The Great Librarian Write-Out!

It’s time for librarians to get out of the echo-chamber of librarianship and get some good words out to the people. So I’m proposing an award (my own personal money) of $250 for the best library-related article to be published in a non-library magazine or journal. Yes, that’s right… My own personal money!! That’s how important this is to me!

There are thousands of amazing writers in our profession who write their own blogs and write for our professional magazines and journals, but rarely (or never) do I see an article written for the public in a major national magazine about how libraries help society in some great way. I don’t think there has ever been a time when such articles should be appearing amidst the news of library closures, resource cutting, and layoffs. Its time that we got the word out about libraries to as many people as possible!!

It seems to me that there are hundreds of topics for articles that could be written that would be applicable to the content of a major magazine. Off of the top of my head I’m thinking

-Saving Businesses Money (or starting a business) with Library Resources
– Forbes
– Entrepreneur
– Fortune
-Business Week

-How someone learned about their cultural identity at the library
– Ebony
– Latina
– Out!

-Pet Care information

But this is only scratching the surface of the possibilities. I could keep going but I think you get the idea. If you want to participate and win $250 for your article published in a non-library journal or magazine, here are the criteria;

-You must be in some way related to the library profession, a library vendor, a patron, a friend of a patron, or at least heard of the idea of libraries at one point in your life.

-It must be a pro-library article speaking positively about the benefits of libraries in some aspect of society and addressing the need for folks to get up and go to the library for some reason or another.

-The article must be printed between February 15 2011, and the first day of the ALA Midwinter Meeting on January 20th 2012

-It must be published in a non-library related magazine or journal with a national (United States) or international circulation. More points will be given to an article in a magazine with the largest circulation, and you will receive bonus points for a feature article.

-You must submit, your name, the title, and date of publication (for verification) by emailing us or commenting below.

The articles will be judged by the members of the Think Tank at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Dallas Texas in 2012. The winner will be announced January 24th 2012.

If you want to help us up the ante for prize money let us know by commenting below or sending us a message. Also, any money raised through our Café Press store will go towards added prizes and awards and other library advocacy projects as well so feel free to shop away!

Please be sure to sign up for the event on Facebook!!

*This event is brought to you by the members of the Think Tank.*
JP Porcarro
Allen McGinley
Jenn Walker
Tiffany Mair
Andrea Davis

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56 thoughts on “The Great Librarian Write-Out!

  1. SUCH a good idea. We are so good at preaching to the choir. This is a very smart way to encourage colleagues to branch out and spread the good word about libraries & librarianship.

    Battle on!

  2. So glad you’re doing this!

    Laura Woods and I have written and (public) spoken about the echo chameber problem and libraries a lot, and one of the gratifying things about the issue is it is one of those things where as soon as you become aware of it, you can immediately start taking steps to remedy the situation! It just needs spelling out, then people think ‘yeah, good point, let’s make some subtle adjustments to our behaviour and start making a difference’.

    Often this can be as simple as, when someone from outside the profession criticises librarianship, chanelling the energies you would have used for writing a riposte on a blog or in a library publication, and using them to write for a newspaper for a non-library magazine.

    Some of the things featured in the ‘Successful escapes’ in the Prezi here – – happened after people had seen our presentation, so it really works to get people talking! And a financial reward is pretty awesome too… 🙂

  3. Just a thought – It probably would work best if people wrote a story (essentially a press release) and sent it to appropriate reporters. Rarely will a publication print an essay – typically it’s someone putting an idea in front of them with enough supporting data to get the writer interested in doing their own story.

    I’m a part-time library student and full-time PR rep.

  4. I’ve got a great idea for an article about my job in a large public library. In fact, my job description is a terrific crowd pleaser at parties: when people ask me what I do, I just might answer, “I find dead people!” If I give it just the right flair, complete with raised eyebrows–a little trick inspired by an optician who, when trying to find contact lenses the right size for me, told me I had unusually large eyes–I’ll get rid of a few annoying people while winning a few others over to my cause: the joys of history and genealogy and the splendid surprises a family-history researcher will find at a good library.

    Now that I’ve said all that, I guess I’ll have to write the article…or risk having someone else beat me to it!

  5. This is a great idea. I graduated from library school the summer of 2010. We always discussed how we can let people outside of the library bubble know how important we are and what we do. Pleading your case to other librarians about why libraries should stay open and get funding does not really help. Politicians and policy makers are not librarians. I am going to give this a try!

  6. Good luck on this! I just now had a chance to read your message. I know how hard it is to place articles in publications outside the library field, but this encouragement may help. I read the comment about the fact that many professional writers often want to write their own stories, and I think that is true, so I would be willing to fund — from my own pocket, of course — a matching award of $250.00 to someone who lays out a story for someone else to write, with the understanding that the first “someone” meets the criteria in your award statement, and that the timing is the same as yours — i.e., published by the same date, etc.
    Let me know if you wish to consider this supportive move. Thanks!

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