OK, I know you’re overwhelmed by the influx of patrons over the last few years, but is that really translating into more support for struggling libraries? Sometimes I think people just take them for granted.
Some libraries have come up with drastic ways to let people know what they might have to do without (great idea to even close the website!), but maybe we just need product placement. Sure public service announcements are one way to go, but how many people see these?
I also think we aren’t on the radar screens of a lot of people we could be helping, so perhaps we need to strengthen our link to popular culture. Yes, we’re reaching people with Twitter and blogs and other social media, but television and films are still huge, especially for less technologically advanced people who can really use our services.
We know that the stereotypes of libraries aren’t always what we wish them to be. Should ALA start lobbying screen and TV writers to include more library references in their productions? It might go a long way to letting people know what’s available to them for free with a library card. And I bet Hollywood would be glad to help – in fact they might be a great source for the super supporters we read about in From Awareness to Funding.
So I was enormously pleased when viewing this week’s Parks and Recreation (ironically a government department that’s often one of our biggest fiscal rivals) with the inimitable Amy Poehler of Saturday Night Live fame (start about 1 minute, 55 seconds in to avoid an ad and get to the good stuff). OK, it’s not complimentary, but talk about smashing stereotypes! Honestly, doesn’t referring to us as “diabolical”, “ruthless”, “punk ass book jockeys” who are “extremely well-read which makes them very dangerous” just add to our allure and coolness factor?
So how about it? Let’s tell ALA we want to be in pictures!
1/26/11 update – uh oh, all is not well w/ P&R – thanks to Jessamyn West for revealing a troubling attitude towards libraries from government