Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"we are all ohio"...and we need to find our voice.

Library Journal's Francine Fialkoff's July editorial "We Are All Ohio: The problems posed by our economy won't disappear" is chiefly concerned with responding to Ohio governer Strickland's at-the-time proposal to cut state support to libraries by 50 percent but at the heart is this important message: "leaders like the Ohio governor still fail to see libraries as integral to both education and economic development." I love, love, love that she outright states that libraries need to get into traditional promotion: "For that to happen, the library profession...must add the kind of marketing done by Queens Library, NY (with ads on buses), and Columbus Metropolitan (with bookmobiles as rolling billboards) to our advocacy efforts. We can all learn from the fierce response of Ohio librarians to mobilize citizens via their blogs, tweets, and web sites. Those sites shout SAVE OUR LIBRARY and tell citizens just what to do."
Columbus Metropolitan Bookmobile
Johnson County Public Library delivery truck designs
(more on these another time)
She warns "the problems posed by our economic distress won't go away until we convince all of America, including our politicians, that libraries are a key resource for recovery. So far, we haven't done that strongly enough." What the heck are we doing? Or rather, why the heck aren't we doing more about this? Is it that it's just not in our nature to make ourselves heard - to speak loudly without apology? Or are we apathetic? So adverse to change?

If we want to help the rest of the nation understand the value of the public library, WE are going to have to speak. It would be foolish to expect anyone else to come to our rescue and who better to speak about our value than the library community? It seems to me every other field has recognized that marketing is essential to their organizations' well-being. It's time for libraries and librarians to leave the stacks and find a voice.

Read the full July 09 Library Journal editorial here.

"We Are All Ohio: The problems posed by our economy won’t disappear"
Editorial by Francie Fialkoff
Library Journal July 2009 Vol 134 No 12

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