November 2, 2011
Library usage and funding trends nationwide are on the decline due in part to the convenience and accessibility digital information, but libraries can respond by developing stronger community engagement and involvement, according to a Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) administrator and author.
According to Dr. Mae L. Rodney, WSSU director of library services, friend raising is as important as any form of fundraising which is required for libraries to survive in the current economic downturn. Rodney is author of the new book titled Friends Inviting Friends. The book Chronicles 25 years of friend raising and captures the history of the WSSU Friends of the Library organization. It also provides a how-to-guide for establishing such an organization, offering candid reviews of the varied fundraising events hosted over the years, as well as why organizational leadership may need to reorganize and re-strategize as required by the times and trends.
“In many environments because of declining usage, library funding nationwide is in jeopardy of being dramatically reduced. Factors such as changing publishing trends, the rapid rise in the use of media and possibly most significant, the almost overnight explosion in the convenience and accessibility of digital information, all have caused this decline, notes Rodney.”
Rodney believes strong community involvement through the delivery of community programs such as social events including dinner events, evenings of mystery and live dramatic performances, music and dance events, art exhibits, book sales and auctions will lead to financial support that will help libraries survive.
“Because of today’s technology society, the shift to electronic resources has many scholars and librarians worrying about the loss of a central community resource in physical libraries, whether they are at the university or public level,” noted Rodney. “But to be successful, libraries must have to capacity to be engaging and convenient to its users and supporters."