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09 February 2010

Librarian's Toolbox: Presence with Elena MacGurn

By Amanda Acquard

“In an ideal world where libraries take over the planet,” we would always have enough resources and stakeholder would automatically know our worth. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal world, but luckily Elena MacGurn of Cornell University provided a model libraries can use for community outreach.

This workshop focused on strategy, in order to maximize limited resources, prove worth to key stakeholders and focus; i.e. not kill ourselves doing more with less. Outreach was the most important aspect of this workshop and everything else discussed was a means to outreach. Elena mentioned that 80% of SLA survey respondents say management does not understand the importance of the information profession. This gives us the opportunity to reach out to them and convince them otherwise.

Prior to reaching out to stakeholders, it is important to mission statement and an outreach strategy that will support that goal. By focusing on the target audience and using resources wisely, a library can accomplish its goals. We are in the findability business, so we need to use those skills for outreach.

Elena’s workshop was tremendously useful for attendees, particularly in the age of budget cuts. As a student, learning about strategy and outreach will help me in the future.  By knowing that it is important now, I have the next few years in school to learn more about it through readings and internships.


Amanda Acquard is an MSLIS student in her second semester at Syracuse University. She will be attending Hamburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany from March through July, where she will be studying digital information services. Amanda is interested in special collections, particularly genealogy and local history, and international librarianship. She holds a B.S. in Political Science from SUNY Oneonta.

Thanks to our sponsors Morningstar and EBSCO.




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