It never hurts to ask

I mean all anyone can ever say to you is “no” if you ask for something. Other than asking someone out or to marry you, most what you might ask of someone doesn’t risk needing a night of drinking to get over a “no.” For example, you might ask your supervisor if you can buy a prize wheel. Maybe you absolutely must take a collage workshop. Or perhaps in your soul you know your library NEEDS to own all seasons of “Mad Men” on DVD. ASK! As long as you don’t propose a pony for the library, see what you can get.

But a few things to think about before you ask for your professional heart’s desire:
*Who else can benefit from this to approach for partnership: within your library, on campus, organizations in town?
*Is there a way to tie this to curriculum (this works even in public libraries, outreach to schools, homeschool kids, PTAs)
* Can anyone donate or volunteer services or resources to make this happen?
*Is anyone already doing what you want to try? Are they willing to share lessons learned, offer resources?

So, what did I ask for and receive beyond my wildest librarian dreams? No, Neil Gaiman is not creating a graphic novel based on me which would be read by Alan Rickman to me as I fall asleep every night. Rather, my library is hosting an exhibit of process art by two prominent graphic novel illustrators: Matt Holm (“Babymouse”) and Sara Varon (“Robot Dreams”). Matt and Sara generously loaned us their sketchbooks, mock ups, galleys and final copies of the art that went into one of their books. It’s a chance to show what goes into creating and illustrating a graphic novel.

I worked with a publishing publicist who helped me approach a group of illustrators about loaning their art to a small liberal arts college in the middle of the country for three months. Three responded, but Matt and Sara were the artists who sent work. On a side note, flipping through Matt’s sketchbook and holding Sara’s galleys with notes written all over them were amazing experiences.  I couldn’t believe it! We asked and they responded yes. And sent their actual art. To ME, a little librarian in a small school in the middle of the country.

Somehow in our emails, Sara mentioned her mom lives in Chicago, near my school. I asked if she would consider visiting for the day to speak to classes in Art and Education and maybe do an artist’s talk? So now our exhibit features a visit from one of the authors. (And I get to meet an author-illustrator I just might drool over, literally.)

Okay, so this is not to brag about how all great I am. I’m merely okay. Sara and Matt are great. The publicist who helped me is great. The fact that asking for something yielded a yes is great. You, my fellow librarians, are great so don’t be afraid to just ask. Someone will say yes to you. And it will be amazing!

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