You may well have seen my grumpy-day post earlier on advocacy and activism, so Thing 16 is going to be a meandering thing around some of those points.
I still don’t feel comfortable with telling people how fabulous libraries are, just because I’m a librarian. I have no more expertise on whether a local public library is useful for anyone than I do about the local Council gym – I don’t use either one, so I’m not going to tell anyone that they should be using either one of them, as I am not informed or knowledgeable. Nor do I have any motivation to use either service myself – they just do not have anything to offer me.
I don’t keep this blog in order to show my employers what work I’m doing. In fact, keeping a blog when working in a special library can be quite difficult, and I very rarely refer to specifics of the the work I do on the blog, unless it’s to illustrate a wider principle, I am very careful not to refer to anyone or anything that goes on in my workplace, or anything that could be seen as in any way commercially sensitive. So it’s not really a great tool for advocating my good work to my employers, since it doesn’t actually involve me blogging about my work!
I suppose what it may do is demonstrate to them that I am aware of the wider issues in my profession, and am involved in them, and hence show my own professionalism, but that doesn’t do much in terms of getting the enquiries dealt with!
My advocacy for my own service comes from being involved, helpful, and anticipating the needs of the service users. There is no need to go cartwheeling around in front of staff, with a “We Have A Library!” banner, as they already know we do, and they use it a lot. I learn about the needs and special interest areas of users, keep an eye out for materials or even events I think they would be interested in, and send it those things on to them. I go to external events when I can, to pick up tips on things that might help improve the library service we’re providing, aspects of Scots law, and also just to improve my own knowledge of tools and resources we use or have access to. Like this upcoming Scran event – I’d like to go along, as old photos can sometimes be useful in determining historical uses of land for planning issues. It’s not part of my job to attend out-of-hours events like this, on my own time, but I do it because it increases my knowledge and skills, in order to improve the service.
I also have pretty much the same feelings as Tina regarding the To Do options for this Thing – none of those activities appeal to me. As Tina says, I’m not being deliberately negative, but I just don’t have any urge to get further involved in any sort of advocacy than I currently am.