Sunday, May 25, 2014

The State of the State of the Libraries

I was reading the 2014 State of American Libraries report, as I have done every year since getting into librarying, when it struck me that I should stop because they are always pretty much the same.

Americans love libraries!  Libraries are innovating!  There are challenges to face and here are a couple!  The government is bad but please government increase funding for us!

It’s good to hear but it’s kind of a broken record, and at this point it actually seems kind of self-indulgent.  

How about instead of enumerating these things over and over again (and burying the examples of actual innovation deep within the pages of the report), we bring our greatest ideas to the fore and present them for the American people’s consideration and approval?

And I would love it if we could lose the bland, neutral writing style with its rote rhythm and absolute lack of stylistic variety.  Do you think Stan Lee would be open tor taking over the writing duties?

Our savior?

(The few examples of more colorful writing in this year’s report are welcome but kinda underline the overall problem.)

I get that a report of statistical findings--with all the white bread the idea entails--is important and serves a role.  So okay, let’s not nix next year’s State.  But how about a companion piece, more a “missions accomplished” announcement than a status report?  Take all of those great programming and outreach initiatives that the report hides deep in its guts and splash them all over the Internet in glossy, sparkly form.  

And not just on Tumblr.  There is a bigger world out there.

We deserve to crow a little.  We do great things, and this year’s State made me swell with pride at some of our successes in 2013--when I got to them.  

Stan will be at ALA this year; what a great opportunity to pitch him on writing for us.  Who better to let the world in on the fact that we’re superheroes?

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh! Stan at the ALA! Maybe even I might go! Seriously I agree with what you're saying. Any time I read an article about libraries that is all they usually speak about.