Posts Tagged ‘Voices for the Library’

love-lettersBook Week Scotland has been asking library users across the country to write a love letter to libraries, to show how much they mean to them. There have been some wonderfully creative and moving testimonies, including that by the illustrator Chris Riddell, that by Alexander McCall Smith, and that by Joanne Harris.

I could simply write one sentence, and leave it at that.

Without libraries, I would not have achieved all that I have, and would not have enjoyed life nearly as much.


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Until I get round to writing up my account of the week just gone by, when I was tweeting for Voices for the Library, here’s a great definition of libraries. It comes via this week’s Voice for the Library, Hong-Anh Nguyen (Codename: Dewey Decibelle)

The great unsold truth of libraries.

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… for a week, anyway.

Voices for the Library

Voices for the Library

World domination needs must start small. Starting on Monday 13 May – just two days to go! – I will be Taking over Twitter through @voiceslibrary.

The Twitter Takeover began in the week leading up to National Libraries Day on Saturday 9 February, 2013. I was one of seven libraries to take on a day of tweeting through the Library Voices account, the purpose of the exercise being to fight against the closures of libraries and the replacement of librarians with volunteers by showing what we do and how we and our places of work are valuable, essential parts of society. The need to demonstrate this has not gone away since National Libraries Day; in fact, it is more important than ever before, as cuts continue and deepen.

As a regular user of public libraries whose local library has been replaced with a volunteer-run book-lending service, I only get frustrated every time I go in there. The lack of training and experience shows in every interaction. I look at what the service ought to be, I remember the wonder of the local library and librarians who helped bring me up (that is how often I was there), and I experience what this other place is now, and I realise that we need to fight harder than ever to stop this becoming the norm.

The more people that think about what libraries mean to them, and the more people who share those feelings, and act upon the need to keep them alive, both now and in the future, are a crucial part of Voices for the Library. Just look at the several testimonies to libraries on the website. This excerpt from Carola’s story of Orkney Libraries is typical, and shows how essential libraries are to the past, present, and future:

Carola's testimony, on Voices for the Library

Carola’s testimony, on Voices for the Library

I’m still working out my full plan for the week. I will spend some time introducing you all to my library world, but that’s not enough. This week is not really supposed to be about me. I need to talk about libraries and what they have done for me as a reader and researcher, how they have helped to bring me this far, and how I want to make sure that they are around to take me as far as I can go. I need to talk about how libraries and librarians must be there to help current and future generations on their path into and inside the library.

I hope to see you all on Twitter from Monday morning onwards.

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Dragonfly emerging from its chrysalis (via Dreamstime Stock Images)

Dragonfly emerging from its chrysalis (via Dreamstime Stock Images)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred Lord Tennyson, ‘Ring out, wild bells’ (part of In Memoriam), 1850. (more…)

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Which door do I open next? (image from Fiction Fixers: Adventures in Wonderland)

When I realised that I would not be able to complete 23 Things for Professional Development by the original deadline in October, I decided that I would take some of the pressure off myself, by resolving to finish all 23 things by the end of 2012. Because I go away for a few days tomorrow, I want to write my last CPD23 post this evening to keep my resolution. I would like to thank the Evil Geniuses behind CPD23; I hope that they realise what a great thing they do for the rest of us. (more…)

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Source: Frome Town Talk

Source: Frome Town Talk

What’s the one thing you want to take with you into 2013?

So asks Reverb12 on Day 7. My immediate reaction was to say family and friends. But having thought about it all day, that’s not a choice, that’s just a part of living. I couldn’t go into a new year without them. It’s not a choice; it wouldn’t be life without them.

So I plan to take forward into 2013 my commitment to librarianship and libraries, and as part thereof to get more involved in the fight to save libraries. I don’t choose to take forward into the New Year a selfish interest. I choose to work towards maintaining and saving a worthwhile, crucial part of society – libraries, particularly public libraries. In the New Year, I plan to get more involved in , and , firstly by writing for the latter. I want to do more work advocating for my profession, partly through my work as a librarian, partly through getting more involved with campaigns for libraries, librarianship, and all that can thus be done for society. Going into forward into 2013, I want to do my bit, to do as much as I can, towards making sure that public libraries are as open and as available to children as they were to me growing up.

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Speak Up for Libraries

Today, Speak up for Libraries leads another protest to support and save libraries, with a rally and a lobbying of Parliament at Westminster. The rally starts at 11.30am at Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, Westminster, London SW1H 9NH. The lobby of Parliament will start at 2.30pm. I really hope that a lot of people turn up – librarians and library users alike – and that their MPs are available to discuss these issues and support their constituents in this fight.

But what do you do if you are unable to attend the rally and/or lobby? If you work in a library in or close to London, why not print off the flyers available here and display them prominently in your library this morning? You could put one inside every book that you issue, or simply post them in the windows and on the noticeboards of your library. If you don’t work in a library, why not print off the flyers and take to your local streets to distribute them for an hour? Even if you are unable to get to the rally, others may be inspired by a flyer they get from you to go along.

If you are further away still, like me, you should not despair. UNISON have made it very easy to contact your MP to ask them to support libraries, both locally and nationally: http://action.unison.org.uk/page/speakout/speakupforlibraries_mp. A draft letter has been supplied, and you need only add your own details. Remember to ask your MP to sign up to the Early Day motion, Speak Up for Libraries, if they have not done so already. Email these links to others in your local community to get them to add their support for their local libraries.

If you use Facebook, follow the Speak Up for Libraries page, to get more tips on how you can get involved and to keep up to date with the campaigns. If you use Twitter, follow Speak Up for Libraries, and tweet about the rally and lobby – use the hashtags #librarieslobby and #savelibraries. If you have a blog, write a post like this one, even just post a link to my post and/or the official pages if you are in a rush.

Finally? Use your local library today. Borrow a book. Use the e-resources. Read a newspaper or magazine. Borrow an audiobook or CD. Speak to library staff to find out all that is available; you’ll be surprised by all that you can do through libraries. And make the commitment to visit your local library once a week from now on if you don’t do so already.

Save Libraries!

(Header image from the Speak Up for Libraries official website)

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