#echolib – how do we get library advocacy beyond the echo chamber?

19 Jan

Myself and woodsiegirl (@woodsiegirl on Twitter) would like to look into how to move library advocacy on beyond the echo-chamber. That is to say, not just tossing good ideas around among ourselves, and not just preaching to the converted – but reaching the unconverted too.

Plenty has been talked about the image of librarians and libraries etc, but how do we go about addressing the misconceptions on a wider basis? At the moment, I reckon a very (very) crude representation of library advocacy might look a little like this:

One-way traffic

One-way traffic

The point being, the library skeptics aren’t really being reached, and many of the excellent ideas we have are going into the echo-chamber of our own Information Professional community.
So we’d like to look into this further, and see what people think. Please use the comments below, or on Woodsiegirl’s post, or particularly if you are on Twitter use the #echolib hash-tag, and let us know what you think. In particular:
  • What is the current state of play?
  • What can we do about it?
  • Who are the shining lights who can lead us by example?

Let’s try and get some debate going…

- thewikiman

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  • Ned Potter January 19, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    Blogged about library advocacy / echo-chambers and so on #echolib

  • thewikiman January 19, 2010 at 5:02 PM

    Expanded version of that graphic:

  • Gareth Osler January 20, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    Very quickly, how about reaching out to non-users, books on the Xbox for teens (and the other machines they use). How about a personal librarians friend on Facebook, someone who could answer questions, and maybe even offer timely advice on information.

  • Kathy Ennis January 21, 2010 at 2:55 PM

    Perhaps the first step is to stop using the word ‘advocacy’ and start thinking about this process as marketing. As with any marketing campaign the first questions we have to ask are ‘what is our product’ and ‘who are we trying to sell it to’. The issue here for libraries is the multitude of products (often determined by sector) and a huge variety of customers (again, sector plays a part here). So we have to be very clear what our marketing massage is for each product and to each group of customers – huge job, but one that I would be really happy to be part of.
    You may want to have a look at the materials in the CILIP Campaigning Toolkit as there are some really useful things about Action Planning and making a case (

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