Thursday, 4 October 2007

More of what they say

The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has produced a pocket book to disseminate the key findings from the families love libraries campaign. Why families value libraries is a postcard-size format booklet with bullet-points, quotes from users and "cute" children's illustrations.
The findings are hardly surprising. What families love about libraries are
  • friendly and welcoming staff
  • free activities and events
  • access to fast computers, books, DVDs, story tapes and information
  • opportunities to meet other families in a local, trusted, community space

The point is that this publication is not meant for librarians. Its intention is clearly to send a strong message to decision makers about the value of public libraries to families with young children. No doubt, MLA has sent copies out to various organisations. Hopefully, heads of service have also obtained copies and have sent them to the elected members, senior managers and community leaders. As a profession we often complain about the lack of good quality advocacy of libraries and here is something that we can make use of.

What I would like to see is library staff being encourages to take a more evangelical approach to promoting libraries by using this sort of thing. It's a bit like those people who thrust religious tracts at you in the street or on your doorstep. Library staff could give copies of this booklet, or something similar, to friends, neighbours and relatives who have children. Anything that maintains a high profile for libraries must be good.

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