Category Archives: advocacy

IAL Archive

Because of the recent, and brilliant, article in LJ by my friend Leah White, I have decided to dip into the archive and repost “Our Voice” in its entirety:


This whole HarperCollins issue along with constant attempts to cut our funds has got me thinking.  Libraries and librarians have been learning to find and use our collective voice over the last few years, but is it enough?  Are we rising to the occasion quick enough, or with enough force and power?  I think about all those who protested recent events in Wisconsin, and while I know that librarians were present, it was not a massive turnout on our part.  We have so avoided politics because of our ethical desire to inpart unbiased information to the patron, but is it time to rethink this method?

Yes we should always provide fair and unbiased information to patrons, but that doesn’t mean that we should just roll over politically and economically.  We have been using our voice, and launching advocacy campaigns that have helped improve some of our funding crises, but is that all we can do?  Is it wrong to educate our public?

We have a story!  We have a voice!  We have pride in what we do!  Now is the time for us to rise up!  If we don’t do it soon we soon could face the realization that the publishers have eliminated us from the growing eBook business.  Moreover, funding may be so drastically reduced that we cannot afford to even purchase print copies.

It’s time for us to stand up.  It’s time for us to take a stand!  If you are in leadership and you are not willing to be human enough to stand up, then now is the time for you to stand down.  There are so many voices in our profession that are worried about their “image” or “brand” that they are not willing to do anything but complain in private and off the record.  It is to you that I say that going silent, turning a blind eye or deaf ear is condoning the behavior.  It is your story that will be lost in history.  To those willing to stand; to those who have been standing for a long time, let us fill the world with our voice; let our story be heard.


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Michigan Libraries at Risk

I recently received a message about libraries in the great state of Michigan.  So I wanted to spread the word, and acknowledge that I stand with my friends and former colleagues in Michigan.  And if you didn’t know, Michigan librarians totally Rock!

From my friend Tim:


Governor Snyder has called on our state to build its knowledge-based economy and to reduce state expenses through efficiencies and group spending. The state’s libraries are already doing both – supporting the knowledge-based economy and creating significant savings by statewide group purchasing through the Michigan eLibrary. However, under the Governor’s proposed budget the Michigan eLibrary is at risk of crumbling by 2013.

Libraries support the economy. They are a factor in attracting businesses to a community. People go to libraries to learn about employment opportunities and to learn Internet skills necessary for getting a job. For example, the Michigan eLibrary (MeL) offers Tests and Tutorials which include GED and advanced preparation guides as well as tests for police, fire, and nursing certification. The MeL Business and Jobs Gateway provides needed assistance to job seekers and small businesses. Economic hardship has drawn people to use MeLCat, a statewide inter-library loan service especially important to rural communities, 33% more last year than the year before.

The system, as it is currently funded, is far cheaper than the alternative. It costs the State of Michigan $5 million to provide the MeL databases and support systems to the citizens of Michigan. That is a group purchase. If these databases were paid for by every library in the state, residents would have to pay an estimated $72 million to duplicate what is currently available. We are currently saving $67 million by funding MeL!

Similarly, if these same libraries who are now participating in MeLCat had to use their own funds to arrange for the delivery of materials, the cost would be an estimated $23 million. As it stands, the current cost of MeLCat delivery of $650,733. We are saving $22 million! I’d call that a money-saving group purchase. Wouldn’t you? By reducing library funding to unsustainable levels, the Governor would actually be cutting off the support system of group purchasing for a knowledge-based economy that is already in place! Why put such a significant savings at risk?

Unemployed persons are being asked to use online application tools in order to save money. But when people can no longer afford Internet access at home, they turn to their local library, the one place they know they can count on for free access. Thus many people who now need libraries more than ever would no longer have access to them. That doesn’t make much sense.

Library funding has already been reduced a total of 76% since 2000! Residents in the Lakeland Library Cooperative area have already seen limits placed on the delivery of inter-library loan materials. If the proposed budget cuts become a reality, the entire delivery system could collapse as all eleven library cooperatives in the state would be forced to close within two years!

The proposed budget offers us $4.5 million. The minimum required to stay afloat, however, is the $7.25 million we currently have.

If you are concerned about this and want to be part of the solution, please contact your State Senators and Representatives. Send them an e-mail or telephone them. (Telephoning is most effective.) Ask them to hold library funding harmless at $7.25 million which saves the state money and provides the citizens of Michigan invaluable information resources.

Contact information can be found under ‘Government’ at
More information can be found at

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ALA Election Time

As ALA Elections roll out today, and with dismal participation from the profession, I thought I would toss out who I am supporting.  On a side note, if libraries are dedicated to the democratic process enough to ensure creating informed citizens, then I think we have an obligation to vote.  I am, after all, a citizen of the library profession.

ALA President: Marueen Sullivan

ALA Councilor-at-Large:

Bobbi Newman

Kate Kosturski

Wendy Stephens

Ed Garcia

JP Porcaro

Jennifer Wann Walker


I would provide additional endorsements, but I cannot find a full list of candidates anywhere.

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