Warning: If we do not act, libraries are endangered. Not just school libraries, but our academic and public libraries as well. This is not simply a reaction to pending job cuts or closures like what’s being threatened in Memphis, TN. I see leadership as our moral duty to respond for the benefits of others. See below what ALA has done for coordinating the Advocacy resources and efforts with the new committee.
Visit the ALA Advocacy Resource Center to obtain materials to help your communities advocate for you now. We librarians have information on the benefits of libraries and access to information through libraries. We know how our patrons depend upon us for safety, climate, and instruction not just buildings with circulating items. We witnessed the role public libraries in Memphis played after Hurricane Katrina in technology access, but we are too modest to keep reminding the citizens.
I see communities needing help in organizing responses to save their libraries. There are grassroots materials available at ALA. Advocacy is so important to the American Library Association that ALA is working to coordinate their efforts:
At the 2008 ALA Midwinter Meeting, upon recommendation by the Committee on organization, Council voted to establish an Advocacy Committee:
Charge: To support the efforts of advocates for all types of libraries to develop resources, networks and training materials for advocates at the local, state and national levels; to work closely with the Office for Library Advocacy, the Public Information Office, and other ALA offices, units and committees, and with external groups to integrate advocacy efforts into the overall planning, priorities, and policies of the association; and to cultivate future leadership in order to sustain and enhance the advocacy efforts of the association.
Composition: To be composed of 13 ALA members. Terms would last for two years, on a staggered basis, so that 6 members would end their term at the close of the 2009 Annual Conference, and the remaining 7 would end theirs at the close of the 2010 Annual Conference.
I have seen the preliminary list of names and am very excited to note the inclusion of Sara Kelly Johns and Sylvia Norton among many exceptionally fine people. Thanks for the leadership, Sara and Sylvia!