Blog the Change for Animals – Help from the Library

While checking out the “Not New But Worth a View” display at my public library this week, I saw a good friend. Edie Jarolim’s Am I Boring My Dog looked back at me from the shelf.

Over a year ago, I suggested my library acquire the entertaining and informative guide for their collection. It had finally arrived. I repositioned it to face forward and went to pick up a few books to read. By the time I walked by the display again, the book was gone—on its way to amuse and educate another dog person.

The Internet is Not the Only Source of Information

Stone Lion in Front of New York Public Library

One of two guardians ensuring animal lovers will find helpful information at the New York Public Library.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a pretty savvy internet user. For one thing, you know what blogs are. And you probably use several forms of social media.

But many people still don’t have access to high-speed internet. And books and libraries aren’t going anywhere soon. How do I know? Because I keep looking for new books on dog topics at my library and find a long waiting list of people who have reserved them before me.

People all over the country are getting their first pet, having trouble with a cat who misses the litter box, or are scared their dog will not take well to a new baby. Many will search for answers on the internet. But others will stop in their library looking for the book or DVD that will solve all their problems.

Preaching to More than Just the Choir

Back in January, I suggested we should stop preaching to the choir and find new ways to share important news about improving the lives of animals—ways that might reach farther from our usual online posse of people who already agree with us.

The library is an excellent off-line source of people searching for information. Here are a few ways you can share information about protecting animals to a whole new audience:

  • Suggest books and DVDs for your library’s collection. Look up the exact title, author’s name, publisher, publication date, and ISBN # to make things easy on the acquisition librarian.
  • Drop off brochures or flyers that support animal causes. My library always has Vegetarian Starter Kits from the Farm Sanctuary in its brochure display rack. I’ve started posting flyers for low-cost spay and neuter programs offered throughout the year.
  • Leave business cards from positive dog trainers as “bookmarks” in dog training books, especially those promoting outdated and harmful training methods.

Find People with Questions and Give Them Answers

Read any marketing book and you’ll be told the key to influencing people is to figure out what’s important to them and then meet their needs. Blog the Change for Animals is about educating and persuading. And people at the public library are looking to be educated and persuaded.

So take a few minutes to share what you’ve gained from blogging with the non-blog audience. Go to the library.
[Disclosures: The image of Am I Boring My Dog is an Amazon Affiliate link. If you purchase the book through this link, I will make a small commission. Its author, Edie, wouldn’t mind if you ordered it either.

The image of the Lion at the NY Public Library is by Geir Arne Hjelle on Flickr.]

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  1. Great post! I’ve always loved libraries, and now that I work in one, I especially value the role that they play in educating people and making information available. It’s the whole point! Many of the dog training books I’ve read were only accessible to me because of my library system.

    • Yay libraries! I wouldn’t know who Patricia McConnell, Suzanne Clothier, and Ian Dunbar were if not for the library. They are all people I discovered at the library, long before finding them online.

  2. You’re right, and I hadn’t thought of that. Do you have a list of books we could recommend to our libraries?

    • That is such a great suggestion. Rather than make my list, I’ll schedule a post in which I ask everyone to suggest their “this dog book has got to be available at your public library” list. :)

      It would make a great permanent page for people to revisit for ideas later. Thanks, Rumpy!

  3. I get monthly library news in my email and they always ask for suggestions about books and other materials. Very timely post! For a time before I had WiFi at home, I used the library a lot more – and I miss it (may give up the home WiFi….just to go back).

    • That’s great that your library is looking for materials. In response to Rumpy Dog’s comment, I think I’ll create a post we can all submit ideas to. That should give you plenty of suggestions to send to your library. :)

  4. Really terrific ideas Pamela. I always like that you give me something new to think about or some new angle at which to look at things. You did that in this post. I had never thought of leaving flyers on spay and neuter, or putting a positive dog trainer’s card in a library book. Seriously. Great ideas!!

    I just found out from my sister that most libraries allow you to use to find out more about your family history. Maybe we should encourage them to share some popular animal training websites too, like Dog Star Daily.

    This was a fun post to read.

    • Dog Star Daily would be a great site to have available online at the library. Especially since it has great help to prevent dog bites. You could promote it as a public safety service as well as a great resource for improving the human/dog bond.

      Great idea, Mel.

  5. What a nice set of surprises, Pamela: that you recommended that your local library get my book, that it was put out on display, that you helped make that display more prominent — I do that in bookstores whenever I find my books there — and that you wrote about it! I love my local library and rely on it for… well, pretty much all my reading material, which means audiobooks. I only buy books that I can’t find there or that I want to keep for reference.

    Thank you so much for your support of my book and one of my favorite institutions, the local public library.

    • I love the library and spend time there every week. I don’t always read what I get out but I’m glad to have access to so much material.

      I thought your book filled a gap in their collection. Many of their books are outdated and none of them have even a spec of humor. I hope it gets a lot of reads.

      Of course, my husband told me you’d be mad at me for having the library buy it because I’ve just made it less likely for individual readers to buy. I personally, have never found libraries prevent me from buying what I like to have as reference or like to lend to others.

  6. First, I love Edie’s book! Second, awesome post… you always manage to come up with creative new ways to look at things. I love the ideas you’ve shared – especially the one about leaving business cards for positive trainers in the books. So simple and clever.

    I don’t frequent my local library as much as I’d like (I’m far enough behind on the books I do have, including some of the free Kindle content). However, when I was a kid, I practically lived there. It’s a great place to reach a new audience, and as you point out, it’s one that is interested in learning.

    Seriously… fantastic topic.

    • I can’t really take credit for the bookmark/business card idea. I find people leave all kinds of things in the books I take out and I’m always curious about these left behind markers. It certainly couldn’t hurt. :)

  7. It has been far too long since I have been to the library. I won’t even say how long because it’s kind of embarrassing, especially for someone who loves reading as much as I do. Can I blame my dog?

    I love the idea of placing business cards for positive trainers in books by less-than positive authors. In fact, I am kind of tempted to do this at my local bookstore as well. Especially in a certain bully’s book. Good luck suing me for that!

    • So if your library was Shiva friendly you might spend more time there? :)

      I’d be careful about trying the card idea in a bookstore. In the library, it would just be seen as a stray bookmark. But in a bookstore, it could get your favorite local trainer in trouble. We certainly don’t want that.

  8. This is a great idea. Sometimes we’re too busy “thinking outside the box” that we forget there’s still a whole world living *inside* the box. We do have to remember to reach out to the people who aren’t subscribed to all the latest theory via all the fancy new tech.

    If I’m not mistaken, libraries still offer educational opportunities through seminars and lectures. An enterprising individual might be able to persuade them into allowing such an event for humane education or similar topics….

  9. You know I have been thinking a lot about why the message doesn’t seem to be getting across to millions of people about improving the lives of animals. Why people still buy from pet stores, why people still purchase from backyard breeders. Something is missing.
    What a wonderful idea, and so very simple! Leaving a dog trainers info in the form of a bookmark is a great idea!

  10. Awesome, jaw-dropping ideas here, Pamela! I love them all – and of course have a certain bit of bias about that book you managed to get into your library 😉 It is, after all, a necessary and informative one, everyone should read it!

    Each of these suggestions can be done by anyone, and if everyone followed even just some of them, just imagine the impact it would have!

    Thank you for blogging the change,
    Kim Thomas