May 12, 2018

If the White House Holds a Town Hall and No Librarians Show Up, Will Anyone Hear Them?

Yesterday, I was busy. So it seems were the rest of the passionate library activists and advocates that fire off ideas and brainstorm with one another on Twitter all day, every day. As Obama’s Town Hall on Twitter took off, pulling in over 65,000 questions for the President, libraries weren’t in the mix, even though the focus was to be on jobs and the economy and libraries are proving to be a vital resource for job seekers across the country. One librarian nailed it with this tweet:

BenCox83 Ben Cox
#AskObama with state and local govs hemorrhaging money, how do we tackle infrastructure issues? or pay for libraries/schools?
But the tweetup relied on density for questions to float to the top, and our invisible but vast network was not tuned into that particular moment in history. That includes me. Here’s one thing I wish I had asked, and I just tweeted it (from MillerRT) as well, just in case the White House is still looking:
#askObama How will you support the tireless librarians across the country engaged in workforce redevelopment despite deep local budget cuts?
Rebecca T. Miller About Rebecca T. Miller

Rebecca T. Miller ( is Editorial Director, Library Journal and School Library Journal.



  1. Alexia Hudson says:

    I was selected to participate in the Twitter Town Hall yesterday at The White House. I was the only librarian in attendance and The White House Digital Strategy staff along with Jack Dorsey was eager to hear my opinions in our post session. When I applied to participate in the Tweetup, I wrote about the importance of having librarians participate in the political discourse since we are champions of equitable access to information.This resonated with the Digital Strategy staff and CTO – so much so that I received the invite. I believe that our “hot button” issues have to expand beyond discussions of library budget cuts if we desire to gain access to the ears of key politicos. Libraries and librarians play a vital role in teaching and fostering the new digital literacies that are crucial to professional success (regardless of one’s career path). But, we have to trumpet that message in various means and mediums.

  2. Rebecca Miller says:

    Alexia–I saw you were in the house there–you are clearly an LJ Mover (2008) for good reason! And I completely agree that the story we tell has to be first about what libraries deliver, not how they’re hurting. So glad you were able to extend the perspective to those involved.