Libraries: I’m a believer! How do I make converts?

Library as a Kitchen

I recently had the absolute pleasure and privilege of being invited to share with librarians in the SLANZA Waikato/BOP area around the weighty and timely topic of library advocacy.

After being affected by fog in Christchurch and three plane rides later, I finally arrived in Hamilton at 9 o’clock at night (original arrival time was scheduled at 3.30pm! There’s a potential separate blog post on my stressful, circuitous journey, but I digress) and drove across to Tauranga to meet with the SLANZA Waikato/BOP crew the following morning.

While the weather that Saturday morning may have kept more faint-hearted souls in their beds, that is certainly not the case for intrepid librarians!  They are like the Pony Express riders of the historic Amerian West, “heroes for the much needed and dangerous service they provided for the nation” and cheerfully turned out in good numbers. (They were admirably rewarded with a stunning morning tea spread to keep their energy levels at high! Thanks, team!)

Occupational Invisibility

The workshop covered 10 key areas:

  1. Taking a look at the big picture
  2. Identifying our vision
  3. Acknowledging what we already do
  4. Planning
  5. Collaborative strategies
  6. Working with our whole community
  7. Telling our story
  8. Promotion and marketing
  9. How to gather evidence and what to do with it
  10. Tools of the trade

Ross Todd Quote

Since coming across it several years ago, I have often reflected on Lauren Cohen’s Librarian 2.0 Manifesto, which is startlingly, now more than 10 years old, and it had inspired me to want to write my own, but it never got to the top of my “to do” pile.

So, while preparing for this workshop I revisited it, along with re-reading the UNESCO and IFLA School Library Manifesto and the School Library and Learning in the Information Landscape: Guidelines for New Zealand Schools, which is now more than 15 years old. It made me realise that there has been little of significance published about advocating for school libraries and learning in more than a decade and given the rate of change in education in those dozen or so years it certainly gives pause for thought.

It also made me revisit my goal of writing my own manifesto but chose a different path and instead I incorporated the UNESCO manifesto and the NZ guidelines with my own library world view and this is what I came up with:

If you’d like more details about the advocacy workshop you can access it here:

Librarian BookAnd if you are looking for even more inspiration then you should invest in a copy of This is What A Librarian Looks Like: A Celebration of Libraries, Communities, and Access to Information by Kyle Cassidy.  It is awesome! Expect a blog post soon on this amazing book.

Thanks to the Waikato/BOP Committee for inviting me to come and share with them. They’re an awesome team, ably led by Glenys and Linda.  And thank you guys for the most precious of gifts you can give a librarian, a newly published book!

Finally, I’ll leave you with what has become a bit of a catchphrase for me in recent months as I continue to explore the intersection between libraries and learning.

Visible Learning Hattie

 

 

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You Do What? Re-working a Librarian “Career Day” Presentation

I have found Mr. Library Dude, Joe Hardenbrook to be an inspiration and at times a digital kindred spirit over the past few years, reading about ideas such as therapy dogs and postcards from the library. In this offering he shares a fantastic idea to put a different spin when communicating to people (in this case 15 year old students – one of the toughest crowds!) how good it is to be a librarian and what qualities you need to become a great one.

I love this approach and will keep this in mind the next time I get an opportunity to talk to people about what I do. It has the potential to turn that opportunity into something positive for the the deliverer as well as the recipient. Thanks for sharing Joe!

Mr. Library Dude

A group of 15-year old high school students from a nearby city have been visiting my college campus periodically since the 4th grade. They’re part of a pre-college program that prepares students to be the first in the their family to attend a four-year university.

This year, students have been focusing on careers. I was asked to give a 50-minute presentation on: My Life as a Librarian.

What???? I immediately panicked. How would I make a presentation about librarianship interesting to high schoolers? Was it even worth it to participate?

Making Connections

The quick answer: Yes, it was worth participating! I knew I wasn’t going to make mini-librarians out of anyone…nor should I even try. Plus, I’m dubious of pigeon-holing anyone into a specific career so young (says me who changed his college major three times!). What I thought was more important was:

  • Seeing how high school students perceive libraries/librarians
  • Getting that…

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