Proving our worth: the elevator pitch

Great way to not only capture and engage an audience for a library but also a useful tool to use in job applications.

International Librarians Network

Garland Building elevator operators by Angle Torres. Used under CC-BY-NC-ND. Garland Building elevator operators by Angle Torres. Used under CC-BY-NC-ND.

One of the tools we can use to articulate the worth of our libraries is the elevator pitch. This can be a powerful tool to make a quick and memorable point.

The idea of the elevator pitch comes from an imaginary scenario where you are sharing an elevator ride with someone that you want to impress, be it your boss, a senior figure in your funding body, or a stranger that might become a strong advocate (or even donor) for your library. You’ve got somewhere between 30 seconds and two minutes to tell this person something that they will remember, and make them want to seek you out and find out more. What do you say?

Literature on this topic suggests that, in that tiny time frame, you need to cover:

  • Who you are
  • What you, your department, your…

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Do You Public Library? 

Last week, my hubby decided after 16 years of marriage that he had to finally make the big step. He needed to join the local public library! I was driving the mountain roads and this statement almost resulted in a spectacular accident. What? Why? He explained to me that one of his credit card providers offered a newspaper subscription which now had ended.  He really did not want to pay for a subscription as he did not read the newspaper everyday so it was not worth the expense.  Then for the second time and just a few minutes apart he amazed me again with the next comment.  Yes! He did listen to my raving that by just being a member of the public library,  the community can access e-books, audio books, magazines and newspapers on their tablets or other smart devices, anywhere and everywhere. So he deduced, he really did need his own library membership! I agreed that, yes, he really needed to stop using mine (even if it was so infrequent I could count the times on one hand) for borrowing items from the library.

Hubby said he used the public library as a child but really can not remember if he was a member or he borrowed using his mum’s card. As a young adult he studied at university so he was a member of the university library and then when we met and when I would frequent the library he would borrow using my card. So this joining a library, becoming a member, was a momentous occasion.  At least it was to me! Now that has become a member, he has accessed the online services. He is amazed at what is available and spends his evenings discovering and relating this information to me.  

One thing I have discovered is that different public libraries have different providers. The City of Sydney Public Library, which anyone from NSW can become a member (“Library membership is free to all NSW residents, including local people at risk (homeless and refugee status)”), has PressReader which allows readers access to  “Browse through 3000 local, regional and international publications online, with titles from more than 100”. WOW!!! Whilst our local library does not have this access but does have access to many similar things as well as access to NSW State Library but it is not what he requires, so next time we are in the city, guess what we will be doing! 

Are you a member of your local public library? When was the last time you visited either in real life or online? Are you aware of its services it provides? Do you make the most of what your library offers you? 

Yes, I am almost a librarian (in my final year of my degree)  so yes, I am biased towards libraries. I want more people to realise the power that they have access to for FREE!

Check out these two sites out; the first points out why libraries are important for the future of our communities and the second is to prove that librarians are fun people and not the stereotypes many think.  

Whatever You Geek, The Public Library Supports It All

Bruno Mars Uptown Funk Parody: Unread Book 

Why write a blog?

Yesterday, I discovered that I was unsuccessful in obtaining another internship. This was just one of the many of jobs, volunteer positions and internships that I hoped to begin my career.  Being a woman who was fortunate (although some may disagree and there are many times I do as well!) to stay home and raise our four children I feel like I had lost the person I was.  I was someone career oriented and wanted more from life than cafes and lunches, with mums discussing things, but not doing anything extraordinary. This is not to say many workers do anything extra ordinary but I wanted more. So when we moved to a country town in New South Wales, I was not only lonely as I knew no one but also bored. A mum at my girls’ dancing school would always arrive at the studio with a file and a text book and she soon divulged that she was studying online to become a school teacher.  This sounded interesting and I mentioned how I have always wanted to work in a library but had previously been dissuaded by many a librarian that there were no jobs and it was and Information Technology degree, so it was not for the likes of me!

This mum, who I now owe a lifetime of gratitude, looked in Online Universities site and lo and behold there was a BofA in Librarianship and Corporate Information Management and it was run by Curtin University in Perth.  I had previously studied at Curtin so I felt that this was a sign.   I enrolled and began my journey in 2011.  Yes, I have learned that librarians are not about books only. They are a treasure trove in helping others find information or pointing them in the right direction to what they need. They are information literate and are not afraid of the future technologies. They are constantly finding ways to engage and encourage others in knowing more, being more and really in a nutshell, helping others become lifelong and engaged learners. They are so much more than books and I want to be one!

To be like these amazing librarians, one must be continually learning and finding information that is relevant to this profession, so I spend many an early morning interacting on Webinars that are conducted in America and Europe. I previously never recorded what knowledge I had gained from these courses but I will on here.  So this blog will have my thoughts and ideas of what librarians and information specialists are doing and how it is evolving.

What is the Future for Librarians?

The post, Librarians Are Here To Stay, reminded me of a conversation I had with my brother only recently.  He is studying Law and actually said with true concern that I what I am studying is a dying profession.  I tried to explain to him that yes, anyone can Google and find information but librarians can help users disseminate and find relevant information.  There is nothing wrong with ‘Googling’ a topic if you are just finding basic information but if you require this for your profession, legal or health, I would assume you would want factual, current information. There was an article, John Hopkins’ Tragedy: Could Librarians have prevented a death? (posted on 7/8/2001), which highlighted the need for a medical librarian to assist and work with medical researchers. I suspect there are many more examples of where information specialists (librarians) are necessary. Another blog I thoroughly recommend is, R. David Lankes, “is a professor and Dean’s Scholar for the New Librarianship at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies and director of the Information Institute of Syracuse.”  He is an advocate for the future of libraries and argues that information specialist can be of greater assistance in helping others in learning and gaining knowledge, challenging our preconceived thoughts.  This post, Library a Community, highlights, one example of what  is capable of a librarian and how they can be an awesome and integral asset to the community.  Being proactive and stepping out of the building and addressing the needs of the community. Lankes touches on knowledge sharing and how we need to not only think it has to be through books but orally.  He gives the example, of the Italian learning how to make sauce, they don’t go to a book but to their mama. He suggests, we need to give the community, an environment where they can access training/knowledge ‘created by conversation’ to improve society. Librarians need to be more than just another option to Google. We should be so much more we provide learning, openness, intellectual freedom and safety and intellectual honest. I want to be this type of librarian – the proactive and thinking out of the box librarian. One that helps the community in what they want and need not what is always been done and is easiest to continue as long as no one complains.