While perusing Neil Gaiman's blog this week, I noted a link he put to a website that showed anonymous paper sculptures someone left in the Scottish Poetry Library. They can be found here.
When librarians (and aspiring writers) have difficulty marketing ourselves, it helps to remember the purpose, the core of what we do. It is when we realize that writing and librarianship are less about books and words, and more about sharing experiences, that we better resonate with our audiences. As the anonymous note left by one of the paper sculptures says: "We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books...a book is so much more than pages full of words...This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas...a gesture..."
Sarah Dessen is a master of sharing ideas. Right now I'm reading her YA book, Just Listen. It addresses the dangers of witholding truths in order to be nice. It also takes a firm, honest look at what an eating disorder does to a family. When the protagonist's sister plants herb seeds and leaves them, unseen, to grow, the reader knows she is attempting to rebuild what she's lost and put the pieces of herself back together again.
Aspiring writers and librarians should all strive to find ideas that resonate with others. Writers: instead of focusing on whether your sentences are accurately structured, think about the overall themes you want your readers to take away from your stories. Librarians: instead of concentrating on re-branding, focus on what your patrons need to take away from their library experiences. That is how we will all keep our audiences.
-The Writer Librarian