Advocacy Elevator Speeches


Elevator Speech Guide (PowerPoint file) by Dracine Hodges

Sample Elevator Speeches

Advocacy in libraries must mention the need for librarians who can work outside the hierarchy, who can blend across the organization, who can work on projects as needed, or work outside the confines of a job description.  This is the future of libraries.  Technical Services librarians are prepared for these new roles because of our expertise in problem solving, in turning plans into action and then routinizing that action, while paying attention to the details. Technical Services has undergone many changes over the last five to ten years.  Some of these include the shift from print to electronic materials, first for journals and now for books; the move to more outsourced processing; the growth of digitized collections and digitization projects; and the need for new forms of metadata and new cataloging rules to describe new formats. Technical Services has responded by using our expertise in managing acquisition and access to collections to develop new ways of working. Technical Services’ resourcefulness will enable libraries to continue to fulfill their core mission of making information available to users.—Roberta Winjum, Task Force Member

Comments from the ALCTS e-Forum,  “Advocacy: What Does it Mean for Technical Services,” held February 8–9, 2011

On the surface of Disneyland you see impressive rides, colorful costumed characters, and eateries. But in reality there is a city beneath Disneyland where the real “elves” work hard to keep the city above alive: supplying food, preparing costumes, fixing machinery- keeping everything chugging along. Similar to how in a library Technical Services “elves” constantly work behind the scenes to ensure that books and electronic resources get purchased, received, cataloged, and made accessible to patrons. The resources just seem to appear like magic!  —D. Moors 2/8, 9:45

Our library work is infrastructure: not glamorous but appreciated, because we make it possible for you to find what you need. We buy the e-journals and make the links work. We apply the call numbers for finding the books. Without technical services, it's like when the power goes out: you can't do all the stuff you normally do.  —Corbett 4:22 pm Feb. 8

cataloging librarians act locally but think globally. Many of us are contributing to an international database every day. If a library understands the value and price-break in buying good copy, it can also understand the process by which good copy is created and should support it. I understand that no one wants to pay for that "think globally" part, but I would hope library management understands its role in the profession of cataloging and the library world as a whole, and not just its own employees.  —Sweda. 2/8 7:51 am

I might say something like, when you search the library's online catalog for useful resources, we are the people who put that information in there.  We describe the resource and provide ways for you to discover it. —Louise- 2/8 8:45

That’s exactly what I say—I put the records in the catalog for you to find them. I should also note that whenever I can I tell people about resources they might want to use—most frequently when I run into someone from a foreign country I tell them about and how to find our huge collection of videos from overseas. —Duncan 2/8/8:51

I don’t know if I consciously have one but to a member of the general public, I usually say, “Every book, DVD, or item that you check out has been touched by someone in my department.”  And then I describe (briefly) what we do. —Susan Grant, 2/8 8:55

“I’m the Cataloging Librarian.  My job is to make sure all library materials are input into the library catalog (database) and processed in a way that makes them easy for you to find for your research.”  Sometimes I would make the statement about someone in my department had touched every item….  A handful of the students responded with something along the lines of the “magic elves” statement.  —Erin Boyd, 2/8, 9:16 am

People often ask me what I do in the Library, and I usually respond with something like:
“I am the Catalog Librarian, and I work in the Technical Services Dept of our Library." They usually look puzzled with that I-don't-know-what-that-means look. So I go on to say something like this:
"It is my job is to make accessible all the materials in the Library. We create records for everything that our Library purchases. When you do a search for something in the Library's catalog, it is the job of the cataloger to make sure that you can find your research materials as efficiently as possible. And the materials include everything from books to serials to DVDs to maps to hand puppets and other 3-Dimensional objects used by teachers. The other day, I just cataloged a (fill in the blank with whatever weird thing I have cataloged recently -- pig lung, for example.) I am always thinking,  'Now, how would a person be able to find this, whether they are actually in the Library or searching from their home on the Internet?' My job is to help YOU find your stuff in the Library!" —Julie Moore, 2/8, 9:34

I’ll tag onto this one with something I use.  Those who know me know that my dogs pretty much run my life so you will not be surprised by this analogy.  I am always in awe of how my vets figure out what is wrong with my dogs when my dogs can’t tell them where it hurts, etc.  So, what I tell people is that technical services is to libraries as veterinary medicine is to medicine.  We have to figure out what our patron wants without ever speaking to him.  Catalogers provide needed access without knowing what the patron will be looking for, etc., etc.  The staff at service desks at least get to ask follow up questions, etc. —Karen  2/8, 9:39