November 19, 2017

Lauren Smith | Movers & Shakers 2011 – Advocates

Library Journal March 15, 2011: Lauren Smith, Mover & Shaker

Library-Saving Machine

Lauren Smith, called the “one-woman library-saving machine,” campaigned tirelessly throughout 2010 against the closure of libraries in Great Britain.

She is the driving force behind the “Save Doncaster Libraries” campaign (savedoncasterlibraries.wordpress.com) in defense of library service in what nominator Laura Woods describes as “one of the most deprived areas of the country, where libraries… are a lifeline to the local residents.”

A recent library school graduate, Smith hasn’t been able to find a librarian position amid recent widespread cuts to public services. But that hasn’t stopped her from campaigning both locally and nationally, acting as media contact for advocacy groups and contributing to their web sites. The Guardian, a national newspaper, published her piece “Doncaster Cuts Are Cultural Vandalism,” and she has been on BBC Radio. As campaign coordinator and spokesperson for Voices for the Library, a national library advocacy effort, she helped organize the February 5 Save Our Libraries Day across the UK, with over 100 events, including readings, author appearances, and more.

“Libraries really are the last community space left in many UK towns and villages,” says Smith, who has written about their crucial role in supporting and encouraging democratic engagement for her master’s dissertation. This concept has become “an absolute bedrock” of her advocacy efforts.

Smith’s education continues in the real-life arena as she writes and speaks out for Britain’s libraries. The actions of this self-described “library campaigner” are a lesson in commitment for the rest of us.

Vitals

Lauren Smith, University of Leeds, UK

CURRENT POSITION Learning & Teaching Support Assistant

DEGREE MA, Librarianship, Department of Information Studies, University of Sheffield, UK, 2010

AWARDS West Riding County Library Annenberg Prize for performance in public librarianship, 2009–10

HELPED CREATE www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk

FOLLOW @walkyouhome; laurensmith.wordpress.com

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