Could you be a 'Voice for the Library'?

Free Library Voices is a 'Rotation Curation' project, presenting a new voice each week. @VoicesLibrary is a sister account of @ukpling. Could you be our next 'Voice for the Library'? The story so far...

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  1. @VoicesLibrary originated from an idea we had back in the tail-end of 2012. Voices for the Library (@ukpling) is a group of volunteers who want to give public libraries - and the people who work in them - a voice. We regularly feature stories from people who work in libraries or use libraries. We aim to highlight both the importance of libraries and the services they provided, alongside the value of trained, professional librarians. As the cuts to library services took hold across the UK, the celebratory stories were hidden by posts highlighting the depth and impact of the cuts. In November 2012 we went back to our roots to focus on the positive...
  2. For one week we presented a series of posts exploring the work librarians do across all sectors.  We aimed to demonstrate the diversity in library and information work and to highlight what it is that librarians really do.
  3. The posts demonstrated clearly why library workers are important and still valuable in an environment where there is a misguided belief that everything is available online, and we all have equal access to the Internet. Librarians blogged on their roles in education, healthcare, global development and the arts.
  4. It sparked an idea. The Voices for the Library team have often faced criticism for focusing solely on public libraries. We're a small team of volunteers that do all of the work in our own time. We had neither the time, nor the resources to dilute our core message about the value of public libraries by including news and commentary on issue's in other library sectors. We were also aware that much of the issues that affect public library workers also affected workers in other sectors. Looking for ways to celebrate the forthcoming 'National Libraries Day 2013' we developed the idea of allowing someone to take over our Twitter account for one week only, to provide an alternative 'Library Voice'.
  5. The idea developed a little further. Rather than allowing someone to take over @ukpling, we developed a new account with it's own identity: Free Library Voices. We decided to feature a new voice each day for National Libraries Day - and then depending on the reaction, consider extending the project. This linked in with National Libraries Day 2013 encouraging participation from all library sectors.
  6. We launched late on a Friday night in mid-January. Our first follower was @librarygirlknit. (Thank you!) And by the end of the weekend, we had 100 followers. It was a start. But I was painfully aware that it had taken a me a long time to get to this point, and I'd missed the opportunity to promote it wider in the run-up to National Libraries Day 2013 using traditional media and communication channels.
  7. We used the well-established @UKpling account to promote it, along with messages to JiscMail, posted in LISNPN, LinkedIn and cross-posting on Facebook. 
  8. Around the same time Bobby Newman closed the 'Library Day in the Life' project. I had a moment of self-doubt when I wondered if people would still be interested in reading something like @VoicesLibrary. But I also had an aim for it to be read by people outside of the usual library circle.
  9. But we had a great response from enthusiastic library lovers wanting to get involved.
  10. It took a fair amount of organisation to gather interest, pick a range of people from different library backgrounds, arrange - and rearrange - the schedule to find a day that everyone we wanted to partipate could participate - and send them all the details they needed to get started.
  11. The offer from tweeters kept on rolling in. So we took a deep breath and decided to extend the project to provide 'tweets for a week' in the style of a traditional 'Rotation Curation' project.
  12. The full 'Twitter Takeover' team for National Libraries Day 2013 was announced. 
  13. Our first brave tweeter made her début on Monday 4th February 2013. Tasha (@TashaAJ) kicked off the Twitter Takeover in style. She gave us pictures of home-baked cake, told us about life behind the scene at SunCat, the technical aspects of her role along with the partnership with other libraries to provide accurate records to serials collections available in academic research libraries across the UK. Tasha used her day to raise awareness of the role of Suncat in providing access to serials information, a key resource for many academic libraries.
  14. And continued the traditional love of librarians and their cats... a theme which proved popular on @VoicesLibrary!
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