Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Go Dowse Yourself: Self-Help in Library Advocacy

I have learned a valuable lesson: it is impossible to simultaneously be a conference blogger and program chair, no matter how small the conference may be. I wouldn't call my coverage of the 2008 Washington Medical Librarians Association meeting great by any means but at least it was comprehensive.

For the 2009 meeting, I have The Notes (also on my Google Docs, I've been having problems with PDFs and am not certain The Notes retained all the hyperlinks) I took for a panel discussion entitled Finding Water in a Drought: A Panel Discussion on Creative Library Services, Advocacy and Strategy Ideas. If it wasn't for the WMLA president everything about the conference (we were given 'doing more with less') would have been suckily named without cool graphics. My strengths are in concepts, organizing and planning; but what little creativity I have wasn't kicking in!

The hospital library community needs to hear positive encouragement and advocacy ideas in these times when we're all running around with our budget tails chopped off and fearful of how much higher the knife will aim for the next cut.

One strategy from Andrea Ryce at Group Health Cooperative is to show what you're doing without burying it in yet another report no one will read, but an attractive visual that conveys an immediate message like this one (click to read text without squinting) to your stakeholders:

Stating the goal and codes at the top is particularly important so no one is wasting time decoding what you're saying.

Don't miss the audience reaction and discussion with the panel as there were many great ideas shared. I particularly enjoyed the last line from someone who shall remain nameless. I'm not young (I'm a thirtysomething but I have wrinkles and even some grey hair... I think a 6 year old boy is a contributing factor!) but am just under a year in my library career and feel like I have no clue what I'm doing yet on a daily basis.

Do not ever make the statement that you feel inexperienced; you have experience to bring to every situation. If people can't learn from younger people, it's time for them to leave.


Anonymous said...

Sorry just now posting!

Great point about young workers. I often think I do not know a lot and do not speak up or state I'm still new (I've been in my current position for 1 year). But according to others, I have a different perspective to offer and good advice. I try to keep this in mind when I shy away from offering ideas, or stating "I'm not sure."

Thank you for a good post!

Eagle Dawg said...

You're welcome, and you have more experience than I do. I'm at not-quite-a-year status in the field but obviously that hasn't kept me very quiet :)

RP said...

Nicole - In mid-March, I began blogging about public libraries in response to a funding crisis in West Boylston, MA.

The Radical Patron has 33 articles to date, with lots more in the pipeline:http://www.radicalpatron.com/archive/. They may offer some of the advocacy and ideas you're looking for.