Last night I “attended” a TL Virtual Cafe webinar about advocacy. Jennifer LaGarde and Tiffany Whitehead did an excellent job reminding us about how we can prove our worth, especially in these tough economic times. The webinar will be archived in the next few days if you missed it, but meanwhile here are my take-aways:
1. Make everything about the kids. Every policy, decision, purchase, and interaction has to be about kids. Only then can you show how you impact student learning. Don’t advocate for librarians or libraries–advocate for your students.
2. Keep an advocacy file. Store in it thank you notes from staff or parents, successful lesson plans, samples of student work, etc. These artifacts will tell the story for you of how you make a difference.
3. Show that you know about more than books.
4. Collect and share data. Jennifer has an “Advocacy Wall.” Post monthly stats–how many classes came to the library, how many books circulated, etc. ANALYZE relevant data. Can you connect the dots between test scores and library use in your school?
5. Share what’s happening in your library–through social media, PTO and department newsletters, local papers, local organizations. Step outside of the library world and share with those who may have no idea about what today’s libraries are like.
6. Host family/community events in your library and share those in the local press.
7. Have a mission statement. Post it everywhere; make it part of written communications.
8. Elevate those people who are your supporters. (administrator, volunteers, etc.)
9. Make the time to advocate. Don’t be shy about the good things you do–it’s not bragging if it’s true!
10. Bring solutions to the table when attending meetings. Show how you can help with whatever is keeping your teachers or principal up at night.