Together we stand
When we a call on the support of our communities to save libraries, we always get heart-felt responses from impassioned library users past and present and those who know the true value of libraries, is in our capacity to build and sustain communities. I am always joyful when I see celebrities and public figures that I respect, endorse and acknowledge our value to society.
In the spirit of reciprocity, we (libraries) can repay that advocacy, in kind by taking a stand on things that matter. Great if you have the backing of your workplace but also a bit tricky if you don't.
Taking a stand about things that matter is risky in the current climate. I would ask you, do we have a choice? This is of course rhetorical.
As a library manager I do have affordances and autonomy that others don't. Yet, I am still mindful of the context in which I work, and lines in the sand that can and can't be crossed.
Some people who I see regularly take a stand on things that matter in our sectors are:
- Sarah Houghton and Andy Woodworth have recently launched Operation 451. As a platform and means help ensure that libraries in the USA remain places where information access is freely available for all and supports free speech. Sarah is also known globally for her stance on publishers restricting access to information through expensive and restrictive licensing models.
- Chris Bourg Director of Libraries at MIT is a researcher and feminist, with a strong focus on social justice and diversity in our sector. I admire the way she writes and speaks about what we do. Her work is always evidence-based, eloquent and passionate.
- Justin Hoenke musician, librarian, father and partner. Writes and speaks about building community and learning. I think the following quote from Justin sums up why you should read his blog and follow him: Every action that we take creates a ripple. If we act in a more positive and understanding way, I feel like the sum of these actions will add up to something great.
- Mike Jones archivist, historian, writer, muso and PhD candidate. Mike's work is always thoughtful, considered and like any historian has a social context. His writing is often about connections and context.
- Hugh Rundle openness and privacy advocate, creator of New Cardigans and Melbournian. Hugh is unashamedly, open about his political affiliations and isn't afraid to take on GLAMR/Library sacred cows. This is a good thing.
There are many more. One of the things I will try and do over the coming months is interview all of them so you can learn more about their big brains and what makes them tick.
This post was prompted in part by the global, grassroots movement #womensmarch. It will come as no surprise to you I marched with friends, colleagues and my mother who is visiting from Australia.
Sparkle - Feel free to comment and add others who you think making a stand and making a difference.