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Gale Cengage Learning / SirsiDynix Institute Advocacy Session

I just finished doing the joint SirsiDynix Institute / Gale Cengage Learning webinar on Advocacy.

Advocacy for Libraries: In Our Own Interest (and our communities)

We had over 150 sites joining in so that’s pretty nice for a sunny (at least here) summer day!

It was my first time using BrightTALK and it went OK. One nice benefit is that the audio-slide PPT is available almost immediately for posting. That’s a nice perq.

You can view and listen at the SDI website or click below.

I went a little over but just missed a few examples which are OK with just the slides. I’ll respond to the few questions here shortly.

UPDATE: 6 comments and questions from this session:

1. Why does Mr. Abram feel that being FOR something is more important than being AGAINST something?

There is quite a bit of research on this, but basically if you reinforce the negative messaging you empower the negative action. For example, spanking a child increases the undesirable behaviour being addressed, capital punishment increases the murder rate, or “don’t think about green elephants” make you think about green elephants. While these may be true, I am more anti being against something because it lessens our real goal – to help targeted groups understand the amazing impact of libraries. Why start in a hole by being against something first instead of being ‘for’ something awesome. People who start out by always being negative and being against something are eventually turned off by the listener before you open your mouth. Who wants to have a long term relationship with Debbie Downer (Beware SNL pop cult reference)? When you only get a few chances to discuss libraries’ impact, you don’t want to risk turng off the listener by being another negator.

By predicating your messaging and communication by being FOR something (positive) you draw people into your web. You then contextualize the negative activity you’re against in the context of something positive that will be damaged by the negative agenda (whether that is funding cuts, legislation, policy changes, whatever). People generally want to be associated with positive action – yes’s no no’s. Lordy, how can anyone come out against supporting your neighbourhood, building your community, helping kids and seniors, ensuring kids learn better, increasing R&D success, etc.?
Besides, it’s better for your gut (and lifespan) too. You can care about a positive vision without beng naieve, Polyanna or constantly failing. Every step to people understanding the real power of libraries and library staff is a win.
Tell a story. End it on a positive note. Hansel and Gretel didn’t get eaten. Neither did Red Riding Hood, the 3 pigs, or Luke Skywalker. There’s a reason why happy endings motivate changed behaviours in all cultures.

2. Love the McGuyver poster!

Me too. Library folks are great at making magic happen with nothing more than some puppets, Post-it notes and magic markers!

3. There are indeed lots of places for stock photos & graphics… but some are low-quality, and some sites just repeat the others’ work. Your slides are always great. what are you 2-3 fav sites to use?

I worry less about low quality if it’s not going to show. Most websites and PPT uses for me are OK for low resolution since it keeps it light and isn’t very noticeable on screen like it can be in print.

I find that it’s always fun to surf for images. I’ll admit that I have a small budget and keep a deposit account at which is awesome. You can search using concepts and emotion words instead of just nouns to get inspiration for metaphoric images. I have to admit that as a librarian I am fascinated by photography and image profesionals’ skills in naming their work for retrieval (and therefore sale). It’s an interesting metadata niche and qute different from the average cataolguing rule. You can play on the site for free and buy the perfect one there or use it for inspiration. I always ask myself how I feel when looking at the image? Is that how I need the viewer to feel? It doesn’t need to be a noun picture, it needs to be an action verb.

I do use Google Images and look for CC stuff as well as the other CC licensed sites. I also check out Wikipedia since nearly all of the images are OK to use. I tak photos myself with my phone and camera and my daughter has done some for me (that BFA in photography has to be worth something!). I often do screen captures of websites but clean them up to remove browser frames and extraneous visuals like sidebar ads. I did a blog posting once or twice on free sources for images. I’ll try to find it.

4. Where did Mr. Abram get the pics for this presenation (outside of Google images)?

See above. I use mostly and I use the generic screen capture on my laptop for websites. Anytime I find something awesome I collect it in a single PPT file for searching later.

5. Just wanted to give some feedback — I am loving the format of Mr. Abram’s presentation. His message and themes are coming across crystal clear. Love it!


6. Could Mr. Abram repeat his definition of politics again?

I find that the world of advocating works better for me when I respect everyone as a person and respect their right to their point of view. By respect I mean that I try to give them ample time to help me to understand their viewpoint. I may not completely agree with it but I rarely fail to gain insght into my own ideas and positions and it moderates my POV too. As I noted there are a few people influential in libraries and beyond who tend towards caricature in our minds. These include bosses, vendors, sales folk, and the public – many times folks who actually see more libraries than we do on average. In particular politicians get a bad rap. While there are some particular egregious and sad examples of ‘bad’ politicians most are generous and committed professionals. This is especially true in libraries with boards, trustees, donors, etc. Politicians have an important skill for communities – they focus on the art of compromise – and just try to accomplish anything without compromise! Compromise requires a fine hand to balance the needs of all with the resources a hand, to think about the needs of the community rather than the needs of the few and to set priorities in the context of the goals and situation at hand. It also usually means that no one wins completely but everyone can win a little and make a little progress. It is an unsung skill and has many layers, but political skills deserve respect and when there is respect, people are listening in a two-way fashion. This can only serve the effective advocate well.


Posted on: August 18, 2010, 2:37 pm Category: Client Presentations, SirsiDynix Events

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