Advocacy for public libraries is not something I have been involved with. Firstly because the threats to public libraries aren’t quite so terrible in Scotland as they are elsewhere in the UK and secondly because I work in the corporate sector.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t care about public libraries, I believe that they still have an important role to play in society. However I admit to being one of the many people who has drifted away from using the library regularly. As a child I visited weekly and pretty much read my way through the entire junior library! As a student I registered at the local library in wherever I was living at the time and carried on using the library regularly. Until I moved house a year ago I continued to visit the library every couple of months, my use being solely to borrow novels. However since I bought a Kindle I haven’t been back in the public library, it’s so much easier just to download what I want to read. Therefore how do I advocate for a service I no longer use either personally or professionally?
I am under no illusions that corporate libraries are also under threat for several reasons. Of course there is the recession, with less money to spend the library is often an easy target for spending cuts. Then in law firm libraries there are threats from outsourcing of support services, increased use of online services and law firm mergers. The energy and spare time that I have for advocacy has to be spent on working to ensure a future for the library I work in.