Members' Advocacy Activities

ADVOCACY: MAKE THINGS HAPPEN

Ngozi Perpetua Osuchukwu (CLN)

Every organization needs strong active communication process that integrate the needed methods, strategies and tactics for the well-being of their clients and smooth operation of their services. One of such communication process is advocacy. The library is indeed, one of such sectors that needs to be in full swing with the people they serve. Advocacy is not a new concept, neither is there something mysterious about it. Advocacy tends to plead in favor of or to support, promote and defend publicly. In other words, it is soliciting the supports of influential persons for library development and services. The idea is to have them stand by you, speak up for you, suggest ideas and protect you from any negative effect.

This is a competitive world where the trend seems to favor one who makes the most noise. So
why should anyone keep mute and distant himself from the people he is supposed to serve? The library and information centers for instance are service oriented organizations that need to regularly gain access, inform, influence and pressure stakeholders for continuous identification and support. The truth remains that, there are limited resources which are being scrambled for, from all quarters. Librarians must get up and get theirs. Just as power is taken and not given, Librarians must work out their tactics and take the center stage. Nobody will give it to them even if they stand by the wayside and play the goody goody.

It is no longer tenable to be a gentleman or a Lady and avoid giving and taking blows. It is no longer acceptable to work at the background and only wish for manna to fall down like it did for the Israelites in the Old Testament. It is not enough to complain and cry without taking action. It is not even enough to tell others to go and talk to somebody while you sit in an armchair as “oga” or madam issuing orders.

Time has come for librarians to stop feeling sorry for themselves. Time has come for librarians to stop neglecting their career. Time has come for librarians to pick up the pieces and justify the years they spent in the tertiary institutions and make their dreams of being the best wherever they are come true. Unless of course, they never had a dream and never care where the wind blows them to. Like the bird that perches on the stem says to the wind, “if you like, swing me to the north, swing me to the south or East or West, you will still bring me back to this spot”. Oh! Well, if any librarian is like this bird, this is not for him/her.

Librarians, who are worth it must embrace advocacy like a good ally and watch things happen
for good. Today’s LIS teaching should produce radical professionals who are ready and willing
to venture into any sector of information and communication.

Who said LIS is all about books and reading? Yes! Librarians care about books and reading as well as other values of life like digital skills and facilitation of access to all forms of information. That is right. Learn it, facilitate it and link it to information service delivery. It is called “attribution of success.”

Librarians care about poverty and hunger and how to eradicate them. Librarians care about health, sanitation and safe water. Librarians care about reading, literacy, ICT and knowledge management. Librarians care about women, children and youth empowerment as well as their inclusive participation. Librarians care about industries, consumption and safe work for all. Librarians care about governance, policies, participation and contribution for national
development. Librarians care about safe cities and communities as well as general environment for sustainability. Librarians care about humanity, planet earth, life on land and in water. Librarians care about collaboration with others, peace and social justice.

Now, are there not many things to search and advocate for? Clearly, with what to advocate for,
the targets to reach out for where or who or when or how become recognizable. The librarians’ workshop is the library which is the most widespread and generally accessible space that provides the general population with free or affordable access to networked resources. It is the only institution that offers free access to knowledge to both the high and the lowly. The society is their testing ground for our facilitations. The good thing is that the world celebrates one international day or the other, every day. So what stops one from picking any global day that costs nothing and have a field day in the host community or any acceptable center? Don’t forget to share in all the social media. Yes! Let the noise resonate, Librarians are part and parcel of the engaging organization. No more dulling.
Hence, it is essential that Librarians blow their own trumpet to be recognized as such.
All these call for concerted advocacy.

Who is with us on this wild value added journey?

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