What Do You Do Every Day?
- Drink coffee
- Write with glitter pens
- Eat food
Pet my dog(wait, not if he’s on vacation with his dog BFF)
- Carry and live out my values
- LJ Movers and Shakers! We’ve got MIN-terviews with four of their awesome Advocates, so I hope you like inspiration.
- Advocacy on the desk, survey results, anti-gun violence, and painting under the table: great recent ALSC Blog posts from good old Priority Group I.
- A deep dive into the ALSC Everyday Advocacy site that’ll take us to Washington D. C.
- Linky library links
- A calendar of library months, weeks, and days for your advocacy planning
- Finally, something new: I’ve Got Five Minutes, a quickie roundup of actions you can take from this month’s issue and do on your
five stolen minutes scarfing a burrito before your ref desk shiftlunch break.
ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website & Electronic Newsletter
Bodice Rippers and Self-Es with Robin Bradford
I have a friend who loves romance novels and will staunchly defend them to those who say they aren’t great literature. Robin Bradford knows this struggle well, and is doing her part to get romance, self-published books, and other books in demand by patrons onto shelves. She probably has a recommendation for you on Twitter right now.
AM: I'm reading your twitter feed and loving that you advocate for romance readers, diversity in books and TV, and self published books. What kind of responses have you gotten from librarians when you talk about the books you read?
RB: I have gotten a tremendous response when talking about books I’m buying for collection development. When talking about books I actually read… I feel like I don't talk about those books quite as much. My whole feed is a like a rolling discussion of books, movies, music. Sometimes it's because I read, or watched, or listened to something. Other times, it's because we're discussing things we're ordering. Or, it's a jumping off point from someone else's conversation.
Sometimes, I'll throw out a question just to see what kind of response I get. Sometimes, I'll use a poll. Sometimes, people will see a book cover, and that will lead to a greater discussion. That's one of the best things about Twitter, that ability for meaningful conversations to happen from a sometimes throwaway comment.
AM: In children's librarianship, we talk about how self publishing can be an important tool for writers who are people of color, LGBTQ, disabled, or otherwise not part of the mainstream voices that tend to get picked by the publishing industry. What would you say to library workers who want to add independent voices to their collections but aren't sure where to start?
RB: Wow, this is an ongoing struggle. First, I would acknowledge that it's overwhelming. It's overwhelming with traditionally published materials, and it's not like you can put that to the side and focus on indie pub. No, you're required to do BOTH, and it's okay to acknowledge how big that job is. Second, take manageable bites. If you go into it saying "I'm going to buy fiction today" you're going to be quickly overwhelmed. Decide you're going to focus on a genre, or a subject. And then keep drilling down until you get to something you can handle. Maybe you're going to go to Amazon and look through the detective fiction, or the thrillers, or the suspense. Maybe you're looking at an ingram catalog, and you're going to focus on Publisher Selects part, which features self/indie pub. Maybe you're going to look for blogs that deal with a certain genre and that's all you do that day. You gather information. And then, on another day, you start diving into titles.
You can tell a lot about a book from the blurb. If it's supposed to be an action/adventure/thriller, but the blurb reads like a thesis...think about that. It doesn't give you a definitive answer on the quality of the book, but it's a hint. You have a lot of books, and not a lot of time (or money) so maybe you move on. If the blurb has misspellings, bad grammar, etc, maybe you move on.
The cover is supposed to attract readers. Does the cover support what the book's description is claiming to be? Will a reader pick it up? This has nothing to do with the quality of the book, and everything to do with will anyone pick it up to DISCOVER the quality. If no one checks it out, you wasted your money.
If you don't take patron requests, START TAKING PATRON REQUESTS!!!! Patrons don't care about the divide between traditionally published and indie published. They see books and would like to read them. They can be a great resource into trends too. If you start getting a lot of books on a certain topic that you may have been neglecting (for me it was Korean dramas, and lesbian fiction/lesbian romance), then patron requests put it back at the forefront.
In the Living Room with Rachael Rivera
Okay, they call it a lounge in New Zealand, not a living room. But that’s where you’ll find Rachael Rivera, who’s been recognized for her work with people experiencing homelessness in Auckland, and was inspired to start after learning that the local “rough sleeping” community considered the public library their “lounge.” (I love this.) Rachael is the Manager of Central Library Experience at Auckland Central Library in New Zealand.
AM: Your work with Auckland's "rough sleeper" community is unique because it reaches beyond the most visible needs of people experiencing homelessness--shelter, food, bathrooms--to the more intangible needs for community, entertainment, and intellectual stimulation. How has this approach impacted the experiences of patrons in your library?
RR: I guess it’s important to come back to where this started. One day, by chance, we found this document about the experience of rough sleepers in the Auckland CBD. It outlined the movements of rough sleepers throughout a typical day and highlighted the significance of the places they visited.
We were surprised to see the Central Library in here, referred to as the ‘lounge’. If you think about your own home, the lounge instantly gives a feeling of warmth. It’s a place for connection with friends and family, and for recreation and relaxation. It's a simple way to describe it, but it really helped us to understand the place of our library and our service to people without homes. The work we did with rough sleepers was a direct result of thinking about that ‘lounge’ concept, and whether or not we were doing everything we could to make it a great place to be.
We’ve had some of the rough sleeping community say that it feels like they are part of the real world, or that it helps them feel like a ‘normal person’, which to me is just awesome. One of my staff actually did a project on how rough sleepers perceive our library, and she surmised: “One of the interviewees emphasised that he feels a sense of belonging and respect. He feels like he is part of the team and the community.”- Hao Zhang
I loved reading that. Supporting the development of community is an amazing part of library work.
We’ve had feedback from other library customers that they value this service offer too. Once people heard about our Monday movies sessions, we had a wait list of people interested in providing morning tea, including the local culinary school. Other central city residents started providing food for the morning teas, which led to both the housed and un-housed central city residents getting to know each other, which is a fabulous outcome.
Around some of the more visible needs this community have, we shouldn’t forget we are part of an ecosystem. Even though there were lots of things the library couldn’t support this community with, the knowledge we gained through our engagement meant we could advocate for them to people who can make change in those areas. I have since had the opportunity to work with colleagues in my council around the creation of more public amenities such as showers and lockers.
AM: If you could recommend one practice for libraries to adopt that could improve library visits for people experiencing homelessness, what would it be?
RR: Ask them. Find a way to create a safe, respectful place and ask them what they like to do, and get to know them a little, just like you know some of your other regular customers. Ask them what challenges they face and how they find the current experience of using your library.
Feeling safe and welcome is something that came through as a clear theme for our rough sleeping community, and there were lots of little things we could do together to make that less of a barrier. From ensuring they knew of all the services that could help them, to creating new ones that we wouldn’t have come up with by ourselves- it’s all gone a long way to building mutual trust and respect.
- How do you learn to be an advocate? (Advocacy and Legislation Committee)
- Omg omg survey results (Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee)
- Ever had a patron demand you take this terrible book off your shelf? (Intellectual Freedom Committee)
- You can make an inclusive play space for babies and toddlers on a shoestring. (Library Service to Underserved Children and their Caregivers)
- Wondering how to support library patrons who are protesting gun violence? (Public Awareness Committee)
- Is it hard to paint like Michelangelo? (School-Age Programs and Services Committee)
If you’re new to Everyday Advocacy or just want a refresher, you’re in luck! Each issue of Everyday Advocacy Matters helps you dig into the initiative’s five tenets—Be Informed, Engage with Your Community, Speak Out, Get Inspired, and Share Your Advocacy Story—by directing you back to the great content on the Everyday Advocacy website.
Find out how you (yes, you!) can make an Everyday Advocacy difference at the national level.
Everyday Advocacy is a grassroots effort that starts with the great things you're doing in your library community, but that doesn't mean you can't take Washington, D.C., by storm!
Keep up with the awesome that's going on in the ALA Washington Office and learn about big and small ways to lend your voice to the national landscape of libraries and library legislation.
Here are a just a few ways to stay engaged in the Washington conversation:
Subscribe to District Dispatch, the official blog of the ALA Washington Office, for the low-down on key library issues and legislation.
Check out the ALA Legislative Action Center for details on how you can call, write, or tweet Congressional leaders with your support.
Participate in a webinar to build your skill set on issues you're sure to encounter while serving youth and families in libraries.
Attend National Library Legislative Day, a two-day advocacy event championing libraries and library legislation in Washington, D.C.
Don't miss out on a single chance to make an Everyday Advocacy difference for the youth and families you serve.
Learn about what's up in Washington today!
Articles from outside the library world for you to email, tweet, or cite in your speech to elected officials.
- British survey shows children are hit hardest by cuts to library service. (The Guardian)
- Opinion: Americans need open libraries, and libraries need IMLS funding. (The Hill)
- Opinion: A heartfelt argument that libraries belong to everyone, and why IMLS faces cuts in Trump’s proposed budget. (The Nation)
- As local newspapers disappear, some small-town libraries are becoming centers for local news. (The Atlantic)
- Dolly Parton donated her 100 millionth Imagination Library book and did storytime at the Library of Congress. (NPR Ed)
- Vince Staples plays viral prank, then makes good by promising to donate $2,022 to the Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library in Long Beach, CA. (Long Beach Post)
For those of you who want to do aaallll the advocacy, but it’s gotta be fast.
- Think of someone you work with who deserves major praise, and tell them!
- Read a post from a fellow Everyday Advocate on the ALSC blog.
- Sign up for ALA District Dispatch. Alerts about library policy news will come right to your inbox!
- Share an article about libraries on social media.
- Jot down a program or display idea for your community around one of our calendar listings.
April is School Library Month, Autism Awareness Month, and Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April 8-14 National Library Week
April 10 National Library Workers Day
April 11 National Bookmobile Day
April 20-22 Global Youth Service Day
April 30 Día
May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Jewish American Heritage Month, Older Americans Month, and National Foster Care Month
May 1-7 Choose Privacy Week
May 6-12 Hurricane Preparedness Week
May 7-8 National Library Legislative Day and Virtual Library Legislative Day
May 21 National Readathon Day