Exercise 1: Name three detrimental effects to a local community when a public library is closed.
1. Teenagers lose out on a safe place to do their homework / study for their exams.
2. Parents miss out on being able to bring young children to the toddler group, which is free and is good for social interactions for both parents / guardians/ grandparents and children.
3. People lose out on having a free space to practice their Irish or other languages.
I'll give a fourth one: I work with a lady helping her with literacy skills. If we couldn't use the library we'd have to go to a cafe where I'd have to purchase a drink I don't want each week, in order to avail of the space! The library suits us, and in addition to a space provides access to reading material.
Exercise 2: Find a Library Strategic Plan in Ireland or beyond for a library of any size. Identify three ways in which the strategic plan also advocates for the Library Service.
The national strategy for public libraries in Ireland from 2014-2017: “Opportunities for All: The public library as a catalyst for economic, social and cultural development”
1. The Foreword talks about public libraries working to "strengthen and expand their place in the local community, in local government and at national level."
2. Libraries position themselves as being "the frontline service of the local authorities and lead in community engagement" (page 9).
3. The libraries give themselves a broad remit: "The public library supports and promotes the spectrum of Irish culture showcasing and providing access for the public to all aspects of literature, Irish language, music, arts, dance, theatre" (page 11).
Exercise 3: Name three ways in which you can demonstrate the impact and value of the library service that you work in or use.
1. There were internet classes provided in our library for senior citizens. They could give specific examples of how they can do particular things online now that they couldn't do before.
2. People with intellectual disability used the computers for a number of weeks. They could give evidence of any positive changes from using the computers (e.g. learning how to make a CV which led to them getting a job) or the library service in general (e.g. discovering they like to listen to audio books).
3. Parents of the toddlers attending toddler group could be asked to complete a survey giving any benefits they find, e.g. reducing loneliness, building friendships, introducing their children to books.
Exercise 4: Identify three key people (name their role) outside of the library in the wider organisation/community that you need to network with in order to advance the development of the Library Service.
1. Teachers (to organise class visits and to develop the relationship as their pupils / students are current or potential library users. Good for them also to be aware of the library's book clubs for young people and what resources are in the library)
2. Intreo staff (they refer people to the library for printing and they could do so for the computers to find job information)
3. Local health staff (Healthy Ireland programme run in the libraries)
Exercise 5: Write down in 200 words or less an idea for Library Ireland Week for a library you work in or use.
A free yoga class. It would be held in our activity room and places would be limited. The local yoga centre could be asked if someone would take the class. It could be tied into the Healthy Ireland initiative and is good for physical and mental health.
Exercise 6: In your opinion what are the three best features of the My Library, My Right Campaign and why?
1. As soon as they are aware of proposals they seek more information. That's good because they act fast so hopefully before anything negative happens. They remind people they are there!
2. They engage with the media. It's important to have a voice and traditional and social media are both important platforms.
3. They have a hashtag campaign. Such a campaign has been shown to be a powerful tool.
Exercise 7: In 200 words or less, describe a new area of librarianship that you are passionate about. How would you go about promoting it within the library that you work in and/or the wider library profession?
I'm training to be a Montessori teacher. I'd introduce a Montessori session in the library, where there would be access to some basic Montessori equipment and the children would be shown how to use it properly. They would also listen to a story. It would be for an hour a week. They would learn to take great care of the books and maybe help repair any damaged ones they come across. There would be a child size dustpan and brush for cleaning up anything. I would hope they would develop a great appreciation for the library (I'm not saying they don't already). I'd advertise it through the toddler group and the library's What's On guide. Apart from that, I'd like to have a greater role helping people with their IT needs and in promoting the library service to entrepreneurs.
Exercise 8: Choose an area of library practice that you feels requires debate.
Helping the public use the computers requires debate. Some people believe it's self service and that's that. The desk can be busy and you might not have much time to help people. But I believe we can and should make a difference. People can feel comfortable around us if we are kind to them, and their IT confidence can grow. I think staff should be encouraged and facilitated to help as much as possible.Exercise 9: Open up the ALA Frontline Advocacy Plan. Complete the plan for a real/fictional advocacy campaign.
1. The goal is to secure the future of a small health sciences library
2. The objectives are:
- To maintain a physical library for the staff
- To maintain a half time librarian post
- To provide a library service for people who use the wider service
- Use the HSLG's Evidence Informed Healthcare campaign but to run it internally and send the results to management
- Run high profile in-house events such as computer assistance days, read an article days, request a literature search days
- Have coffee mornings in the library for those who use the wider service
4. My message is:
- The library is an important enabler for staff to provide evidence informed health / social care
5. Data / stories to support the message:
- Whatever is completed on the forms!
- Thank you emails
- Feedback forms from items 2 and 3 under strategies
6. My target audience is:
- Senior management and my line manager
7. They should care because:
- They want to be able to demonstrate that they are a great (or the best) organisation at what they do. The library service can help them achieve this.
8. Best tools to reach them:
- Winning a prestigious award or helping someone else to do so and being acknowledged for it
- Demonstrating that money has been saved