Sunday, November 11, 2007

Welcome to The LibVocate: Why this blog?

Thank you for visiting my blog. The LibVocate is all about advocacy for libraries, librarianship and information science. Libraries and the progress of civilization go hand in hand, so it seems almost pointless to question why the need for advocacy for such an institutional staple as libraries. According to the ALA (American Library Association) ALA Fact Sheet 1, there are 117, 378 libraries in the United States. The OCLC (Online Computet Library Center) in a 2003 report, Libraries: How They Stack Up, states that US libraries circulate 1, 947, 600,000 items a year, and that "Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey games combined."

Perhaps with such astounding figures one might then actually perceive that libraries seem to be doing quite well and in our age of information surfeit, there is now a greater and wider recognition of the work that library and information professionals perform and the need for advocacy is not really needed.

However, from June 2003, the ALA began monitoring the status of library funding in public, academic, school and state libraries across the United States. As at September 2007, the Library Funding Report to ALA Executive Board (Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2007) reported that "much of the information continues to reflect deep cuts affecting operating hours, staffing, collection and materials acquisition, programming, services, facility expansion and enhancement, and other long-term projects as local, state and Federal sources cut spending and oppose tax increases." So by "following the money" so to speak, the reduction in funds has and continues to have negative effects upon US libraries overall. And so, advocacy must and should continue for these institutions that serve our schools and communities all across this nation and which are windows to the world of information that we all have come to rely on so well: information which many have come to demand with increasing immediacy.

The LibVocate is glad to join the choir of the many other voices that advocate for libraries and the library and information profession. I hope that I will sing in tune and maintain a strong voice so that this blog may continue for for a long time to come.

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