs I know I will be following long after the challenge but have nothing to do with libraryland and the echo chamber, and I hope they are learning from me too.


  5. wow I really love this idea! I’m going to keep an eye out for something like this to participate in!


  6. A great suggestion for escaping the blogging echo chamber! #echolib


  7. RT @librarianbyday: A great suggestion for escaping the blogging echo chamber! #echolib


  8. RT @librarianbyday: A great suggestion for escaping the blogging echo chamber! #echolib


  9. RT @librarianbyday: A great suggestion for escaping the blogging echo chamber! #echolib


  10. RT @librarianbyday: A great suggestion for escaping the blogging echo chamber! #echolib


  11. I think that the Cycling for Libraries conference is escaping the echo chamber – while being an echo chamber itself.
    The participants are Librarians and heavy library issues will be in focus, but the idea is to get lot´s of media coverage and make the public aware of library issues in this rather unusual way. – I think they will succeed because it is a good story that librarians from all over the world ride their bikes to make libraries better. I am looking forward to recieving the conference at my library on their way from Copenhagen to Berlin.


  12. Jan -This is cool!
    You’re right any escape is a good escape. I even thinking move across specialties is good public -> academic -> school -> special etc.


  13. […] post outlining five steps for collaborating with faculty. And Bobbi Newman lets us know about the Great Librarian Write-Out, in which Patrick Sweeney is awarding $250 to a librarian who writes an article about libraries […]


  14. […] suggestions for escaping the echo chamber include writing or contributing to discussions about libraries in non-library spheres or marketing libraries at […]


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