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Thursday, September 15, 2016

A Golden Opportunity to Talk About Libraries

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts,
 and new Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden at the 14 Sept. swearing-in ceremony.
Captured from LoC's YouTube video.
Yesterday, Dr. Carla Hayden was sworn in as the new Librarian of Congress in the U.S. This is wonderful on many levels: 
  • Hayden replaces Dr. James Billington, who was not tech-savvy, not a librarian, and not moving the library into the digital age quickly enough. 
  • Hayden has not only the requisite Master's in Library Science; she actually holds a Ph.D. in it.
  • Hayden has worked at all levels, from a children's librarian, to a director, to public library system CEO, to president of the American Library Association (2003-04).
  • Hayden is the first woman, and first African-American, in the history of the 216-year-old LoC. 
Her appointment (from President Obama) is historic in many ways, and is wonderful news. She wants to digitize more resources so scholars and everyday people will be able to access them online, from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection.

This is all great -- but library marketers can make it even more great. Let's discuss this! Talk about it with your family members, your non-librarian-friends, your acquaintances. Share it on all your social sites. Talk about it at the grocery store, in meetings, over a meal. This is a golden opportunity to start conversations about the goodness and value of libraries. 

Hayden with Reading Rainbow's LeVar Burton
Easy opener: "Hey, did you hear that a new Librarian of Congress was just sworn in? It's historic in many ways." The other person will ask why, giving you a chance to explain. 
"You might not think this affects you, but Dr. Carla Hayden's appointment will help put tons of U.S. history at your fingertips. Much of it is preserved in the Library of Congress, but it's not online yet. She's determined to digitize more of it, to work with schools and scholars to share it. There's so much fascinating stuff to learn about! Old photos and letters... " 

I gave you some talking points above, and here are links you can share: 

What coverage, posts, and articles have you seen about our new Librarian of Congress? Please share them in the comments! 

As I write this, the morning after she was sworn in, Carla Hayden is trending on Facebook, which is huge. Let's keep the conversation going!

Let's all use this occasion to talk with others about why libraries matter, what they do, how tech-savvy they are, how they've kept up over the years. Tell friend what benefits libraries offer, what they can get for free, how professional librarians give computer classes and job-search training. Shock them with the news that many libraries now loan musical instruments, garden & home tools, toy & games, home-energy meters, and so much more. 

If you're not comfortable striking up conversations with others, read my easy how-to advice here. 

Talk about libraries this week! We need all the good publicity we can get, and we don't get golden opportunities like this very often. 

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