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Soundbites for the Economic Disruption

So, you’re heading out to your favourite New Year’s Eve event and you have to talk to people a lot. It’s time for new soundbites for dealing with the topic-du-jour – the economic disruption. And it’s not just about assigning blame to capitalists, bankers, carmakers, ponzis and politicians although that can be quite cathartic. We need to bring the library message into our conversations and our unique role in moving forward.
“A study cited in Parade Magazine says a family of four can save up to $2,500 a year by borrowing just 10 items a month from the public library. That’s 120 items a year, averaging $20.83 each.”
That’s cheaper than your savings at Wal-Mart, the only winner so far in this mess.
What do people do during an economic disruption. They look for work and libraries provide a bunch of resources, courses, programs, advice and PC access for job hunters. Libraries have a ton of experience in this and are sharpening their skills as we speak as any organization would when faced with such a strategic opportunity..
Temporarily unemployed? Library resources can help replace everything from books, school resources, magazine subscriptions and DVD rentals to home Internet. Get the savings without the pain.
When the economy shifts, and shift has happened before, people go back to school. They do it full time and art time and in class and use distance education. Libraries shine in supporting these adult learners as the retool, retread and reskill for the new economy and future success.
And libraries continue to serve the K-12 kids so that they are prepared for new economy they’ll hit when all this disruption ends. Only the most cruel and stupid politicians would cut resources for education so that the downward spiral goes deeper and lasts longer and hurts the ability of future generations to compete globally.
And don’t forget how libraries help seniors whose restricted incomes might be compromised through investment losses, or poor folk whose government programs are likely to be cut or shrunk, or recipients of help from charitable organizations whose donations are suffering.
We must win the conversations over the general and shallow public opinions which can be dead wrong and poorly informed.
The ALA report to the Obama/Biden transition team and the subsequent educational effort – Opening the “Window to a Larger World,” Libraries’ Role in Changing America, can be vewed at http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/ala-report-to-transition-team1.pdf is a good start. It’s good to ask for $100 million but a $Billion is better. Think like a banker, insurer, broker, carmaker, or whoever wants a handout. Maybe libraries should convert to bank holding companies (grin).
Happy New Year. The battle continues.
Stephen

Posted on: December 31, 2008, 3:49 pm Category: Uncategorized

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