What advocacy is and what it isn’t – Lessons from a MOOCish Week 1

It’s official. I have gotten further than I have in any other MOOC.

I have just completed week 1 of the Library Advocacy MOOC on edX

Okay so it’s not that big of an achievement but coming from a serial MOOC failer I will take this as a BIG step in the right direction.

So what have I learnt so far? Whilst its early days I am already really learning from this course. It’s helping to bring front of mind those issues that as a library and information professional and we as an industry have to acknowledge. Primarily that pamphlets of library times and ‘I heart the Library’ stickers aren’t advocacy they’re promotional materials.

There’s also no point shouting up and down about the value of libraries and librarians to fellow librarians. Whilst its comforting when everyone comes back in the affirmative you need to work to have on side the key individuals within your organisation. Because unless you have built a solid relatiohship with key decision makers advocating the value add of a library is more often than not a waste of time.

Is this disheartening? NO! To be frank its a kick up the bum! To ensure the value, success and longevity of your library and information services you need to think about the strategic alignment of your library with the rest of the buisness. Be it a local council, community, university, court or law firm if you are not strategically aligned with the direction your organisation is headed you are in trouble. If you are not aligned you are making it very difficult for the decision maker with your organisation to see the value of what you do.

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