I received a lovely email from Donna, who thanked me for posting about libraries and offered a few opinions on the subject of library advocacy. Donna graciously allowed me to share:
As the public relations person at a very busy library (population about 25,000; 2008 circulation 539,577; member of consortium of 75 public libraries), myself and director have been making every extra effort to tell our mayor and council, borough administrator and residents themselves about the importance and value of their public library. We meet with them, write them letters, allow them to experience how busy the library is, and write newsletters and newspaper articles. (Yay, Donna! ~ MB)
I am also a member of many listservs where local and regional library staffers share. I have to say that the most frustrating email messages that I receive are from those that send an link to an article or newscast with the message – “I hope our town officials read or saw this”. Why should this town official be reading about? Why are these librarians not standing on the rooftops shouting about how valuable the service they give to the community? Why are they not showing their town officials that – yes, their very own library – is very busy. Yes, their very own library is very similar to those written about or talked about in the newsclips.
Why are librarians so unable to promote themselves? They expect everyone else to promote them for them. Librarians need to be proactive!!
I couldn’t have said it better, myself! As I said in my reply, having come from a business background, watching librarians attempt to promote themselves can sometimes be painful.
I applaud Donna and the director of the Paramus Public Library for getting out there and being proactive. As the economic times worsen and our libraries get busier, this is a message everyone needs to take to heart.
Get out there.