Naomi House, MLIS’s interview with Every Library’s Erica.
EveryLibrary is the first and only national organization dedicated exclusively to political action at a local level to create, renew, and protect public funding for libraries of all types. We will provide tactical and operational support to local voter awareness campaigns, seed and sustaining monies to local ballot committees and PACs, as well as conducting direct voter advocacy in support of library taxing, bonding, and referendum. (http://everylibrary.org/about-everylibrary/)
previously published 9/3/13
Naomi: How did you come to work for EveryLibrary?
Erica: John Chrastka first told me about EveryLibrary while we are at a library conference in the summer of 2012. My reaction was a mix of excitement and enormous doubt that this type of Political Action Committee (PAC) had never been formed before. While I had not yet ever heard of a federal level PAC for libraries, it also seemed very common sense. Right after I returned from the conference I did some research on federal and state level library PACs to confirm this had not been done before. I’m not sure how many times I told John Chrastka I was interested in helping EveryLibrary get off the ground and become successful, but it was on my mind often. I was delighted when I got a call from him in late September to be on the Board of EveryLibrary. The rest is history.
Naomi: How can librarians help EveryLibrary?
Erica: There are many possible ways to assist. Two ways come to mind. A librarian can help create awareness for EveryLibrary in their local communities by spreading the word about the organization that can support local library ballot committees during elections. Librarians, as individuals, can also donate to EveryLibrary. For every dollar donated we have helped secure $370 in library funding by empowering local library committees to run successful campaigns.
Naomi: Can you speak a little about your experiences with libraries? Any favorite libraries or experiences with them?
Erica: My professional experience is working at Pacific University Libraries in Forest Grove, Oregon. I am gearing up to teach library sessions as part of a First Year Seminar that is required for all of our freshmen. Teaching is my favorite part of my job. Equipping individuals with research skills will help them be successful students and eventually successful professionals in their area of study.
Naomi: Favorite book?
Erica: I have been getting in to beat poetry. My favorite work is Howl by Allen Ginsberg. I have both heard and read it several times. I am currently reading through the version that is fully annotated by the author. I am fascinated that this is simultaneously a highly influential work, a social commentary, a historical event (in its live reading in 1955), and the topic of an obscenity trial in 1957 that led to the poem being deemed a work of social importance setting an important precedence for literature related obscenity trials to follow.
Naomi: Favorite thing about libraries/ library technology?
Erica: My favorite thing about the library is that it is simultaneously a place of exploration, discovery, and self improvement.
Naomi: Are there any blogs or websites we should be following?
Erica: I’ve been spending so much time on social media that I have stopped following many specific blogs. I do spend a lot of my time in the Facebook group ALA Think Tank. The name is misleading as this group is not associated with ALA. It is a group of young and interesting library professionals.
Erica Findley is a passionate library supporter and is influential in the broader library advocacy ecosystem. Ms. Findley is the Digital Resources and Metadata Librarian at Pacific University (OR) and is a 2008 MLS graduate from Emporia State University. She is an active member of the American Library Association where she an at-large member of their governing Council. Ms. Findley is a co-convener of the ALA Think Tank, moderates Oregon4EveryLibrary, and regularly hosts “pop-up libraries” when traveling by train or plane. Ms. Findley can be found online at www.ericafindley.com.
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