Announcing SaveLibraries.org

It started with an idea…like all projects do.

One of my classes this semester is Media, Culture, and Society. It’s been a great class! For our final project we were each assigned to create a work of pop culture. I knew the project would involve libraries but was not sure how. At one point Tony Tallent and I planned to collaborate on a “Gaga for Libraries” project (imagine a mashup of Flat Stanley with Lady Gaga in libraries).

However in the beginning stages of planning, my own library went into crisis mode as we prepared for an immediate $2 million reduction in our current budget and a looming 50% reduction for the next fiscal year beginning in July.

Last Friday after 148 of my friends and colleagues got “the call” that they were going to be laid off next week, I went to bed hoping to wake up Saturday and realize this had all been a bad dream.

I woke up Saturday and realized it was no dream. I saw how Facebook had become a support system for our staff. I realized that I could either cry or do something.

I immediately turned to my own social networks on Twitter and Facebook for ideas. The domain savelibraries.org was available. Within an hour Blake Carver of LISHost had WordPress up and running thanks to Robin Blum who answered my call for help via Facebook Saturday afternoon.

Heather Braum quickly volunteered to help with the site along with several others.

So let me announce a new resource for libraries, SaveLibraries.org. Our mission is to help raise awareness of the funding crisis libraries are facing. We will serve as an aggregator of news about library budget cuts, closings, and reductions, and compile links to “Save Library” campaigns.

Our slogan is, “When one library is in trouble, ALL libraries are in trouble.” There is a trend happening in this country and it’s one as a society that we should be appalled at. Our libraries represent the freedom and democracy that our country was founded on. Can you think of another place where all are welcome? No matter what your color, religion, or economic status the library is there with open doors.

However when libraries close and communities accept library closings as “the new normal,” then all libraries are in trouble. Other states, other communities, and other politicians are going to get the message that it’s ok. If it was ok for _____________ to close it’s libraries, then it’s ok here.

Well here’s a message. It’s not ok! Especially now. Communities need their libraries more than ever. I realize that we are in a recession. I get that state and local governments are out of money. But as library professionals, it is up to us to come up with a solution. Be a part of the solution!

Together we can make a difference. Together we can come up with a solution. Together we can save libraries!

About Lori Reed

Lori Reed, coauthor of Workplace Learning & Leadership: A Handbook for Library and Non-Profit Trainers, is a learning and communication strategist with more than twenty years experience in learning and development. A 2009 Library Journal Mover & Shaker and a 2010 "One to Watch" for paralibrarians, Lori graduated cum laude from East Carolina University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication. Lori is a certified Synchronous Learning Expert and a North Carolina Master Trainer and has traveled across North America speaking about libraries and training.

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