2015 Keynote Myron Groover

Love in the Time of Austerity: Library Advocacy in Tough Times and How to (Maybe) Survive It  from Myron Groover

Advocacy — for libraries and beyond them — is a vital aspect of what we do as information professionals. Although the term gets thrown around a good deal (often obnoxiously) and although it suffers from an unfortunate lawyerish connotation (come on, you were probably all thinking it), the real key to its meaning lies in its etymology. It “calls upon” each of us – the root is the same as “vocation” or “calling” – to bear witness to what we think is right. At its best, advocacy is ferocious, frustrating, funny, and unashamedly political. It invites us to think about where we are, what we believe about the good and just society we’d like to build, and how we can connect these two concepts. Somehow we have to manage this while managing to 1) stay relatively sane as individuals, 2) keep a roof over our heads, and 3) hopefully laugh at ourselves a bit. Myron Groover will talk about some ways in which we might approach this daunting to-do list — and why he reckons that current socioeconomic and political trends make advocacy more important than ever, both to libraries and to the world beyond them.

Myron Groover is a Hamilton-based librarian, archivist, and general ne’er-do-well. He is a keen advocate of intellectual freedom, critical thinking, a robust public sector, and other dangerously unfashionable ideals. For a time there was talk of disqualifying him from the profession because he enjoys working with people so much, but through a combination of strategic bribes and thinly-veiled threats to highly-placed library cognoscenti he was eventually able to secure a position as chair of the BCLA Information Policy Committee. His antics in that role eventually forced him to flee the province; he now works as Archives and Rare Books Librarian at McMaster University.