Lauren and I took Urban Librarians Unite’s trusty book cart on up to Albany for Library Advocacy Day. This is my third or fourth trip up to our state’s capitol for library advocacy purposes. While I’m not a fan of leaving the city for any reason, I firmly believe that NY’s libraries need funds, staff, and support in order to thrive. I remain the last hire of my library system before the hiring freezes were instituted. That was almost four years ago. We remain understaffed and underfunded. NYC’s libraries face the threat of layoffs and library closures every single year. This is why I drink, people.
Despite being a little tired from getting up at 5 AM, we were happy to let our elected officials know that libraries are essential.
Our book truck was filled with free ARCs/galleys, all covered with a special advocacy message sticker:
Everyone got all riled up at the rally. I especially appreciated Queens Library’s turnout and enthusiasm:
The rally is also where we unfurled the massive banner we had made in Lauren’s kitchen. You can’t tell from this shot, but each letter was covered in a fine coat of glitter, ’cause that’s how we like it in Brooklyn:
There was some other signage I enjoyed:
Whenever Library Advocacy Day rolls around, I start to get a little tense. I know that I’m in for another year of soul-crushing non-stop advocacy. At the very least, this was a nice way to get the advocacy season started. People were in relatively good spirits. I like to see happy librarians and library workers.
Two side stories:
~~Despite the un-pinking of my hair, the plucking out of my nose ring, and the donning of a relatively not weird outfit, people looked at me really strangely in Albany. Last year, I went in a superhero costume, so the gawking made sense. This year, I even called out a guy who couldn’t stop staring (this was on the sidewalk in town, not in the convention center. I wouldn’t scream at a guy who might be a state senator). I am too weird for Albany and I’m glad to be back in NYC.
~~While at the convention, I noticed another library group wearing We Will Not Be Shushed T-shirts that were nearly identical to the ones made by Urban Librarians Unite. I had asked the librarians where they had gotten the image of the silhouette of the shushing librarian. They said they had gotten it from “free internet clip art”. When I informed them that they had taken Lauren’s artwork for their own use without asking for permission, they became defensive. While Lauren will sometimes let an outside group use the logo for their advocacy purposes, it’s customary and just plain nice to at least ask an artist before you slap their work on your lime green t-shirt. This group of librarians was not apologetic and it was a frustrating way to end the day.
The thing is, we sell our library shirts to raise money for Urban Librarians Unite. The proceeds go to our advocacy efforts. So, if you’re going to pay for shirts to be printed up, why not buy ours? The money goes to a good cause AND you won’t be stealing the work of an artist (which is totally rude).
~Love and Libraries, Ingrid