In this day and age, with libraries forced to defend their funding either to the voters every election cycle or local municipal leaders every budget season, it is essential for Friends groups to climb the ladder of library advocacy and see themselves as citizens who stand up for their libraries. For some, this will be a natural transition; for others, it is a total redefinition of what it means to be a Friend.
When working with political campaigns for EveryLibrary, we are often asked to identify the most important digital tactic for winning campaigns and advocating for libraries. Many of the people who ask expect us to talk about best practices using Facebook or Twitter to reach the public. They are usually surprised to hear we still believe email is the absolute most important tool for digital campaigns. This is true because email is still fundamentally the key to the Internet. Your library’s biggest goal in digital and in-person strategy should be the acquisition of email addresses.
Few libraries were untouched by the economic downturn of the 2000s. As systems began to rebound, however, a challenge was to replace the perception that they were down and out with the new reality of extended hours, replenished staff, and improved services. The strongest marketers among them also focused on the stories behind those comebacks, and information about what users could expect going forward. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML), in the city of Charlotte and County of Mecklenburg, NC, was determined not just to recover but to come back stronger than ever, to make sure its customers knew it—and to give them a chance to tell their side of the story.
Over 400 librarians from across the U.S. and Canada came together at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on August 10–13 for the National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC), organized around the theme “Bridges to Inclusion.” Co-presented by the UCLA Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), this year’s conference was a jam-packed four days of learning, listening, sharing, growing, and strategic planning, providing opportunities for much-needed support and connections among librarians committed to doing diversity work.
While many libraries have come up with creative rewards for staff innovation, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Innovative Cool Awards do double duty. The monthly award, funded and run by BPL’s ten-member Board of Trustees, is an incentive for staff to develop—and promote—engaging new programs and workshops, and also a way to connect the board with staff.
On August 8 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, announced that it will provide its Analytics on Demand (AOD) service to EveryLibrary, a national nonprofit political action committee for libraries, free of charge, so that it may better analyze data about library supporters in advance of the November elections and on an ongoing basis for future campaigns.
Eric Edward Moon, who served as editor-in-chief of Library Journal for nine years (1959-1968) died on July 31 in Sarasota, FL at the age of 93. He was hugely influential in American librarianship for four decades, at LJ, as President of the American Library Association (ALA), and as chief editor at Scarecrow Press.
“We needed to change the conversation about libraries,” says Gina Millsap, CEO of Kansas’s Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library (TSCPL), the 2016 Gale/LJ Library of the Year. Millsap refers to her ongoing work with the Aspen Institute, an international leadership development nonprofit that has turned a lens toward public libraries. In October 2014, Aspen sparked a conversation about the future of libraries with its release of a report titled “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries.” TSCPL served as a case study. “The report gave us a framework and concepts to take out to the community,” Millsap tells LJ. As libraries engaged with the report, it became clear that many wanted more hands-on guidance about how to take recommendations from Rising to the Challenge and turn them into practical, achievable goals. In response, Aspen developed a new toolkit featuring 12 chapters of “ACTivities” covering topics such as “The Library as Civic Resource,” “The Library as Literacy Champion,” and “Jobs and Economic Development” to help libraries dig into the work of transformation, released in January as the “Action Guide for Re-Envisioning Your Public Library.”