Crowd-funded A to Z promotes diverse role of libraries

Crowd-funded A to Z promotes diverse role of libraries

A group of librarians have launched a new crowd-funded project called the Library A to Z, designed to promote the role of public libraries.

More than 150 backers, as well sponsor the Library Campaign, backed the Library A to Z on crowd-funding site Kickstarter, raising more than £4,500, twice the original fundraising goal, to put it into action.

As a result, a visual A to Z has been created, celebrating the range of services, resources and facilities that make up modern libraries. The campaign has come up with a book, a set of cards, posters and greeting cards, with illustrations by Josh Fihol. The creators hope library staff and supporters will be able to use the materials to promote libraries in their community and to political decision makers.

All the materials can be freely downloaded from the Library A to Z site for reuse under a creative commons licence, while print versions can be bought online, with money reinvested into producing more free materials.

Example letters include "W is for warmth; well being; wifi (free), wisdom; workshops; world wide web", and "A is for access; advice; answers; art; astronomy; audio books; author events." Each page of the book also includes stories from library users taken from the Voices from the Library site, about the positive impact of libraries.

The campaign was begun by public librarian Gary Green, a founder member of Voices for the Library, and researcher Andrew Walsh.

Walsh said on the group's Kickstarter: "At [library conference] Library Camp East, Gary from Voices for the Library proposed a session to crowd source an A to Z of words that reflected the positive activities and values of libraries, as well as positive representations in books, songs, films and other media…We hope that supporters will use these as advocacy tools, sending them to people who may need persuading of the positive benefit of libraries."

As well as being available for the public, the Library A to Z book and other materials will also be sent to politicians, including members of the cabinet, to mark its launch this week.