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Frontline Advocacy for School Librarians
 

Frontline Advocacy for School Librarians

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Spring 2011 Regional presentations

Spring 2011 Regional presentations

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  • In school libraries there can be any combinations of the following: a Certified School Librarian, a Technology Support Specialist(TSS), a Technology Curriculum Instructional Specialist(TCIS), a clerk, avolunteer, or no clear staffing of the library at all. Teachers, in general have their administrators to advocate to, and librarians are the same, but there is no one definitively looking-out-to advocate for school librarians at the higher levels. We, by the nature of our educational system, have to be our own advocates….and our advocacy efforts have to center on gaining advocates FOR us because…
  • All advocacy needs to come from others – moms/dads, students, colleague teachers and administrators. What we’re seeing around the country is that truly, no one hates libraries – ask anyone about their library and they’ll say good things. The interesting – or ironic - thing about today’s world is that libraries are disappearing because of lack of information to the right people. Our job is to get that information out to the world. So… to whom do we get this information?...
  • All these people need to hear us - When I ask my school administrators what they needed to know in order to be able to weigh the value of libraries and fight for them, they said: they need to know what the research says about libraries and student achievement & then they need to know what THINGS we do toMake that happen: things like collaborating with our colleagues to make dynamic lessons; providing the instruction students need, and all the rest…. But, the hardest thing to do is to often get that information out there….
  • Front line workers are often overwhelmed with the day to day of the job… or feel lower on the scale of importance in their system. But we are finding out that it’s important to be able to talk story and that story is often about ourselves and our work – people can’t know what we do unless we tell and show them. And so our first stop is to learn how to Brag…how to get that message out there.
  • You want to learn how to brag with style and grace. This book was a great start for me. I read it 3 years ago. The author is a Fortune 500 communication consultant who teaches people the business community how to make an impact. The book is filled with advice on how to avoid the common pitfalls such as body language. In pass workshop presentations I’ve introduced the art of writing “elevator speeches” to promote your library program. Klaus calls these speeches “bragalogues” and defines them as “short enthusiastic, continually updated stories that showcase strengths and accomplishments)
  • 1. With the school library crisis in our state on the uprise, it is highly important that we become more focused on getting the message out to our stakeholders, thus we need to become more organized in our approach with ready-made promotional pitches and handout materials. An example of how to become more organized in your advocacy campaign can be taken from the California school libraries’ “Best Sellers” campaign located on their blog at http://bestsellers4schoollibraries.csla.net. School librarians in the state of California have developed a pubic awareness campaign along with a tutorial that is housed on the blogsite:What I got mostly from viewing the site is how the school librarians and their advocates invited the public who already cares passionately about student success, technology integration and readingto bond with them in a strong community based effort to save their local school libraries. This is absolutely an example of how bragalogues / and elevator speeches can applied.
  • Use the California school librarian’s brochure as an example of promotional material
  • This is an example of an “elevator speech” using the Common Belief Statements from our new 21st Century Standards. For those of you who are not aware, the Common Beliefs are located on the front to pages of the new Standard’s brochure. There are nine of them. The words in pink are taken from the Common Beliefs.
  • It works because it’s set at the comfort level of advocating: neighborhood = your friends, neighbors, people you see daily…. Invite them into your library to observe collaborative lessons, research sessions, and ongoing programs of interest.
  • Action advocacy is all about becoming leaders – lead the curriculum committee, lead your staff in classroom learning 2.0, lead the district accreditation committee, present at content conferences, not just library conferences… and being a leader can include creating those cool programs that bring about big changes on site: “athlete as leaders and readers”; “Million Word Challenge” ; then teach it at conferences and spread the word. BRAND IT and GROW IT until it’s a yearly expectation!
  • And finally… you’re spreading the word so that administrators, parents/community, classroom teachers and other librarians can understand four key messages…. The biggest one being that a strong school library builds strong students and lifelong learners. Anyone can join in with this kind of advocacy.