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Success and empowerment in your library

As my time here as a Google Policy Fellow at the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) wraps up this week, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and helpful as I’ve launched my Living Stories, Living Libraries digital storytelling project. Earlier this week I was invited to conduct a webinar presentation on the project for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM). Dividing the country into eight administrative regions NN/LM includes medical, academic, public, and special libraries, as well as community based health centers focused on improving health information literacy and providing digital skills training.

In the process of learning more about NN/LM, my hypothesis that there are many shared issues and ideals across all library sectors and types was confirmed. Although focused on primarily on medical and academic health-science libraries, NN/LM members work closely with communities to provide public access to quality health information and research, promote digital skills, and provide training and health information literacy outreach. This reaffirmed my conviction that having a platform for members from all types of libraries to share their stories and create a database could be useful for addressing new challenges and sharing new successes across library sectors. Regardless of type, libraries all share the same goals of making information accessible and finding successful ways to engage their communities–and there is much to be learned from the approaches various libraries have applied.

The webinar focused on explaining why an initiative such as Living Stories, Living Libraries can help fill the timely and vital need to collect examples of the diverse ways libraries impact individuals and communities during this time of rapid digital change. The project is intended as a free public relations and sharing platform for libraries to increase awareness about how and why they will remain relevant and valuable players in educating and empowering patrons to use, test, and benefit from new technologies.

Slides from the presentation are available here, and provide an overview of the how the project can be a tool for libraries, the potential value, instructions on how to get involved, and future goals for maximum impact. I ask you to please share the word about this project and perhaps to make your own contribution. My work on Living Stories, Living Libraries will continue… as will my association with ALA OITP, but more about that in a few weeks!

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Margaret Kavaras

Margaret Kavaras served as the 2014 Google Policy Fellow in the Washington Office.

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