Library A to Z

A (2)This November sees the launch of the Library A to Z, a set of free materials for anyone to use to promote and support libraries.

The key message behind the Library A to Z is that libraries provide a fantastic range of services and benefits beyond the idea that libraries are only about books. In addition, it serves to highlight the positive impact libraries have on the individual, communities and society.

Its key feature is a full colour visual alphabet, illustrated by Josh Filhol, reflecting this message. The illustrations have been used as the basis for a book, cards and posters.

The point of the A to Z is to provide ready-made advocacy and promotional materials for libraries and supporters to use freely as they are, or to adapt and re-use in a way that suits local needs. For example, the posters can be edited and extra text can be added; the illustrations can be used to create new promotional materials; the greetings/note cards are perfect for personalised hand-written messages.

As well as the creators, it’s a project that has involved many different people along the way, including the initial group of people involved in crowd-sourcing the first list of words at Library Camp East that formed the basis of the A to Z to be used in the illustrations; the 155 backers of the project who raised over £4,500; those who promoted the fundraising drive, gave us ideas for materials that we could create from the A to Z illustrations and words; and those who contributed to the book.

We are keen for this wide-spread involvement to continue now that the Library A to Z materials are available for use – by continuing to promote the message in the AA-Z Logo colour (2) to Z, and also to make use of and adapt the A to Z materials into a larger collection of materials. What else could be created from the A to Z for supporting libraries beyond the books, posters and cards that have already been produced? Let us know your ideas.

We have also created a new site as a central point to host the material and information from the book, and to provide some background to the project. Even though we’re happy for other people to keep copies of the material on their own sites, we felt that we needed somewhere that would always have the most up to date A to Z materials on it. We will also be able to use the site to pull together Library A to Z materials that others have created.

Z (2)Though the majority of the backers of the project were from the United Kingdom, we had a number of worldwide backers too. As libraries throughout the world share many of the same visions and goals, we believe the Library A to Z could also be used to promote the benefits of libraries internationally as well as in the UK.

The Library A to Z will launch during the week 17th-22nd November. As part of this we will be distributing copies of the materials to the media and press. We will also be sending copies of the books to key UK politicians to highlight the continued importance of libraries, and we would encourage supporters of the Library A to Z message to let their local libraries and politicians know about it too. Full details of the launch can be found here.

Gary Green (on behalf of myself and Andrew Walsh)

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