4 January 2021
Image credit: Stephanie McCabe via Unsplash.com.

As we say good-bye to 2020, it is customary to set goals moving into the new year. The promises we make for ourselves generally center on self-improvement and less on the impact we have on our community.

2020 was a year of suffering. From daily death tolls becoming a part of our lexicon to the fight for racial justice, this year has pushed our mental limits. Throughout it all libraries have been there to offer support, relief, and comfort for the individuals they served.

Surviving this unpredictable year is enough without the added pressure of reform. Let 2021 be a year for collective resolutions, the kind that work best when we work towards achieving them together.

The best thing you can do is get involved. At the local, state, and national level, set small goals to make changes which positively affect an institute that is the heart of its community. Become an advocate for your library. Make it your resolution to help spread the word about the value your library offers to neighbors, friends, and decision-makers.

The American Library Association recommend five easy ways to get involved:

  • Tell your library story: If you love your library, let the world know! Visible support helps all library types increase public funding while reminding elected officials that libraries are valued by their constituents.
  • Sign up for action alerts: There’s strength in numbers! Visit www.ala.org/takeaction to sign up for mailing lists to receive action alerts on policy issues affecting libraries.
  • Get a library card: Your options with a library card are literally limitless. In addition to connecting people to information, libraries connect people to people. They are safe havens for kids, after school homework help, games, and book clubs. Libraries provide computer classes enabling older adults to stay engaged in an increasingly digital world, assist with resumes and job searches, offer accurate health and financial information, and much more.
  • Get involved: Find out the needs of your local library. Libraries are advocates for your right to read and your right to reader privacy. Now is the time to advocate for them. Consider volunteering at a book sale, offering to run a program, or by joining a Friends of the Library group. Become the reason your library thrives.
  • Donate: Give the gift that keeps on giving! Support your local library to ensure your local library continues to support you.

There is no better time to take a stand. With libraries consistently being challenged to do more with less, it has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and community members to communicate with others the value of their library.

Our guest blogger today is Victoria Blackmer. Victoria is the Assistant Director at Robert J. Jones Public Library District in Coal Valley, IL. She is also a member of the My Library Is... Advisory Team.