It’s getting a bit disheartening at the moment reading all the negative comments and articles about libraries and library staff. People questioning why they exist; the old stupid clichés about librarians just stamping books all day and saying “Shush!”. Since April this year I’ve been keeping a list of articles and blog posts on the internet that either question the validity of libraries or support them. Whether the article is a positive or negative one they often generate so much feedback and comment that you get a wide range of mixed opinions on them too. I do get involved in the defence of libraries/library workers when I come across these articles, but I’m also ready to leave it to other people who can put the arguments across much more clearly than I can.
I feel I should be doing more myself, but I’m not sure what to do. I’m not a very outgoing/public speaking/think-on-my-feet sort of person, so I don’t feel I can offer much there.
I suppose an easy thing to do is to get positive and I thought it would be a good idea to put something together to show how many people who don’t work in libraries actually love libraries. Just to show everyone that people are positive about libraries and that we aren’t fighting a losing battle.
(image mySAPL, Flickr)
As a five minute thing some time ago I put together a very simple We Love Public Libraries webpage and I’d like to build on it in some way. It doesn’t do very much – just social mentions of people saying they love libraries, but I like the simple idea of just having people saying that they love libraries.
Today, to start with, I set up a few Twapperkeeper archives that will search for common phrases like ‘love libraries’, ‘love the library’, ‘:) libraries’, etc in people’s tweets. I’m not certain how accurate they will be in pulling out the information I want, as I’m not sure if the archiving search works in the same way as the Twitter search functions. I’ll have to wait and see – I can always filter the archives anyway. So long as I capture as many tweets as possible in the first place, that’s what counts.
I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to go with this idea and the tweets collected, but just having a positive thing like that archived means that there’ll be a long list of people saying that libraries are for them even without being prompted. To start with I could just build on my original idea. I also think that visualisations/infographics can be effective, so maybe there’s an opportunity to do something in that direction? It would also be great if it could be the basis of something practical.
So, any thoughts/ideas would be welcome.