The Why, How, and What of Library Advocacy

The audio isn’t great for the first half but it gets better later.

It’s not a well kept secret that I do love a good TED talk (or five). When I’m feeling like I’m out of creative energy and need a recharge, I watch a bunch right in a row. Pretty soon, it is late at night when I’m supposed to be asleep and my brain is trying to assimilate the ideas, thoughts, and concepts that have just been presented to it. If there is a cure for insomnia, this is the opposite of that endeavor.

From Simon Sinek’s talk, he talks about the model for how good leaders and companies effectively communicate. It’s the idea that people buy into the purpose over the actual product; that people are attracted to the ideas and emotions more than the actions. Here’s the part that grabbed my attention:

Why? How? What? This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t. Let me define the terms really quickly. Every single person, every single organization on the planet knows what they do, 100 percent. Some know how they do it, whether you call it your differentiated value proposition or your proprietary process or your USP. But very, very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. And by "why" I don’t mean "to make a profit." That’s a result. It’s always a result. By "why" I mean: what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care? Well, as a result, the way we think, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. It’s obvious. We go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing.

(The short version for people who have not seen the clip is that most organizations advertise in a “What they do/How they do it/Why they do it” pattern. Effective individuals and groups communicate in the reverse; they talk about Why-How-What they are doing or believe in. If something I write is a bit confusing, it is in reference to the talk. It’s a medium length video clocking in at fifteen minutes and it is totally worth the time.)

It got me thinking about this idea as it relates to library advocacy. Are the majority of advocacy efforts communicating in a What-How-Why pattern?

Consider this.

How often do libraries lead off with a ‘what’ type of statement in their materials? (“BumbleEff library circulates 750,000 items a year.” “Over 1,000 children have come to our story time programs.” “The library has 180,000 visitors last year.”) I mean, look at these statements. Who doesn’t know that the library lends items? Or their library has story times for kids? Or that as a public building you can actually visit it? I would say that (with few possible exceptions) there isn’t much of a doubt as to what the library does. People borrow books, movies, and other stuff. They have computers that you can use. If you have kids, they have monthly story times. You can read the newspaper there. People in general know what the library does; all these numbers is remind them of what they already know about the library. Sure, you could list all the things that the public might not be aware of, but that’s like tossing out attributes in the hope that one will resonate with someone. The public evaluates it as it relates to them, not so much as it relates to the community as whole. 

In turning to the ‘how’, it can be very hit or miss as to how the materials, services, and programs of the library come to exist. In providing a ‘how’, it tends to be based in finances; it makes mention of return of investment numbers, the local or state per capita spending, or the savings involved in group contracts or a robust interlibrary loan system. When staff are mentioned, the terms hover around adjectives such as dedicated or professional, the same sort of words used to describe upper tier restaurants and spas. It’s not exactly inspiring in the slightest nor explanatory as to how things come into being at the library.

As to the last area, the ‘why’, I find myself wondering if I’ve seen a good ‘why’ explanation offered by libraries. I’m talking about more than just offhand statements like “promote literacy” or “provide internet access” because those are simply superficial expressions of purpose.  It’s the equivalent of a mother declaring that she provides her child with maternal care; while technically correct, it doesn’t delve into any emotional or intellectual depth that the institution and the people who work there bring to this equation. It is these vapid declarations masquerading around as high minded philosophies that fail to make the personal connection between the library and the communities that they serve.

Just like Simon’s talk, I propose to reverse the manner in which the library advocates. Start by showcasing the ideas and emotions behind the why, present the how as the method for putting the why into action, and leaving the what as a footnote to the whole thing.

In addressing the ‘why’ of the institute and the profession, Simon offers basic questions that can be used to work it out. Why does the library exists? What purpose does it serve? Why did you choose to be a librarian? Why should people care about the library? It’s deeper than a love for books or helping out kids and adults with their homework. It has to lay bare the essence of the library and librarian in their societal role from its Enlightenment rooted beginnings to the distant future. In attempting to address this myself, here is what I feel (in regard to the public library):

The public library is a community supported public institution that provides knowledge access and information literacy education. Built on the ideals of supplementing public education, supporting individual self improvement, and providing materials and services for those in the community who would otherwise go without, the public library is a champion for intellectual freedom and personal curiosity. My work at the public library is important to me because I believe it is one of the greatest ways in which to support the new knowledge economy as well as improve the lives of the community members. Each and every day is a chance for me to change the life of someone who walks through the door, from a simple act of public service to providing or creating intellectual and social opportunities. A public library is an act of community altruism which creates happier and enriched fellow citizens.

The gist of the ‘why’ argument is based in the personal emotional drive of the library as an institution. My example is far from a perfect logical argument, but it is why I believe the library exists and why I have chosen it as an occupation. It is authentic in its telling and belief, invoking an appeal that goes beyond the surface and the numbers. This is what the ‘why’ drives at: the raw emotional core that makes an appeal at a completely emotional and ideal level.

In pivoting to the ‘how’ aspect for libraries, I believe it needs to address all of the moving parts of the library. It is drawing back the curtain and taking people down the path of what is required to arrange the materials, services, and staff for daily operation. Beyond what is immediately apparent, it is touting the expertise of staff in selecting books and preparing programs; the coordination and planning of personnel to ensure the acquisition and flow of materials (both print and online) at and between locations and on the website; and the use of budget as it relates to furthering the core mission of the library. For example, it is one thing to say that the children’s collection is selected by staff; it is another to say that the staff are former teachers with years of experience in both settings. It is showcasing the process and the people who carry it out that reveal more about the character of the institution. For me, the ‘how’ is a marriage of the fiscal wizardry and value of the library to the talent of staff and the individuals who choose the books and databases, prepare or schedule the programs, and maintain the quality of the institution.

Last, in presenting the ‘what’ of the library, it is about offering a course of action to support it. What can people do to support their library? Should they be asked to donate money, time, and materials? Which politicians or newspapers should they write to and what should they say? Could they offer to teach programs or tutor others? How can they raise funds for their Friends or association? Can they serve on the library board? Who can they call to gather support and what should they say? As I have stated previously, everyone knows what the library does but most don’t know what to do to support it. This is a chance to ask for their help, to inform them as to what is required, and to make supporting the library a truly community effort.

As I glance back over the preceding paragraphs, I think this might be an uncomfortable tact for some of my peers to consider. It takes us down a different direction, perhaps unproven in their eyes. The current advocacy strategies, while far from perfect, have been proven to work in a varying degree of success. The abandonment of those stalwart arguments might be perceived as a gamble. For myself, it is a necessary step for the continuation of libraries. I believe that libraries will lose in the long run if they stick to simply ‘what’ they do. That is a numbers game that will be set aside against a digital data future that is only getting faster, larger, and more accessible. What cannot be denied in that numbers game is the ‘why’ of existence of libraries and it is there that the appeal lays. The principles and purpose that lay within the institution are the keys to saving it when it reaches out and touches their inner idealist.

In a world where people accept ideas on the basis of their authenticity, I believe it is within our best professional interests to present library advocacy in terms of why, how, and what. For while our collections change, our principles and mission do not. Let those be our strengths in the battles ahead.

<Insert Clever Library Porn Story Name Here>

From the NY Post:

Shakespeare’s plays, Einstein’s theories — and porn queen Jenna Jameson’s steamy online sexcapades.

New Yorkers can take their pick at the city’s public libraries, thanks to a policy that gives adults the most uncensored access to extreme, hard-core Internet smut this side of the old Times Square.

The electronic smut falls under the heading of free speech and the protection of the First Amendment, library officials say.

The article goes on in the typical porn-in-the-library Mad Libs manner: ordinary citizens outraged at the very idea while library officials offer stale free speech and First Amendment snippets. The only issue I can see is the poor timing for New York City library advocacy efforts as they combat cuts to their systems. It take the steam out of all the efforts to highlight all of the good things that the public libraries do for their community and focuses it on a tiny minority of computer users. It’s rather unfortunate, really, and I hope this issue fizzles in the media.

The Greatest Library Funding Idea Ever Written

There’s no subtle way of delving into it, so I’ll just lay it out there: this evening, I went to see the new Morgan Spurlock documentary, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. It’s a film about brand sponsorships in movies… and the movie itself is paid for by brand sponsorships. It’s a vastly entertaining movie on the process (from start to finish) of how advertising and entertainment are joined at the hip, the former funding and influencing the latter. And I really, really enjoyed it.

On the drive home, I thought about sponsorships as a means of funding the library. This is not a new idea by any means, so there is a certain amount of moving old bones into new graves on this blog post. But in the last two years, the sources of funding for public and school libraries have failed like nothing else. The budget cuts are well documented and well known (for non-librarians reading this, try this Google search covering the last three years) but the government funding forecast continues to look bleak. There have been victories in terms of raising tax levies and finding other public funding, but in most cases it is not a sustainable funding model for the future.

The ideal of the public institution for the common benefit is no longer good enough to win the budget day anymore; the common anti-public library refrain is that “I don’t want my tax dollars paying for other people’s entertainment/literature/ computer use”. Compared to the relative status of police, fire, ambulance, and even sanitation, the library is perceived as a luxury community expenditure. In taking money from interested corporations, public librarians can tell those anti-library people that their money is no longer being used for that. School librarians have been proven to be effective in raising achievement in schools; if taxpayers can’t or won’t foot the bill, why not pay for it through advertising and marketing money? Schools, once thought off limits, are now using advertising to meet their budgets. (There is a disconnect between wanting the best education for our nation’s children and paying that bill, but I digress.) So, why not libraries?

We have markets that companies want to reach through advertising. Whether it is book readers, movie watchers, internet users, or story time attendees, these are all representatives of desirable demographics. The library is uniquely positioned in the community since there is no other institution or entity (public or private) that does we do. There are aspects to the library that could hold unique appeal to both library vendors and non-library companies on that basis. And, to put it in some additional perspective, it’s a relatively unexplored market.

As much as people might find this idea reprehensible, here’s a incontrovertible fact: a closed library helps exactly zero people. You can explain your adherence to the “the ends don’t justify the means” principle while you stand on the front step of your closed library to the job hunters and students being turned away. I believe that the tough economic times call for consideration of other avenues of funding and revenue, especially from sources that libraries may have shied away from in the past. Where public funding has failed I think corporate funding can fill in some of the gaps to keep the doors open for both the public and students alike.

The fair rebuttal question to ask of this idea is “where does it stop once you introduce advertising to a library setting?” To be honest, I don’t know but I’d like to imagine I would know it when I saw it. Is the “Gale Cengage Computer Center” too far? No, I don’t think so. Is the “Playaway Presents Time for Twos: Story Time Program for Toddlers” too far? No, I don’t think so either. Would taking time at the start of a crafting program to announce and thank sponsor Jo Anne Fabrics while making promotional material be too far? Perhaps to some, but not to me. Considering how the Friends and Trustees of the library fund and support programs (hell, we even have a sign in our library to display when they do), how is that any different than offering a corporate advertisement? There are extreme cases we should avoid (like a 3-6 year old story time where the children sing commercial jingles or recommending books based on sponsorship and not patron desire), but I think it can be handled in a manner which is in line with our core mission while benefiting a corporate sponsor.

I feel there is a certain hypocrisy to the rejection of sponsorships and product placement in the library world. The major state and national conferences that we attend are not exclusively funded by registration fees. They have sponsorships where library vendors pay money to get their name on the front of the program book, on the websites, and on every advertising piece that goes out. It ranges from the free ice cream that is handed out at the New Jersey Library Association conference, the open bar exhibitor reception at Computer in Libraries, and funding some of the major speakers at the American Library Association Annual conference. Some might revolt at the idea of the “Harlequin Romance Section” at their library, but have no issue picking up advance reader copies or other swag from the publisher’s booth. You cannot curse it at one end while seeking to exploit it at another.

For the libraries that are well supported, this kind of funding should not be a consideration. For the libraries that are facing budget gaps, it should be a viable option put on the table. There is only so much materials, so many hours, and so many staff members you can cut before the operation becomes wholly inefficient to its mission. Like the movie poster for Morgan’s movie says, “We’re not selling out. We’re buying in.” And what we get for buying in is staying the business of helping our patron communities. At the end of the day, that is what matters.

***

Like I said at the top, there is no subtle way of approaching this as a blog topic. In putting links to the filmmaker, the movie, and providing my own personal endorsement, I’ve inserted a variation of product placement in my blog post (sans compensation but staying faithful to the unwritten blogging credo of citing and referencing the subjects being addressed). I’ve just sent this blog entry with a product placement/endorsement to over 1,000 blog subscribers, over 200 Facebook fans, and since I’ll tweet this post several times, over 2,300 Twitter followers. This will be in addition to whatever incoming links I might get from other bloggers (both from this post or from previous links) or if/when my posts get picked up by American Libraries Direct which goes out to the tens of thousands of American Library Association members. Between all those tweets, Facebook shares, and emails, those who actually read the post will see that I went to a movie, liked it, and then wrote about it. (To steal a line from Morgan in the movie, “dozens and dozens” of people will end up actually reading this.)

In looking back, I can see everything that I have, in essence, advertised: from “People for a Library Themed Ben & Jerry’s Flavor” Facebook group to the Edublog and Salem Press Awards to a permanent link to my Mover & Shaker profile on Library Journal and even talking about how I advertised myself to boost my Facebook author page. And that’s just the stuff off the top of my head.

So long as we are talking about self marketing and self promotion, if I really wanted to utilize the blog space to pay some bills I could sell the banner spot, buttons on the side of the sidebar of the blog, even put a banner and link at the base of all of my posts. Of course, it is a matter of proving value (or in other words, my brand); while I get thousands of views a month (a small number compared to some of the other librarian bloggers out there), I would say that I’m widely read by all the right librarian people. “Do you want your library products to reach library thought leaders and futurists? Then I’m your guy. Send me an email and let’s talk!”

And Morgan, if you’re reading this: first, thanks for an enjoyable and informative movie. You do excellent work that makes people think. I laughed as I drove home and looked at all the advertising I saw on the way. Second, I’m biased but I would hope that you’d be interested in doing a documentary of libraries (or at least an important information issue like the inadequacy of current copyright or the digital divide). I’d be happy to answer any curiosities you might have even if it’s just for yourself. Third, if you have any thoughts about the idea of advertising libraries, please feel free to leave a comment. It would be most welcome, especially as someone coming from outside the library world.

Thank you.

(By the way, the only potential result I fear from this blog post is being haunted by the ghost of Bill Hicks.)

Murder by the Numbers

support_your_local_library

The graphic to the right was passed around the online library world during the recent National Library Week. My reaction to the infographic was a bit different than others; specifically, I was a bit perturbed. While it is pleasant to look at and certainly has good design to it, it’s the data represented that made me wonder why anyone would think that this was a ‘good’ library support graphic.

I’ll explain it in sections.

image

First, take a look at the list of most popular topics. Then, take a look at program topics at your local public library. Or you can do what I did and take a very non-scientific randomly chosen look at the programs being offered in the public libraries of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Denver. With cooking as the #1 most popular topic, only Los Angeles had anything with cooking in it consisting of three programs with two of aimed at younger audiences. I personally only know of one other library that has done cooking programs and that’s the Princeton Public Library. For a topic that two-thirds of the public say they are interested in, we are missing the programming boat on this one.

Health or medicine is a hit-or-miss affair as well, depending on the topics covered. There were at least a handful of programs ranging from finding health information online to children and mental health to (I’m not kidding) ancient secrets to looking & feeling younger. For my own library, we’ve had flu shot clinics and occasional programs for health and well being but the attendance for that is sporadic. As to politics and current events, I can’t find any events whatsoever. (Given how charged the political atmosphere is and the proclivity of librarians to think that it is a professional obligation to be politically neutral, I’m not really too shocked on this one.)

The four major public libraries turn the corner when it comes to business and careers. You can’t swing a cat without hitting a job resume class or business plan assistance. Finally, a topic we can say that we are addressing even if it only covers one-third of those people polled. The same can’t be said for travel/vacation and self-help/psychology programs which simply drop off the chart. (Not that we should consider dabbling in the self-help area given our basic difficulties helping ourselves to take action on a number of topics.)

Back to the question at hand: are public libraries actually in touch with the topics of interest? Our programming doesn’t reflect the interests as collected by the survey. While I will concede that a cooking program could require equipment not generally found in libraries, I would counter and say that either the equipment can be brought in or consider reaching out to the community and finding a kitchen (restaurant, culinary college program, or otherwise) that could host a cooking program. It’s just a matter of some ingenuity to start matching our programming to the topics that patrons are most interested in.

image

Second, this section of the graph leaves me a bit perplexed. Is it a cut of 56% from the 2009 number? Or is it a 56% total cut from a year not shown (presumably when funding was at a high point)? If I was to read this literally from left to right, it’s a 40% cut of the 2008 allocation followed by a 56.4% cut of the 2009 allocation followed by 62% cut of 2010’s. (Translated: If 2008 was $100 million, then 2009’s cut would leave $60 million, 2008’s cut would leave $26.16 million, and 2011’s cut would leave $9.9 million or 1/10th of what allocated in 2008. This cannot be.)

Also, where are the actual dollar numbers? While percentages are nice, numbers give a better sense of context to the cut. Otherwise, this looks like a USA Today bar chart graphic.

image

*sigh* And now we arrive at the 30 Helens Agree* section of the graphic.

Third, to me this graphic section represents a disconnect between statements and action. I am guessing I could get the same high agreement numbers with phrases like “Birthdays should be fun” and “As an adult, I should be allowed to eat Oreos for breakfast”. Everyone might agree to these statements, but I don’t see these numbers translating into political support. Hence, there is a disconnect between these saccharine sweet statements (“I love puppies!”) and getting these so-called library supporters to call their school board, administration, or town or state officials.

Considering the high amount of agreement, you would imagine that some budget decision makers fall into that overwhelming majority (whether they are superintendents, deans, or politicians). The advocacy job should be easy in theory, but across the country librarians and their supporters are getting pounded at the decision making level. While some have been able to rally support for ballot questions for public libraries, that’s not a slam dunk either as the agreement percentages might suggest. I can’t think of any school libraries that have been saved due to the belief that “school library programs are an essential part of the educational experience because they provide resources to students and teachers”. Although, you could nuance it and say that the statement references school library programs and not school librarians. (If someone has evidence to contradict this last point, please share. I’d rather like to be proven wrong on this one and that school librarians have been saved because of this or a similar belief.)

Considering how abstract the context of the statements are (so, how much tax money would it take?), it’s hard not to agree with them. It goes to prove that people like libraries in theory, they just aren’t thrilled when they get the bill. To me that represents a dangerous area for touting those agreement percentages for it lulls library advocates into a false sense of security when it comes to drumming up actual financial support for the library. People will agree to a statement like that but it doesn’t mean they’ll actually carry out the steps required to support it.

And, I have to wonder aloud, who are these people who disagree with these statements? Are they the ones who were just honest enough to say “No, I disagree” by actually thinking about what would be required? Are these the same one out of six dentists who say that you don’t need to brush after every meal? They can’t all be old cranks whose idea of government spending is “anything so long as it is on me”. Who are these people? They walk among us!

 

So, there we have it: our program offerings do not match those topics which are the most interest to our patrons, the numbers just tell us that we are down from where we were before, and that flowery pro-library statements are nice for people to agree to. I can’t hold the infographic creator Archives.com entirely responsible for this since the data is coming from our own sources (Library Journal, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and ALA). But rather than simply passing a feel good pretty graphic, a little consideration should be given to the contents. It might have more than what it appears to say.

 

* 30 Helens Agree was a recurring sketch by the comedy troupe The Kids in the Hall. Here’s a clip that will get 30 librarians to agree.

The Right Stuff

On the drive to work today, I was thinking about the last couple of blog posts and listening to the radio. The overall point that has been pressed is what the current older generation of librarians have done for the field: the expansion of the total number of libraries, the creation of the modern online catalog, modern shared sources and databases, and other advances in information access and sharing systems. Even with all that, I really can’t get past the haphazard funding models. How could there be so much heavy lifting in one area and inconsistency in another?

During that drive, it hit me: libraries are a lot like NASA

Over the years, NASA has built rockets for taking all sort of payloads into space. They’ve created a re-usable space craft that has served in hundreds of missions. They have constructed a pair of space stations (first Skylab, now the International Space Station). The scientific experiments that are carried out during the missions or on the space stations provided key scientific data that cannot be replicated on Earth. They have put men on the moon, probes and rovers onto other planets, and spacecraft that have exited our solar system for parts unknown. The Hubble Space telescope has returned images from the edges of the expanding universe, a glimpse of the primitive moments of the universe after the Big Bang. It has shown us the wonders of the universe.

But when it comes to funding… well, it’s a mixed bag. It even has its own Wikipedia entry to chart the relative flatness or decline of funding since the 1960’s. But for such a respectable institution that brings scientific advances and greater understandings of Earthly problem through experiments in space, how is it that the funding remains relatively flat? Don’t people see the value and merit of what they do?

And so it is with libraries. I’m preaching to the choir on this one, so I will spare the rehashing of library value. But for all the things that NASA and libraries do on behalf of society, for whatever reason it becomes a hard sell. Overall, both have the same likeability factor. People say that they are provide useful items to society. But when it comes to the funding, there is a disconnect. The talk becomes that the cost is too high, the area of effect is haphazard, and that people simply don’t see the need anymore. And for all the advances and technologies that have been built by NASA engineers, for all the information networks and growth that librarians have built over the years, it can far too easily get set aside when the value is not articulated to those who control the budgets. That’s a serious problem.

Despite my sloppy handling on the Sunday Speculation post, I did receive one answer to the underlying question as to what happened to the political and financial relationships between libraries and their communities. Stephen Abrams wrote:

The simplest answer is that those people and the people/politicians they built the relationship with retired or were voted out of office. These relationships need to be continuously cultivated, evolved and sustained, and worked on through the political process and through association work. As can be noted ad nauseum, many next gen librarians (certainly not all) have abandoned library associations (I have seen the demographic and renewal membership numbers) and, according to research surveys, distrust the political process and vote/participate at very low rates on top of GenX being a small generational cohort. So we’re in a Catch 22. How do we engage the next generation of advocates in library issues?

It’s a good question. I don’t recall anything in the graduate coursework about building and maintaining relationships with funding bodies. Should the MLS programs start addressing this issue through coursework? Within my own state, I’ve seen advocacy sessions offered during the state conference and a single day conference. Should this be something that state associations are doing on a year round basis? There are certainly people within the field who have had tremendous success building these relationships. Should they be tapped as mentors, role models, and consultants for libraries looking to improve their standing?

I’d be interested in seeing how this issue was handled historically and what the profession will do about it at the future. What do you think is the best approach? Should this be something in the core classes at MLS programs? Or is it really something you learn on the job with mentors, conferences, and workshops?

***

On a related note, I am finding the discrepancy between the number of replies from the Sunday Speculation and the Mea Culpa post rather interesting. I would have thought the idea of competencies and metrics for evaluating members of the profession would have gotten a stronger response. With the number of complaints about the younger generation of librarians that went with some of the replies for the Sunday post, I would have surmised that people had a specific idea of what they wanted a librarian to be able to do in terms of job skills and abilities. For all the insults that were hurled in my direction in regards to being a young librarian, there is a notable silence when it comes to actual expectations. In building this new gilded age of libraries, what are the skills, abilities, and knowledges that young librarians should know and/or look to master?

“Libraries’ missions have not changed”

From the December 26 Library Link of the Day:

"Libraries’ missions have not changed," Henderson says. "Our mission has always been to get people the information they need in a timely manner, to make sure it’s credible and what they want. The only thing that’s changed is the number of devices they might be able to get it on or the forms they might get it in."

This excellent piece in the Charlestown City Paper gives a wonderfully frank view of libraries and the challenges they are facing. In particular, how there is a natural blending of technology as an augment to the current resources. That is something that I don’t think is emphasized as much as it should be. With the new generations of technology, it means more tools in the library toolbox, not as a complete replacement for the library as an institution. And furthermore, that this new technology allows for the expansion of library services and materials in ways that were only dreamed of ten years ago. Overall, it’s an excellent article and a must read for advocates out there.

Andy’s Library Shirt Giveaway Contest!

A month or so ago, I had an idea for a t-shirt design that I thought ALA could like and use. I contacted my friend Jenny Levine and told her what I had in mind. After talking with ALA Designs and bouncing it back and forth, I’m pleased to say that they will be turning my design idea into a t-shirt! Behold!

ALA-EndangeredREV

The design won’t be available at the ALA store until December 20th, but the good folks at ALA have been nice enough to offer me some t-shirts to give away to my blog readers. So, here’s the deal: between now and 11:59pm on December 20th, you can submit an entry via the link below for a chance at one of five t-shirts. The link only asks for your email. On December 21st, I will choose five numbers via random number generator and contact those people by email as to what size and where they want it sent. Limit one entry per person, US residents only. (Sorry, my UK buds.)

Andy’s Library Shirt Giveaway Contest Entry

[A link because free WordPress hates iframes]

Big thanks to Rachel Johnson and Diane Buck at ALA Graphics for their patience with the design emails and offering t-shirts for a giveaway. You can “like” the ALA graphics Facebook page if you want to get the latest news on new and upcoming ALA products. (While you are there, you can also “like” my author Facebook page.)

Good luck!

[Note: the design itself does not have a black border to it. I just turned on the border on the picture embedding because the background is white as well. Click on it for the full non-black border effect.]