Announcing “The Political Librarian”, a New Journal from EveryLibrary

Post on April 2, 2015 by John Chrastka

The Political Librarian

For too long, there has been a dearth of research, discussion, and published content related to locally focused advocacy, policy, and funding issues for libraries. Today, EveryLibrary is proud to announce the launch of “The Political Librarian”, a new journal which will address these very issues. As the only national organization dedicated exclusively to local funding and policy outcomes for libraries, whether at the ballot box or through town/city/county government negotiations, EveryLibrary is uniquely positioned to fill this gap. Today, we are making a call for contributions for Issue 1, Volume 1 to be published on September 5th, 2015.

We seek contributions that:

Further a discussion of tax policy and public policy at the local level

Explore and review ordinances, regulations and legislation, or propose new model language that actuate policy or revenue at a local level

Specifically engage disparities in community outcomes based on current funding and authority models for libraries

Provide and encourage experiential input about the way that current policy models impact library service delivery and community outcomes

Provide and encourage explorations of new, underutilized, or experimental models to address local library funding or authority

Provide resources and tactics that libraries can use to educate stakeholders on the essential role of libraries and librarians in their local community.

Why a journal?

While discussions in the library sector tend to focus on federal and state-level issues, it is at the local level that the majority of funding and policy decisions for libraries are made and expressed. Our work places us at the nexus of library tax and public policy discussion at the hyper-local level. Many of the campaigns we support aim to secure taxes for operations or building initiatives. Through our work we have seen first-hand that there is limited civic awareness and understanding of tax codes and funding structures on the part of librarians, boards, voters, and policy makers. This low level of awareness stems from lack of engagement in a public debate about local library taxes and authority.

With the launch of “The Political Librarian”, EveryLibrary is expanding the discussion, promoting research, and helping to reenvision tax policy and public policy on the extremely local level. We will provide a venue for listening and learning across a wide range of experiences, and a platform for sharing insights from librarians at the forefront of services by the librarians who need funding, authority, and policy to align with, and support, the actual practices of modern librarianship.

We believe that these policy discussions need to begin in the context of the unique challenges faced by towns, cities, townships, and counties as expressed in municipal or district library contexts. We also understand that the borders between library taxing jurisdictions are often crossed by inter-institutional agreements for services like interlibrary loan, cooperative cataloging, and shared resources. With this understanding, we want to encourage a discussion about how libraries may be the only true supra-jurisdictional public institution in this country. In publishing this journal, we are not limiting the discussion to policies that impact only public libraries. The edges will be pushed.

From its inception, “The Political Librarian” will be open access and submissions will be published under a non-commercial attribution Creative Commons license. We will apply for an ISSN immediately following the first issue in order to provide discoverability in the broader library and public policy discussion across the United States and internationally.

We seek submissions from both researchers and practitioners, and anticipate accepting and publishing three styles of submissions:

Polemics – Editorial in nature; the first draft of an idea or argument
White Papers – Longer form discussions that may include research
Peer Reviewed – Long form articles that include original research and arguments, and are submitted for review by our Editorial Board

Timeline for publication
EveryLibrary looks forward to publishing Volume 1, Issue 1 on September 5, 2015. This will mark our third anniversary as the first and only national political action committee for libraries. Your collaboration on this and subsequent semi-annual issues is welcome. EveryLibrary seeks to encourage non-traditional journal submissions and can support the publication and dissemination of blog to book-length contributions, along with video, audio, and other file types. Anonymous contributions in the Polemics category are welcome. Submission and content formatting instructions are forthcoming.

Over the next several weeks, EveryLibrary will present questions and discussion topics that will help form the basis of this exploration and inform the content of our first issue. We believe that we can serve as a platform, a venue, a contributor, and a convener of these discussions, and we encourage others to bring their own original lines of inquiry.

Please contact editor Lindsay Sarin for more information or to discuss contributing to “The Political Librarian”: