Advocacy and the Campaign for World´s Libraries in Mexico

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State of American Librarianship: Advocacy and Other Issues
ALA, International Relations Round Table, Pre-Conference, University of Illinois at Chicago-West Campus, Student Center West (CIU), Room A 828, Chicago, IL, USA, June 24, 2005, Friday, 8:30-12:30

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Advocacy and the Campaign for World´s Libraries in Mexico

  1. 1. Advocacy and theAdvocacy and the Campaign for World´s Libraries inCampaign for World´s Libraries in MexicoMexico Jesús LauJesús Lau Jlau@uv.mx Universidad Veracruzana / DGB / USBI VER AMBAC – Chair, International Relations Committee / State of American Librarianship: Advocacy and Other Issues ALA, International Relations Round Table, Pre-Conference University of Illinois at Chicago-West Campus, Student Center West (CIU), Room A 828 Chicago, IL, USA June 24, 2005, Friday, 8:30-12:30
  2. 2. Topics  Mexico´s concept of advocacy  ALA/Gates international contribution  Mexico´s achievements  Advocacy challenges
  3. 3. Mexican Demographics 14th in geographical size 7th in exports 2nd trade partner of the US Largest Spanish-speaking country 2nd Economy in Latin America Middle income country Literacy 90% Ranks with some of the best libraries in Latin America
  4. 4. Library Statistics Type Centers Volumes School 4,689 17,162,907 Academic 1,133 16,422,598 Special 175 2,576,889 Public 5,313 27,067,572 National 1 1,250,000 Others 5 449,160 Total 11,315 64,179,126
  5. 5. Advocacy Meaning in Mexico  Meaning is similar to US/ALA concept  Strategies are different  They normally take a low-profile or a very active one  Examples go from phone calls/emails to marches, mainly at the national and state capitals  The library community normally opts for the low-profile
  6. 6. Factors that Influence Advocacy Tactics  The library community is small  Associations, therefore, are also small  Association budgets are, in general, limited  Mexico´s democratic transition is an open ground for library advocacy  Internet is helping to get participacion from librarians outside Mexico City
  7. 7. AMBAC Mexican Association of Librarians  Signed a cooperation agreement with ALA a couple years ago  @ your Library scheme was adopted  Promoted among state associations and libraries  State association that have actively campaigned are Jalisco and Chihuahua
  8. 8. National College of Librarians Advocacy  A professionals-only library association  Right/Duty to advise government decisions  Sends letters of support to influence decisions  Advocay example: complaint for appointing non- librarians to leadership posts  A challenge: it is a small association  Funding is again limited, dues are low
  9. 9. National Library Campaign  AMBAC organized with the National Council of Culture (Education Ministry) a library promotion campaign  The first lady, Martha Fox, kicked off the program  Great media coverage on TV and newspapers
  10. 10. Great ALA Support  A workshop has been organized at the MLA annual library conferences in the last few years  ALA has sent an instructor to facilitate the workshop  The champion-facilitor has been Carol Brey, the current ALA President  This support has made a positive impact among professionals even among those who did not attend the workshops
  11. 11. Gates Foundation Contribution Factor  The Gates Foundation has also contributed to Mexican libraries´visibility  Benefitted: More than one thousand public libraries have now computer equipment and greater Internet access  It has played an important role in giving a better stance to public libraries in government  Gates guidelines support greater role of libraries in society
  12. 12. Related Achievements  Current federal government has became more aware of libraries´s  Public Libraries have received more recognition  A new main/central public library for Mexico city is under construction  It will also be a “mega”-public library for the rest of the country
  13. 13. Mexico City´s “Mega-Library”  The architectural blueprints are the result of an international contest  It will be built in the former city´s railway station  The building will be an avant gard masterpiece  The funding has been a struggle between the president and the Mexican congress  The president´s commitment has been high, and the community and the press has given good support to the project
  14. 14. Guadalajara´s Main Public Library  This second largest city will buid a new facility for its main public library  The library will be the center-piece of a cultural complex  The building will be one if not the largest in the country  An international call for the architectural design - 400 consulting firms took part  Helen Ladron is the Advocacy champion
  15. 15. Guadalajara – Mexico City Competition  Some of the big library consultants names have been hired  There is a competition with Mexico City´s library building  The national congress has been involved in the funding competition  The Universtity President, Raul Padilla has been a strong sopporter of the project
  16. 16. Academic Libraries  CONPAB (Association) is the main university library voice  University librarians have achieved greater roles and status in recent years, examples:  Juarez University (UACJ), the library department is in charge of academic evaluation/accreditation of faculty programs – One of the top accredited state universities  University of Colima (UCOL), the librarian also is in charge of computing and telecommunications / information technology  National University (UNAM), a librarian is in charge of faculty development.  However, in some instances computer professionals have taken over libraries
  17. 17. National School of Librarianship  An example of sucessful advocacy  New premises in the last decade  Close collaboration with Department of Universities / Ministry of Education  Runs spots on national TV and newspapers about librarians´ role and library education  60th Anniversary will be celebrated soon at Bellas Artes/Fine Arts Palace, the most respected national “bel canto” theater
  18. 18. Our Advocacy Challenges  Get more social visibility among potential library users  Lobby for a more flexible copyright law  Create library law at state levels  Influence federal government to have a national information development strategy (Create a national library plan)  Take a more active role at international bodies, like ISO, and UN related bodies
  19. 19. @ your Library Challenges  Promote adoption of the campaign at individual libraries  Adapt ALA World Campaign guidelines  Create promotional materials  Train library staff  Promote professional involment in political decisions
  20. 20. Associations  Associations (AMBAC and NCL) need a general advocacy plan  The advocacy role varies according to the association president´s priorities  Create training opportunities on advocacy for members
  21. 21. Conclusions  @ your Library has been a good promotional scheme to Mexico  AMBAC participation has benefitted the country  The new major main national/state public libraries  under construction are the product of advocacy  The campaign, it is assumed, helped to raise greater awareness of the value of libraries at the federal government  Some states also became more aware of libraries

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