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ALA Annual 2018: The DIY Library and the Share-Culture of Librarianship

ALA Annual 2018 and the share-culture of libraries.There aren’t enough pedometers in New Orleans to count the steps taken at the 2018 American Library Association Annual Conference — as librarians from all walks of life gathered to learn and discuss what it means to be a librarian in 2018.

Transforming our libraries, together

The library profession is based on sharing knowledge within community, and ALA Annual 2018 provided a platform for library trailblazers across the country to learn from one another. In fact, many attendees were also speakers at the conference, exemplifying the ‘share-culture’ of librarianship.

When asked “Why are you here?” — librarians repeatedly mentioned how they needed to come to confer with their peers, exchange ideas, and hopefully take something back they can share with their colleagues and apply to their library.

Librarians shared their successes and struggles in creating change in their communities through advocating for intellectual freedom, promoting literacy, embracing diversity, providing equitable access to information, and supporting education and lifelong learning. By coming together to collaborate and cheer one another on, librarians also confirmed the struggles they face in their work.

“We all know that we’re not alone in facing these issues, but it’s nice to have someone tell you that you’re not crazy.”

Creating innovation with limited resources

Rather than allow budget cuts to limit learning opportunities, librarians across the country have found increased agency in the spirit of the ‘DIY library.’ Often effectively left on their own, librarians believe in their mission to support lifelong learning that they create something from nothing, learning from others, and collaborating to serve their neighbors, schools, and organizations.

Libraries, librarians, or basically anyone who loves libraries and wants to promote the value of libraries as avenues of change in their community can sign up for the #LibrariesTransform campaign. Thanks to the campaign’s new free tools, libraries can customize messaging to speak to the needs of their communities.

Whether it’s providing resources for securing funding, or sharing budget-friendly ways to promote your library’s digital resources, we love partnering with libraries to expand the reach of their resource offerings beyond budget constraints. At ALA Annual 2018, we had the opportunity to host two discussion sessions with librarians on simple ways to promote digital resources through social media channels, budget-friendly, offline promotions, and networking beyond the library in the community.

Embracing evolving technology

Much of the discussions on the floor at the conference revolved around the rapid evolution of new technologies and their effect on digital resource offerings. Library decision-makers are looking for innovative ways to remain cutting-edge resource providers in their communities.

Next Steps:

  • Familiarize yourself with where the technologies are today and where they’ll probably be tomorrow.
  • Network with local tech companies and digital resource providers in your community.
  • Find out how other libraries have modernized and digitized their services. (Start with our white paper on the tech innovations of Library21c in Colorado Springs, CO.)

Here at Mango Languages, we want to support your efforts to engage with diverse communities through language and culture learning with our collection of promotional materials available to our partner organizations on Mango Market, including the all-new promo designs displayed at our ALA Annual booth. Learn more about how you can lead your community in diversity and inclusion by providing access to courses in over 70 world languages and dialects with Mango Languages.

Tell Me More


How is your library embracing new trends in technology? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Michael Buckenmeyer

Michael is Mango Languages' Social Marketing Specialist. Between writing, designing, and video editing for Mango Languages' social channels, you'll find him practicing his listening skills with Arabic hip hop.

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