Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries

ALA has an advocacy site for Rural, Native and Tribal libraries. This is cool--I didn't know they had this sort of specialization, but I am enthused to know it has been going on for awhile now.

I knew WebJunction had a special team of people doing work with rural and tribal (First Nation) libraries. Of course George and Chrystie will know more than me on this! (And it gets top billing on the page for Best Practices.)

In particular, the ALA site has a nice PDF tip sheet that gives you A Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library. This is great!

I am thinking about advocacy in particular because I just sat in on a call with the Reference Interest Group at OCLC Members Council--where I know Eric and George are, right now, in Quebec City. The group was interested to hear what we're doing on advocacy, and of course gave us some good guidance on what OCLC should concentrate on, from the members' perspective! For all of us not in Quebec City, chime in here and I will make sure your voice is heard!


Alice said...

Also meant to link to the EPA library news piece that went around last week. It's not necessarily rural, native or tribal, but it definitely points to the need to articulate our value as a profession and industry--no matter what type of library you work in!

jessamyn said...

OCLC could really step up to the plate and offer free or heavily subsidized services to rural libraries below a certain income or FTE level. Very few of the public libraries in my rural area are OCLC members.

The ALA guide is exceptional and I have given copies to all the libraries I work with. The WebJunction webinars which are Windows-only, require XP/Win2K and IE (not to mention downloading and installing software as well as a "quiet space" to participate in your webinar) really aren't solutions, neither is their resource area for rural libraries.

Generally if you want to help rural libraries, give them tools to work with what they've got (windows or mac, firefox or ie, broadband or dial-up), don't try to make them learn to use new tools just to learn how to help themselves.

Alice said...

Thanks Jessamyn. This is good insight--I will pass it along. I want to make sure I understand what you're saying, though. You're not saying rural librarians don't want to learn new things and new technologies (esp. if they are free and available) just like any other librarian--you're saying to make sure the communication vehicles used are appropriate to the intended audience. Right?

Also one the rural library thread, wanted to pass along this AP story on the situation in West Virginia.