Thing 16: Advocaat, Avocadoes and Avocets

Thing 16 is all about Advocacy, speaking up for the profession and getting published.  Let’s start with “getting published”.  Never Gonna Happen.  NEXT!

This is where the title of the post comes in.  I’ve been trying to write this blog post for ages.  So long in fact that I’ve drifted off into the realms of fantasy where I was going to announce that I was a very good Library Avocado thanks.  Then @ggnewed beat me to it in a tweet about Advocaat and then @lynncorrigan brought in Avocets courtesey of the RSPB.

I was still debating on what to write when I caught some of the advocacy “debate” on Twitter late this afternoon between some individuals.  This saddened and infuriated me.  How dare there be a suggestion that just because not all of us rush out and get into advocacy, that we are in the wrong job!!  Saddened that so-called professionals feel the need to denigrate those that don’t take part.  How on earth can we hope to speak up for the profession, as a profession, when half of us are bad-mouthing the other half!

I would say that most Librarians, qualified or not, professional or not, & assistants working in the world of library and information do some form of advocacy at some level.  I do.  But then it’s couched in veiled terms on my job description under Marketing.  I promote, market, talk about our LRC every day.  I hand out flyers, postcards, badges and bookmarks all with the message “we’re here, you need us, we can help” (or words to that effect).  The LRC Manager also advocates but on a higher level than I.  The assistants also carry out some form of advocacy.  They may not realise it, but in effect they too are promoting the LRC and how important our service is to the students, staff and college community.

I would be very uncomfortable going down the “activist” route. I have no inclination to be a library activist but feel I do what I need to do for my place of work, I also take part in promoting other libraries when I feel it is right for ME to do so.  This is my choice.  I do not need other “professionals” telling me what I should be doing, and, that if I’m not doing it then I’m in the wrong job.

We should all be working together on this one, each individual doing what they can, when they can, without fear of ridicule or criticism.  Because once that rears its ugly head you are heading for division.  Each and everyone of us has a part to play,  accept that.

Accept that what works for some does not necessarily sit comfortably with others.

Most importantly remember that “United we stand, divided we fall”.

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4 thoughts on “Thing 16: Advocaat, Avocadoes and Avocets

  1. Hear, hear, well said! i took ages pondering over my own post on Advocacy, and then writing it took even longer. We all do our stuff, promoting the library and the services we provide. How many times has someone said to you “You don’t look like a librarian!” Only for you to answer that we don’t have a stereotype, it’s not all about books anymore, etc, etc. That’s sticking up for the libraries in a way.

    We also have to protect our own backs. Do as much as you feel comfortable doing. You have a job and want to keep it in the current climate and therefore anyone would be reluctant to go further than they are comfortable going.

    I’ve not personally had any comments for not standing up for the profession before and I am, to be honest, surprised to hear that you have. The profession in my experience has been friendly and helpful and always happy to help out others.

    Keep at it Sarah, you’re doing a brilliant job as you are.

  2. Great post. I had written a post about this and another blog post that had upset me and left me questioning whether I was doing the right thing in pursuing a career as a librarian but I got scared and deleted it before I could post it.

    I agree so much with what you say, thank you.

  3. Polyxena

    Good post. The other thing that gets to me in this debate is that someone needs to just do the work in libraries. Just because people arent out on hustings doesnt mean they are not supporting libraries. They do it every day in tgeir work with community.

    1. sarahgb

      Exactly. I abhor all this “if you’re not with us, you don’t care” attitude. It shows a distinct lack of understanding about how librarians carry out their roles within the work place.

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