A to Z reflections

A-to-Z+Reflection+[2015]+-+LgAs soon as Gary Green and Andrew Walsh published their fabulous Library A to Z advocacy tool I knew it would make the basis of a great A to Z Challenge. But would I have time? I was already planning to enter for the second year with my travel blog (writing about Gallus Glasgow) and wasn’t sure if I could run two at once. In the end, I got all my travel posts ready before the start of the challenge so signed this blog up at the last moment – and here I am! Through to the end.

Library A to ZSo would I do it again? Yes! But not with two blogs. I feel I could have made much more of the “What’s good about libraries?” theme with more time. Basically, it was a cut and paste job – the graphics and alphabetical words from Gary and Andrew’s lists and a few quotes each day that I had been collecting for a while. I could, for example, have expanded on those with some details about the person quoted. A couple of days when I didn’t have many quotes, I wrote about a specific library and it would have been nice to have done more of that.

Still, people read and commented, more so than ever before on this blog, although both stats fell through the month. That doesn’t surprise me – I started off visiting far too many other challengers’ blogs and had to cut down over time. I hope I wasn’t preaching entirely to the converted and that at least a few people had their eyes opened to the range of services and activities that libraries offer.

Future plans? Short term, I want to go back over the comments and collate them with those from Facebook but that will have to wait. In the long-term, if I do the challenge again, I think it would be better to do alternate years on each blog. I’ll leave you with thanks for reading, and one last library quote from Matthew Battles, a Harvard Librarian:

The library … is no mere cabinet of curiosities; it’s a world, complete and completable, and it is filled with secrets. Like a world, it has its changes and its seasons, which belie the permanence that ordered ranks of books imply. Tugged by the gravity of readers’ desires, books flow in and out of the library like the tides.

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What’s good about libraries? Z

Library A to Z: ZThis is the last of my A to Z Challenge posts about the importance of libraries. I’ve been using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and adding a small selection of quotations. Thank you to everyone who has followed along.

What good things about libraries begin with Z?

Zines (magazines); zzzzz (child sleeping after being read bedtime story).

And a posthumous thank you to Frank Zappa who supplies both of today’s quotes:

If you want to get laid, go to college. If you want an education, go to the Library.

So many books, so little time.

And that’s it! Except, not quite. If you haven’t already, I urge you to visit the Library A to Z site. There are downloadable materials, including the graphics and words that I’ve been using, and a page of excellent arguments about the importance of libraries. These are mostly non-country specific, but in the UK we should make urgent use of them. The General Election is days away. There may be other issues on your mind, but have you asked your candidates about their views on libraries? For more ideas on what to say, see CILIPS’ (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) Electionwatch page. And above all – vote!

Thanks again to everyone who has read, commented and made suggestions over the last month. If you have any for Z, please add them below. Au revoir!

What’s good about libraries? Y

Library A to Z: YI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with Y?

Young adult; your library; youth.

No quotes about libraries today – and even the one about reading is not quite on-message:

Henry Youngman: When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.

Do you have any other suggestions for Y?

What’s good about libraries? X

Library A to Z: XI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with X?

Xml (web of information; organisation of information online), eXciting, eXpression.

Hmm, X is tricky. Bet you thought I wouldn’t find a quote! But I did:

Malcolm X: My alma mater was books, a good library . . . I could spend the rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity.

Do you have any other suggestions for X?

 

What’s good about libraries? W

Library A to Z: WI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with W?

Warmth; well-being; wifi (free); wisdom; workshops; World Wide Web.

W quotes – I wasn’t sure if strictly speaking Dr Who should be under D since he is “The Doctor”. But here he is in the good and varied company of a chemistry professor, a novelist and an ex-Rolling Stone.

Frank H. Westheimer: A couple of months in the laboratory can save a couple of hours in the library.

Dr Who: You want weapons? We’re in a library. Books … the best weapons in the world! This room’s the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!

Virginia Woolf: Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.

Bill Wyman: The 15 years since I left the band have been the best years of my life. I should have been a museum curator or a librarian because I like that better than being a “rock star”.

Do you have any other suggestions for W?

What’s good about libraries? V

Library A to Z: VI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with V?

Value (money libraries save); values (the things libraries stand for); viewing films & other materials; visually impaired users; voting (finding information on political issues).

There is, of course, one controversial V word: volunteer. Volunteers can be a great help in supplementing a library’s work, I’m one myself, but should never be a substitute for paid library staff. I’ve written on this blog about volunteers before, so I’m not going to repeat myself. In any case, I couldn’t do half as well as Dawn Finch who absolutely nails it in her post The harsh truth about volunteers. Go read it now!

Ok, that makes up for the fact that I don’t have much in the way of quotes to give you! Here’s Kurt Vonnegut:

I am eternally grateful for my knack of finding in great books, some of them very funny books, reason enough to feel honored to be alive, no matter what else might be going on.

Do you have any other suggestions for V?

What’s good about libraries? U

Library A to Z: UI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with U?

Understanding; unemployment (supporting job seekers); unexpected; universal; universal credit (support); unlimited; uplifting.

Quotes are thin on the ground from here to the end of the alphabet. John Updike in praise of books:

Smaller than a breadbox, bigger than a TV remote, the average book fits into the human hand with a seductive nestling, a kiss of texture, whether of cover cloth, glazed jacket, or flexible paperback.

Do you have any other suggestions for U? One from Twitter (thanks @jayandrew25) is user groups. Jay is in the process of setting one up in her local area after a productive meeting with library representatives. Any more?

What’s good about libraries? T

Library A to Z: TI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with T?

Tablet computers (e.g. iPads); teachers (supporting schools); teaching / training (librarians teaching); teens; toys; treasure hunts; trusted.

Quotes for T:

Elizabeth Taylor: The privilege we have in this country to borrow books from our public libraries is quite wonderful, really. It empowers all of us to keep on learning and exploring throughout our lives. That’s very special, because life is all about growing, changing and opening ourselves up to new ideas and information.

Hazel Townson: Your library is precious – use it or lose it.

Barbara Tuchman: To a historian libraries are food, shelter, and even muse.

Mark Twain: A public library is the most enduring of memorials, the trustiest monument for the preservation of an event or a name or an affection; for it, and it only, is respected by wars and revolutions, and survives them.

Do you have any other suggestions for T?

What’s good about libraries? S

Library A to Z: SI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with S?

Safe (place); scanners; school visits; serendipity; sexual health (information about); sharing; silver surfers; skills; social literacy; social media; spelling; Sshh! (a quiet place to work/study); statistics; stereotype breaking; storytime; students; study; study space (to think and work); summer reading challenge.

Plenty of good S quotes!

Carl Sagan: I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries.

Herbert Samuel: A library is thought in cold storage.

Marie de Sevigne: When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it.

Sidney Sheldon: Libraries store the energy that fuels the imagination. They open up windows to the world and inspire us to explore and achieve, and contribute to improving our quality of life. Libraries change lives for the better.

Alexander Smith: I go into my library, and all history unrolls before me.

Iain Crichton Smith: No library that I haven’t loved. My food is books.

Patti Smith: The library was my salvation. Through the library I got to see the world, to read books from every century. It was my temple.

Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler): A library is like the best person you know – politely quiet but endlessly informative, amazingly knowledgeable but charmingly discreet, open to everyone but subject to your every whim, and, sadly, flammable if one isn’t careful. Be careful with yours.

Do you have any other suggestions for S?

What’s good about libraries? R

Library A to Z: RI’m following the A to Z Challenge by posting every day in April (except Sundays) about the importance of libraries. I’m using the Library A to Z advocacy materials and a small selection of quotations in each post.

What good things about libraries begin with R?

Reading; recommendations; reference books; references; relaxing; reminiscence; research; resources; retirement; rhyme time.

Some great R quotes:

Keith Richards: When you are growing up there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully: the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equaliser.

Jim Rohn (management speaker and author): Everything you need for better future and success has already been written. And guess what? All you have to do is go to the library.

Roger Rosenblatt: If a man spends enough time in a library, he may actually change his mind. I have seen it happen.

Carl Rowan (journalist and diplomat): The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history.

Daniel M Russell: One of the more powerful research tools you can have is a library card. (From his blogpost 5 reasons why you should have a library card.)

Do you have any other suggestions for R?