I heard someone say, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” This is easier said than done, especially for librarians. The results from the Pew Internet and American Life survey “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities” were recently released. I have seen many in the library world praising what are definitely good results. Such as:
These are definitely things to be proud of. However, there are some statistics that concern me and I don’t seem to be hearing about them from the library world as much.
If 94-95% believe libraries are so important then why have only 54% used a library in the last year? Doesn’t quite make sense. So while people love their libraries, they don’t know much about their offerings and they don’t use them very often.
This is frustrating because it seems as though people like the idea of the public library as it exists in their heads, but have no idea what it does in practice. Sounds familiar medical librarians? I think in order for us to survive we have to do a better job of changing their perception of the library. Thankfully they like us….but liking us isn’t going to get the tax levy renewed or the keep administration from cutting our budget. We need to do a better job of demonstrating to our users and non-users how we can help them. Informing users is tricky enough, but non-users…yikes! But that is needed for us to turn the perception of a library and the know more about our other services and resources (not just that we have books).
This Thursday #medlibs will discuss the what we see coming to libraries in 2014 and beyond. What is the future of the library? What do we need to do and where will be going?
Some ideas for the discussion are:
These are all important things to consider, but I also believe part of our future rests with changing perceptions. If we don’t do that we are going to be the Norman Rockwell of professions. Nice to remember, or as somebody on Twitter said, “an emotional remembrance.”So tune in on Thursday http://medlibschat.blogspot.com/ as we discuss the library of the future.
While the official deadline has past, MLA is still looking for projects to match with Rising Stars. If you have ideas or would like to mentor a Rising Star for a project you are working on please contact MLA.
The MLA Rising Star program has been developed for MLA members who are interested in attaining leadership roles in MLA but who have not yet become active at a national level. The one-year leadership development program matches each Rising Star with a mentor in a curriculum that includes:
To get an idea of the kind of projects Rising Stars do, here is a list of the most recent Stars, Menors and their projects.
For more information on past projects and Stars go here to see a longer list.
So if you are a Section or Chapter leader and you have something you have been working on and would like to have a Star work on the project with you, contact MLA ASAP!
Journalist Chris Turner’s new book, “The War on Science: Muzzled Scientists and Wilful Blindness in Stephen Harper's Canada” details, exactly as promised in the title, the devastation of scientific research and evidence-based policy in this country under the leadership of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party. The title borrows a phrase originating in the Chris Mooney’s 1996 book “The Republican War on Science”, which described a similarly ideological agenda in the United States under George W. Bush, and which has been adapted to contemporary Canada by David Suzuki as well as less prominent critics of the Canadian Conservatives.
Now, when the pro-Harper National Post publishes a book review (by Jessica Warner, a frequent reviewer and a scholar of history and philosophy of science and technology) that describes its subject as “a tremendously important book” that you owe it to your country to read, one almost wants to be suspicious (though its Financial Post carries an opinion piece by Philip Cross titled “What war on Science?”). But The War on Science is a precise account of four ways in which the Conservative government has abused their authority and our trust, as Warner puts it.
Environmental and scientific portfolios have been entrusted to anti-science, climate change-skeptic, and simply evidence-based policy-illiterate ministers. Funding has been cut to regulatory groups that are guided by evidence. Environmental groups are being shut out of debate and policy-making. And finally, scientists have been gagged and prevented from speaking out about their findings (to wit, our recent commentary about food policy committees and the muzzling of scientific expert members).
Here, from U.S.-based ScienceBlogs, is a useful timeline of what’s gone on in Canada, courtesy of science librarian John Dupuis.
Another useful link for those who want to follow scientist protest as well as ongoing challenges to evidence-based and knowledge-informed policy is the non-profit group Evidence for Democracy, whose Stand up for Science campaign brought scientists and supporters out across the country back in September in protest against the changes and policies outlined in Turner’s book. This should all make for some excellent—if outrageous—holiday reading for OM readers.
Topics: evidence-based policyhealth policysciencePolitics