As you probably know by now, I’m headed to the University of South Carolina. I’m very much looking forward to joining the School of Library & Information Science as director. A lot of folks have asked me why South Carolina. The simple answer is the amazing staff, students, and faculty and their desire to make a difference. During my research and visits I was struck by good people doing good work to make a real difference in people’s lives. It really does represent information in action.
One very clear example of this is Cocky’s Reading Express. For the past 10 years the school has been teaming with the University of South Carolina’s athletic department to travel around the state promoting literacy. It has all the hallmarks of active community-based librarianship. Partnerships with schools and communities; going out to the community; and engaging people (kids and their parents) in learning.
There is a myth that active and innovative library service is all about technology, or only for a certain type of library institution. Cocky’s Reading Express demonstrates that good ideas grounded in the community can make a difference in a building or with a bus. Good librarianship can be about learning code or learning to read. Innovation doesn’t have to be about dollars and startups, it can be about tapping into community resources (a mascot, a place, students, community members) to make great things happen.
The program is currently looking for resources to expand and maintain the program. I am asking you to support the project and spread the word. Yes, I am asking you to support my new school, but I am asking because it is a good project that deserves attention and support.