It Takes a Library: It is Time to Change the Tone of the Conversation About the Future of Libraries #ittakesalibrary
Last night Emily Lloyd tweeted
— Emily Lloyd (@PoesyGalore) June 6, 2013
YES THIS PLEASE! It is past time to change the tone of the conversation around the future of libraries. Nina McHale wrote
I hope that in five years, the person next to one of us on a flight won’t say, “Do we need libraries, since everything is online?” They’ll get, instinctively, the inherent value of not just libraries, but LIBRARIANS to society.
Let’s not wait five years. Let’s start working to make that happen today. One of the things we can do is change the tone around the discussion of the future of libraries. How you frame your discussion matters and if librarians keep talking about how libraries need to be saved is it any wonder that our patrons and society believe we’re dying? We are basically telling them we are! So stop! Stop right now!
Instead we need to start framing the conversation like the powerful partners we are! Let’s make this hashtag happen! It is much more positive and affirmative than the save libraries rhetoric. I talked about this when I wrote Libraries are Powerful Partners last year.
we can show others (non librarians) how attractive libraries are as partners. We are the place where all literacies meet
I talked about it during the closing keynote at TechNet last year (sorry no slides) – walk into that room like you own it. When you introduce yourself as a librarian said it with pride, with conviction, because you bring something to the table. We have something to offer everyone.
David Lankes said it best in It is Time to Stop Trying to Save Libraries
Playing the role of the poor little library is not endearing, it is, frankly, embarrassing. Even when there is a financial crisis, or even when the community has a crisis of confidence, we should ask for support based on a track record of service and support. Run on your record not the promise to do better (or worse more of the same) in the future.
Let us also pledge that “Hi, I’m a librarian” doesn’t sound like an introduction at a 12 step meeting, but instead rings like a declaration of pride akin to “I’m the Goddamn Batman!”
I believe the future of libraries is bright. I believe that libraries improve society. I believe that libraries are key to positive social transformation. I believe that librarians are facilitators of knowledge. I believe that librarians are the most important assets of any library. It is in my demonstration of these beliefs that I help ensure the future of libraries and librarians. I don’t need to save libraries. Libraries have survived for over 3,000 years. Libraries have survived famine, plagues, prejudice, censorship, and anti-intellectualism well before either of us came along. I don’t need to save libraries, I need to help transform them. The test of that transformation is not in a building, or a collection, or a service, or even the librarians; it is in the achievements of the community.
So let’s stop talking about how libraries need saving and start talking about how libraries are powerful partners in their communities. It takes a library.
P.S. Thanks Emily
- We’re barely treading water, what will keep us from drowning?
- Aspen Institute Announces Dialogue on Public Libraries
- What Do You Think Libraries Will Look Like in 2015?