Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thing 15: Advocacy for Libraries

For Thing 12 I spoke about attending a Speak Up for Libraries  conference In London which I found very helpful in putting me in touch with advocacy professionals and campaigns. Through social media I have kept up with them and been introduced to others in an organic kind of way which is very satisfying.

Although I had heard of most of the other campaigns, through further research I found out some things I didn't know:

1. Over 10 % of UK Public Libraries are under threat
2. The duty of a local council to provide a “comprehensive and efficient library service” is a legal obligation under the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums Act. The Act also prohibits charging for book loans.
Although I know about the Act (and how the words 'comprehensive and effecient' can be widely interpreted) I didn't realise that we are not allowed to charge for book loans in law!

I do like the way this charity becomes a main stream of other debates and campaigns going on, many of which are not main headlines.

This was an organisation I had not been aware of before doing Rudai 23. I like the way it looks and speaks for Europe as a whole and the campaign 'Libraries Change Lives' says it all.
The fact that Illiteracy in Europe affects 73 million adult Europeans - that is 1 out of 5 - is shocking. School and public libraries play a large role in possibilities for learning and reading for pleasure.

Although I have not directly been involved in an advocacy campaign I do collaborate, network and develop partnerships on TwitterFacebook/LinkedIn and now google+, and I do share resources (such as the Library A-Z) within and outside the library

I think it is important to keep libraries in the headlines and celebrate widely all that they offer. I do worry that they idea of using volunteers is often mooted as a way to save money yet maintain the service; to my mind it short changes the public and denies professionals a job. On balance advocacy is necessary and important, and it gladens my heart that people Care; I  have to believe that it can make a difference.

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