Advocating for the Library You Want to Become Three years ago I enrolled in the University of Toronto’s Library Advocacy Unshushed MOOC. The online course description was a simple premise or perhaps a call to arms of “How can we strengthen libraries and librarians in the advancement of knowledge, creativity, and literacy in the 21st century? Though libraries have been loved for over 3,600 years, their relevance in the digital age is being questioned, and their economic and social impacts are poorly understood. What is really essential about libraries and librarians, today and tomorrow?”
Advocacy, Legislation & Issues An elevator speech a message intended to spur decision makers to action. An elevator speech must be short, specific, and memorable. It is important to have your elevator speech rehearsed and ready because you never know when you'll have an opportunity to use it!
The Time for Advocacy Is Now: Why Telling Your Story Is So Important. Having been a lifelong reader and library user, I had all sorts of assumptions about school libraries in general. First, I thought that stakeholders would instinctively know the value of an effective school library. Secondly, I had always been under the impression that school libraries in general were adequately funded and that budgets were never in question.
Supporting School Librarians through COVID and Beyond Pennsylvania State Representative Malcolm Kenyatta speaks at January’s Rally to Save School Librarians in Philadelphia. As the start of school approaches (or is already here in some states), the Covid-19 crisis rages on, leaving many educators around the country very concerned about health and safety issues regarding if or when they and their students will return to the classroom or library. The reentry plans for many school districts are still in flux due to frequently shifting circumstances and guidelines. The disruptions and numerous uncertainties surrounding the pandemic have made an already challenging era for school librarians and other educators that much tougher. *Advocate This, Not That! Illustration by James Yang “A university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library,” wrote the historian and novelist Shelby Foote. Consider a corollary to this quote—a school is just a group of buildings gathered around a library—and whether it aptly describes how important your school library is to the overall function of your institution. Too often, school libraries are seen as peripheral, not central, to teaching and learning. We can speak to parents, teachers, and principals about the value of our programs and services, but the decisions about how to best allocate funds are often made at the district level. When money gets tight, those programs with the greatest impact on the highest priorities are valued the most.
Our Library and Makerspace To-Go Marketing Materials & Promotional Plan Every year, as we go back to school, I create a fun new library marketing plan around our resources in the library and online. I use it in the library, throughout the school, online, at the public library and to send home with our students and families. It is the best way to kick off the year and get everyone connected from the very start. This year as we return to learn, I wanted to create a marketing plan that would work in meaningful, fun and exciting ways if we were in person or virtual. It is called The Van Meter Library and Makerspace To-Go! *Pitching the Library: the Elevator Speech Presented by Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair, New Canaan High School, CT; and Susan Ballard, Program Developer and Instructor USNH Sponsored by Mackin Educational Resources If you attended the live session, you’ll be emailed a CE certificate within 24 hours of the edWebinar. If you view the recording and would like a CE certificate, join the Emerging Tech community and go to the edWebinar Archives folder to take the CE quiz. When administrators are faced with challenging budget cuts, they frequently cut from library programs—often because they don’t understand how strong library programs serve the learning community. In this edWebinar, Michelle Luhtala, Library Department Chair at New Canaan High School, CT, who just returned from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) National Conference, interviews Susan Ballard, Program Developer and Instructor at USNH.
What 2020 Has Taught Me about Advocacy 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions for so many of us. It has caused us stress and worry about so many things, from the health and safety of loved ones during the pandemic to the election to the multiple natural disasters. All of these events have us carrying a weight we may not have felt before in our lifetimes. Add to it the additional concerns about how school librarians fit, or don’t fit, into schools’ plans for the future. But, we know now more than ever, the skills and support certified school librarians provide students and their school communities are vitally important. * AASL One-Pagers for Stakeholders One-Pagers for Stakeholders Your School Library in the Learning Community Understanding the National School Library Standards What School Library Standards Mean to Educators Amplify the power of your teaching, support your curriculum, and help your learners to Think, Create, Share and Grow!
School Administrators and the Power of School Librarians “Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. The District Library Newsletter: An Advocacy Tool As you plan your advocacy efforts for 2019, don’t forget about your district-level administrators. The decisions they make can have a huge impact on your library and on your district’s library program. Even if they’ve always been supportive of libraries, don’t assume they know what goes on in your space. After all, they aren’t in your building, much less in your library, every day. Make sure you have a plan to let them know what you do and why it matters to students (and teachers).