Library A to Z : National Libraries Day 2014 idea #LibraryAtoZ


At the recent Library Camp East event I ran a session to crowd source an A to Z of words that reflected the positive activities and values of libraries, as well as positive representations in books, songs, films and other media. The aim was to highlight that even though books are a core feature of library services, libraries are so much more than this – whether this “so much more” is as a result of the benefits of reading, or beyond this focus. We covered all of the alphabet (with a bit of artistic licence in places), but there is still scope for more words to be added into the Library A to Z.

So for example, under “I” we have: information, inclusion, internet, inspiration, imagination, and for “E” we have: escape, ebooks, employability, equality, everyone (is welcome), education, excitement, events, exhibitions, enquiry service.

The A to Z can be found here

The intention is to use the A to Z as a way to promote library services, focusing on the positive aspects of libraries. To do this it would be great if we could get people (library staff, users, supporters, artists/illustrators, writers, performers of all types) involved in producing something creative with this list or a part of it – maybe just a letter, or a single word will inspire you to create something in response. So for example, some of the ideas people have suggested already include:

(1) Turn some of this into a visual alphabet that we could share as downloadable posters.
(2) Create a library A to Z video.
(3) Pull together positive library user stories that cover the full A to Z related to your library, whether that’s public, academic, business, specialist library etc and produce a book of them to be sent to the people in your organisation who aren’t aware of the value of your library service, but hold the purse strings.
(4) Create an online photo montage alphabet.
(5) Get artists (visual, musical, performance) involved to interpret this Library A to Z in their own unique way.

It would be fantastic if we could encourage libraries and their supporters to take up the challenge, possibly just focusing on a single letter each and produce something we could pull together and share (online or as physical items) in time for National Libraries Day – a day all about celebrating the value of libraries and all the things that make libraries so great and important.

E is for… Education. Terry Pratchett: “I taught myself more in the library than school taught me.”