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An example of librarian advocacy February 14, 2010

Posted by michaelpawlus in Uncategorized.
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Today’s post will be a short one but I just wanted to share one example of what I was referring to when I talked about marketing one’s value as a librarian.  Obviously, there are many ways to do this but one way is to get yourself published on the opinion page of a news site.  With the current cuts in budgets everywhere there has never been a better time to get out and defend our work.

For example, The Santa Rosa School Board is considering cutting 7.5 librarians positions to address budget deficits.  This led Cathy Collins to respond with this article.  However she does note that: “since our job is to help others shine, public relations and advocacy have, perhaps, not been a priority for us.”

I think advocacy does have to become a priority.  As we can see even victories like when the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics recently won funding for a new library they didn’t leave room to fund the salary of a librarian in their $1.1 million budget.  The buildings alone are not enough.  Research has shown that school librarians have a positive effect on children’s education as well as creating a greater balance between students with ample access to a vast array of resources and those with less opportunities.

With the recession, budget cuts have to be made and I am not claiming that other public services are not valuable but I am stating that library services are just as valuable.   I think, though, that they are not often perceived that way.  There has been a lot of talk lately about not wasting a crisis.  I think we need to take this opportunity to promote the value of libraries in venues outside of the library world.  With government officials everywhere looking to cut corners we need to let them know about the value we know that we provide.  Let’s follow Cathy Collins example and take our message outside of our silos and to the wider mainstream media outlets.

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