We need to sustain and strengthen our advocacy efforts on behalf of all libraries. I view our school, public, academic, and other types of libraries as parts of an integrated library ecosystem. If one part of the system is threatened or suffers, the entire system is threatened and suffers. We know that libraries offer incredible lifelong learning opportunities, yet no one type of library can deliver learning opportunities from cradle to grave. Through our library ecosystem, however, we offer these opportunities in abundance. An ad hoc committee of experienced library advocates representing all types of libraries is working to enhance our advocacy programs and tools so that we and our supporters at the grass roots level can convey this message to decision-makers and the public at large. Yes we can strengthen our advocacy efforts for the benefit of every type of library!
The tie that binds all of our libraries together is lifelong learning—our libraries are the only agency in American society that provides universally accessible learning opportunities to every segment of society throughout their lives. Ours is a world in which change is constant, in which global competition for resources is accelerating, and in which job mobility—either in pursuit of opportunity or of necessity from collapse of an industry—is a way of life. Lifelong learning is also a way of life.
Advocacy on behalf of libraries is advocacy on behalf of the American people!
At the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver in January, 2009:
Please come for a panel discussion on Saturday, 4:00-5:30, in the Colorado Convention Center, Rooms 403-404. “Building Statewide Coalitions for All Libraries during a Tough Economy" will focus on the value of building statewide coalitions during times of economic downturn and the concept of the “Library Ecosystem,” or how libraries of all types are interdependent. It will feature panelists Martin Garnar, past president, Colorado Association of Libraries; Rod Wagner, director of the Nebraska Library Commission; and Ann Dutton Ewbank, education liaison librarian at Arizona State University's Fletcher Library. Carol Brey-Casiano, director of the El Paso Public Library and chair of the ALA Advocacy Committee, will moderate the discussion.
Advocacy Task Force at work:
A task force chaired by Carol Brey-Casiano and including representatives from multiple types of libraries is at work. It is identifying best practices in various states.
Please watch this page for additional information as this initiative develops during the spring of 2009.