Libraries collect local news

We all know that “When you are a small-town librarian, you say ‘yes’ to everything” – and this article tells great stories of how libraries are stepping in to fill the void left by vanishing local news outlets across the US.

As we know, librarians as a profession are more trusted in the community than journalists, and Facebook posts and e-newsletters can sometimes be the only source of local news if there is no local newspaper. “The biggest information gap is local, because it’s not scalable,’’ says Eric Abrahamson in the article. “In the age of Google, the hardest information to find is local.” As we know, librarians as a profession are more trusted in the community than journalists.   Sometimes Facebook posts and e-newsletters can sometimes be the only source of local news if there is no local newspaper. This acknowledges one of the vital themes of public libraries – being deeply local; and therefore in a prime position to collate and share local news.

Libraries with a focus on local information and outreach create a need for library workers who are familiar with creating or selecting content for expanded email newsletters and digital offerings. Library-backed efforts can help restore the foundation and appetite for local news—the love of community, curiosity about it and confidence to participate in it.

The role of libraries adding information to Wikipedia is in a similar vein. In the recent #1lib1Ref campaign, entries were added to every town and suburb in Queensland that listed public libraries – why check out your town and add more to your local info?

Jacinta Sutton from SLQ and Kerry Raymond (Wikipedia editor and trainer) took on the coordination role for this campaign which resulted in 40 State Library editors (staff and volunteers) completing 1,160 edits of 477 articles. These articles are heavily used by tourist and tourism websites and are a great way to promote Queensland public libraries. Kerry forwarded the following comments:

“Even though I am a big user of the public libraries here in Brisbane, it was an amazing eye-opener to me to see how regional and remote Queensland is served by the network of public libraries, the bookmobiles, and Regional Libraries Queensland. From Alpha to Zillmere, from Bedourie (population 122) to Yowah (population 141), Queenslanders have access to libraries. In a state as vast as ours (6th largest in the world), this is truly something to be proud of!”