The Library A to Z launches today #LibraryAtoZ

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It’s just over a year since the Library A to Z was first put down on paper – a list of words that reflected the wide range of library services and positive outcomes those services generated. I wrote about it here. Since then, after teaming up with Andrew Walsh to run a crowd-funding project to expand on the original idea and turn it into something more than just a list of words, a set of great promotional and advocacy materials has been produced, including fantastic illustrations by Josh Filhol, posters, cards and a book emphasising the message of the the Library A to Z. The book features a chapter written on behalf on Voices for the Library, along with library users quotes taken from the Voices for the Library site. The Voices team are very pleased that these quotes are being shared outside of our site, as they will help spread the important message that libraries remain relevant in the 21st century.

The Library A to Z is now officially ready to launch and it wouldn’t have been possible without a large number of people helping it reach this point. This includes those who helped create the original list of A to Z words; the 155 financial backers (including major sponsor The Library Campaign); everyone who has shown their support in promoting the A to Z and encouraging people to get involved; the Voices for the Library team; Josh who created the fantastic illustrations that are the centre piece of the A to Z; Aidan who helped with the poster design; and most importantly Andy, who has put in so much hard work from the original discussion we had at Library Camp last year up until the launch.

Even though the materials created by this project have been available for anyone to freely download for a few weeks from the new site at http://libraryatoz.org, the Library A to Z is officially launched this week (17th November).

To highlight the intentions for the launch take a look at the beginning of the book chapter. It leads with:

Over the past few years we have witnessed severe cuts in library service budgets resulting in the reduction of services, most notably by closures, shorter opening hours, staff cuts and the replacement of library staff with typically unsustainable and fragmented volunteer-run services. Cuts are often made in the name of austerity measures, yet in austere times libraries are of particular importance to the disadvantaged in our communities.

For many people the word “library” conjures up images of books and not much more. Although books remain a core feature and are beneficial in many more ways than commonly understood, libraries have a much wider and more significant reach than books alone.

For these reasons politicians at both local and national level (including leading ministers in Government) will be receiving copies of the Library A to Z book and other campaign materials during launch week. The intention is to show them that properly funded and professionally run library services help transform society in many ways, including the improvement of literacy and reading skills, enabling access to digital services, supporting economic growth, promoting wellbeing and education.

Supporters of library services have also been encouraged to send copies of the Library A to Z book and other A to Z materials to their local politicians and media to help spread the message.

At this stage around 90 books have been sent out to politicians and media organisations.

As well as using the materials in this context, the intention is also to encourage library services and their supporters to use them for promotional purposes. For example, editable posters have been created for each letter, so that local information can be added to them. As I have mentioned earlier all of these materials – book, posters, cards, illustrations – are available for you to download and re-use for free.

Whether we are encouraging support from politicians and policy makers or using the materials for promotions in libraries the message remains the same – libraries have so much to offer that most people aren’t aware of. This is a great opportunity for you to let them know.

The launch is being promoted to national and local news and media organisations to raise the profile of libraries. Social media is also being used during the launch to spread the word about the Library A to Z. The hashtag is #LibraryAtoZ.

It would be great if we could encourage you to help spread the message about the Library A to Z during this launch week in whatever way you can.

(Originally posted on www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk)

Library A to Z update #LibraryAtoZ

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It’s been over a month since the Library A to Z Kickstarter was funded and I just wanted to update you on how things are progressing. So far, the illustrator Josh Filhol has finished the art work. In the end he managed to produce illustrations for every letter, even those that didn’t have many words against them. The illustrations are vibrant and are going to look great in the book and on the other advocacy resources. Content for the book is also coming together nicely and Andy is in contact with designers for promotional items such as posters. We don’t have a definite timescale for when the resources based on the illustrations will be available for download, but we’ll make sure we announce it when it happens.

 

Library A to Z crowd funding closes at £4,543 (225% funded)

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The Library A to Z crowdfunding closed today after 4 weeks and I’m really pleased to say that, thanks to the generosity of 155 backers, it has exceeded the initial goal of £2,000. The final amount was a fantastic £4,543, which means that the following has been funded:

  • £2,000 covers the costs of the illustrator, Kickstarter and card processing costs, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing.
  • £2,500 enables the production of a series of posters using the illustrations and makes them available for anyone to download under creative commons licence, edit if wanted, and to print for use in library advocacy.
  • £3,000 enables a pack containing books, posters and other materials to be made up and sent out to at least five different press / media organisations pushing the positive message about libraries. Backers will prioritise who we send them to (and will happily send these out internationally as well as within the UK depending on the geographical spread of our backers).
  • At £4,500 each person with a pledge of £20 over above will be sent an assortment of 5 greeting cards with images from the Library A to Z. It would be great if backers could send at least one of these to a local politician (your local councillor perhaps?) to ask about support for libraries in your area.
It seems such a long time ago that the initial A to Z list was crowd sourced at Library Camp East and it is fantastic that it has turned into something that so many people have thought was a great enough idea to support. Thank you to everyone who has pledged or shared the idea wide enough for this to be funded, including The Library Campaign, whose £1,500 pledge gave the crowdfunding a huge boost.
Huge thanks to Andy who came up with the idea of crowd funding this, found an illustrator and set up the Kickstarter.
Now we move on to putting the book together, and as we do this over the next few months I’ll keep you updated on our progress.
Library A to Z illustration by Josh Filhol

Library A to Z (Josh Filhol)

#LibraryAtoZ is 190% funded with one week to go

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#LibraryAtoZ is 190% funded with one week to go

Fundraising for the Library A to Z is not yet closed, but with one week to go, it is already 190% funded! On Monday we’d already reached around £2250 with 120+ backers, but The Library Campaign showed their support for the project by becoming the main sponsor and pledged £1,500, which took the total up to almost £3,800! We had hoped that a library focused organisation would pledge, but wasn’t certain that it would happen, so this came as a fantastic surprise and is gratefully appreciated, as is the £2250 that all of the other individual backers have also pledged. This funding means that the full colour book, posters and posters will be produced, along with press packs featuring this material. We still have a week to go and further stretch goals dependent upon the money we raise. I said it would be great earlier in the week if the crowd funding reached £2500, but now I’m really wondering if we can reach £4500, and if we did how much more we could do with this project. A huge thank you to everyone who has generously pledged and promoted this project.

An exciting announcement for the #LibraryAtoZ

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Last year I blogged on the Voices for the Library site about the Library A to Z, which was a crowdsourced A to Z list of positive activities and services libraries provide – those that go beyond the idea that libraries are solely about books. We encouraged people to make use of and build on the A to Z to promote their library service and a few did, especially around National Libraries Day in February.
Recently I shared the idea with Andy Walsh from Huddersfield University and we talked about developing the idea into a book that could be used as a powerful advocacy tool for libraries – something that could be sent to politicians, local councillors and those with some control over the future of libraries. Andy suggested the idea of a Kickstarter/crowd funded project to raise money for the funding of the production of the book.
I’m really pleased and excited to say that the crowd-funding project is now live and will run for 30 days. In that time we need to raise £2,000 to turn this idea into reality and actually produce the book. This money will allow us to cover the costs of the illustrator, legal deposit copies of the book, and the initial rewards including postage and packing. Andy has arranged for a great illustrator (Josh Filhol) to be involved, and the aim is to produce a book contain a visual alphabet of the Library A to Z along with content that backs it up and highlights the importance of libraries. You can see Josh at work in the project video below.

There are a range of rewards for people and organisations who back the project, all increasing depending upon how much money you give to the campaign.

It would be fantastic if we could get this funded and turned into reality and we ask that if you can contribute please do (as the video says, it doesn’t matter how little you give). Please also share this in as many places as you can – all around the social networks, in libraries, anywhere! If we don’t make the target of £2,000 the project won’t happen.

We are also still looking for more words for the A to Z. So please take a look at the original list and if you have anything to add leave a comment.

For more details about the project and how the Kickstarter funding process works take a look at the Library A to Z Kickstarter page.

All the resources that are produced as part of this Kickstarter project including the images will be released under a creative commons licence, meaning that everyone is free to use the results of the project.

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

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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 http://www.voicesforthelibrary.org.uk/2013/12/a-library-a-to-z/

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.”