Advocacy: Free Professional Development

In honor of School Library Month, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will be offering free professional development in  March.

“How to Create Strategic Stories to Gain Support for Your Library”

Sign up for three sessions with Nancy Dowd:

    “Session One, March 15, 6:00 pm Eastern
    Experience how strategic stories can help you gain the support you need. Learn the three easy steps that will guarantee your story hits the mark with your listeners.
    Register External Link Icon 

    Session Two, March 22, 6:00 pm Eastern
    Messaging is everything. What kind of messages resonate with parents or teachers or administrators? This session will review participants’ messages and answer questions to ensure the story you share will matter to your listener.
    Register External Link Icon

    Session Three, March 29, 6:00 pm Eastern
    This session will help participants put their stories together. We will review submitted stories and tweak them to perfection!
    Register External Link Icon

    ~from the American Association of School Librarians’ website http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/slm/schoollibrary.cfm#dowd

    Image attribution:  “School Library Month Create Your Own Story”  logo

    http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/slm/schoollibrary.cfm

Advocacy: WBALTV Segment Promotes Children’s Books

The Best Books Of The Year For Kids – Video – WBAL Baltimore.

Barb Langridge of abookandahug.com was recently featured on Baltimore’s WBAL Channel 11 News.  In this segment, she discussed several recent honor and award winning books:

1.  Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein  (Caldecott Honor)

2.  A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead and Erin Stead (Caldecott Winner)

3.  Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill and Bryan Collier (Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award)

4.  One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia  (Coretta Scott King Author Award)

5.  Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Tony Fucile  (Geisel Award)

6.  Heart of a Samurai  by Margi Preus  (Newbery Honor)

7.  Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool  (Newbery Award winner)

~Barbara Langridge, http://www.abookandahug.com/announcements

Barbara is a booktalker extraordinaire and in a five minute segment convinced me to read all seven books.

Promoting Books

Watching Barb animatedly talk about these children’s books started me thinking. How can we use Barb’s experience to promote our libraries and library programs?

  • Offer to do a similar booktalk for your PTO or other parenting groups in your area.
  • Share the video with the education reporters for your local newspaper and television stations.  Offer to provide a similar service to both.
  • Locate your local independent newspapers/newsletters.  Contact the editors and offer to write a column focusing on children’s books (or in my case, young adult literature).
  • Are there parent bloggers in your area who might appreciate a guest blogger?  Contact them and offer to write a post.
  • Contact after school care programs in your area to offer to do booktalks.
  • Is there a college or university in your area that offers an education degree?  Contact them and offer to be a guest speaker for classes.

Be Prepared

You know your community.  When you approach others to offer to speak or write, be prepared with local statistics and research that backs the power of reading. Have an example booktalk you can do on the spur of the moment or an example of your writing about books to share.

At a loss for where to start with books?  Why not choose award winning books (as Barb did in this video segment) or use your state’s award nominees?

One Last Word (or two or three)

Bravo WBAL Channel 11 in Baltimore for seeing the need to offer this service to your viewers!

To show your support for the segment and this television news program’s support of reading, please leave a comment on the video segment page and like the Facebook group for abookandahug.

Visit abookandahug.com and check out a new feature:  tools for children to create booklists.

Barb’s Books Alive program is carried on a cable network.  Do you know of any similar programs on children’s literature?

Updated Advocacy Page

Over the holiday break, I found more resources to add to this blog’s Advocacy Page (you’ll see the link above).  Because the page is growing in length, it was getting quite cumbersome.  I thought it best to organize it.

You’ll now find resources in three categories:

  • ALA/ALA Affiliates’ Resources
  • State Organizations’ Resources
  • Other Resources

What other great advocacy resources do I need to add to this annotated list?

 


Image attribution:

“This is not a social media megaphone” by altemark    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24844537@N00/337248947

Edited through a Creative Commons license using Big Huge Labs Pop Art Poster utility

Advocacy: School Library Newsletters

Problem…Resolved?

Planned:  monthly library newsletter to keep our school community abreast of library happenings and resources

Reality:  one, perhaps, two newsletters a year

Fix:  create a template that will simplify the process of creating the newsletter

Searching for Exemplars

Because I tend to be a perfectionist (I know, those of you who know me well are shocked), I wanted to locate some exceptional school library newsletters for inspiration.  I was surprised that my searches provided very few results, however, I did find several that provided me with food for thought as I worked on our template.

The first two examples are from slideshare allowing you to go through the entire newsletter if it is multiple pages.


To view two other newsletters, click on the links below.

Hillside Middle School Library Newsletter

The Dean Librazine

Widespread Problem?

Are other school librarians also having difficulty finding time to create a monthly/quarterly/once a semester newsletter?  Is that why my searches on Google and Libworm produced few results?  Or are school librarians just not posting the newsletters online?

As we advocate for our programs, we need to strive for transparency.  In today’s connected world, that means posting information online for our communities to see.

BSHS LMC Media Matters

Below is the January 2011 issue of BSHS LMC Media Matters. It still needs some tweaking, but if I were to try to perfect it anymore, it would go the way of past issues that I had every intention of finishing (but never did).

Please Share

If you know of any other online school library newsletters, could you post links to them in the comments section? 


Advocacy: Monthly Reports

How do you keep your program front and center in the eyes of your school community? Many school librarians create and share monthly statistics reports with their principals.  But should we stop there?  Why not post these reports for the entire school community?

Example Monthly Reports

Excellent examples of monthly reports are posted online each month.  Each report is different in not only what it contains, but how it is presented.  The common factor?  Transparency.  We must let our communities see how our programs impact student achievement.

Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Library report (see link above) provides program highlights, photographs, and statistics.

Lorena Swetnam’s Blythewood Middle School report is a quarterly,  rather than monthly report, on her library website.  The slideshows help bring her program to life! She also includes program highlights, collaborative work, and statistics.

Blythewood Middle School First Nine Weeks Report

Pam Harland’s Plymouth Regional High School report is a pdf file linked to the library home page.  This colorful report includes library highlights, statistics, and collaboration highlights, as well as levels of collaboration attained (from 1-5 with a key explaining each level).

Plymouth Regional High School Library report

Laura Collins’ Clovis High School report can also be found through a link on her library’s website.  She not only includes program and instructional highlights, library statistics, and collaboration information, but also includes standards met through collaborative lessons.

Clovis High School Library reports

Reassessing My Monthly Report

Mrs. Hinmighty, English teacher extraordinaire, has consented to read and grade the latest set of school library monthly reports.  Uh-oh.  Can I say the dog ate mine?  Compared to the examples I have shared here, my monthly report isn’t worthy to even warm the bench.

Up until last spring, my monthly report consisted of statistics and a listing of special events held in the media center.  Can you say drab and uninspiring? (Mrs. Hinmighty is “tsk-tsking” and shaking her head sorrowfully as she considers my report.)

When we moved into our new facility, I began adding photographs of students and student work to the monthly report, but I still felt that I wasn’t doing our program justice.  (Tsk-tsk. Sigh…..)

How can I find the time to create the report my program deserves while maintaining that program?  Fellow South Carolina school librarians provided help this week.

The Advocacy Committee of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians recently requested that example monthly reports be shared on our listserv.  Several have been posted and inspired me to revamp our report.

My October report is taking shape.  Statistics appear in tables and some will be represented visually with pie charts and bar graphs.  The one page report is now a thing of the past!  That page limitation (self-imposed) limited the number of photographs I could include and stifled my desire to be creative. (Mrs. Hinmighty will probably still bleed across my report, but perhaps she may occasionally smile rather than tsk.)

Creating the first revamped report is time-consuming, but will provide the template for future reports, thereby eventually saving me time.

Now to create a page on our library’s website to begin posting our monthly reports…..

What do you include in your monthly reports?

Advocacy: Annual Reports

The Old Way

I’ve completed my fourth year as a media specialist and love the job even more today than the day I started.  To keep track of what happens in our library, I used my mentor’s monthly statistic report and added activities that the library sponsored each month.  At the end of each semester, I compiled a chart of the monthly statistics to notice trends.  These two reports were combined into a yearly chart at the end of each year and provided a means to gauge improvements from year to year.

The Annual Report:  Getting Started

Two years ago, I noticed that several of the school librarians in my Google Reader were doing much more than compiling statistics; they were creating detailed reports including collection development and analysis, budgetary spending, collaboration efforts with teachers, reading promotion programs, and goals for the upcoming year.  The reflective aspect of this kind of report immediately caught my eye.  As a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, I learned to use reflection to help me grow and become a better teacher.

This year as I began work on our first annual report, I studied reports other school librarians have shared on the Internet.  The organization of these reports is as varied as the programs they reveal.  Using ideas culled from these, I created an outline for our annual report.   Currently at 17 pages, the report is an attempt to provide a complete picture of our library media program.

My Inspirations

In case you have toyed with the idea of creating an annual report but gave up because you found it too time consuming, you might want to look at the reports and blog posts that inspired me to get started.

Exemplary Reports:

Blog Posts:

Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

Need another reason to consider creating a detailed annual report?

In his post “13 Point Checklist 2009,” Doug Johnson provides administrators with a list to assist them in evaluating their school library program.   The final checkpoint , #13 Evaluation, includes

“Does the SLMS determine and report ways that show the goals and objectives of the program are being met and are helping meet the building and district goals? Does the SLMS create an annual library report for administrators, staff and parents that include qualitative and quantitative measurements?” ~ Doug Johnson

Your annual report will not only provide your administration with an overview of your library media program’s accomplishments, but also provide you an opportunity to see where you’ve been and provide you with information for next year’s goals.

Spread the Wealth Using This Google Spreadsheet

Last year, Lesley Edwards (teacher librarian at Seycove Secondary Library) created a spreadsheet for school librarians to share the link to their annual reports.  When my report is finally completed, I’ll post it to Slideshare and  add the url to the spreadsheet.  Why not add yours?

Image Attribution:  Year End Inventory by The Truth About…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thetruthabout/4247369036/

Advocacy: Create a Bragalog

Most school librarians I have met find it difficult to brag about what they do.  But think about it.  While there may be dozens of teachers in your building, you are more than likely the only school librarian there.  Many education programs do not address our role in any of their courses.  How many teachers in your building truly know what your program entails?

Every teacher in your school has a built-in advocacy group – their students.  Students talk about their teachers to one another:  “Oh, you don’t want to get Mr. So and So because he requires two research projects a semester.”  “I love Mrs. So and So because she makes class fun by …..”

Teachers in your building are spoken about on a daily basis.  I wonder how many students discuss their school librarian with their friends?

As I was surfing the Internet recently, I came across the California School Library Association’s website.  What a treasure trove!  One of the treasures there struck me as a very simple way to toot your own horn:  the Bragalog. The YouTube video above was filmed at the CSLA’s 2009 conference.  It  introduces the Bragalog (but unfortunately we don’t actually see it).  Further searching on the website turns up a pdf file explaining the Bragalog.

Peggy Klaus, author of Brag! The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn without Blowing It, created the Bragalog as a marketing tool.  In this article, she provides an example of an effective beginning for a Braglog.  By weaving your passion for your program into your story, you can create a positive “brag” that effectively markets your program.

If you don’t want to feature yourself speaking in your Bragalog, why not involve your students?  If you have a morning news show or a broadcasting class in your school, you might find a ready and willing group to create your Bragalog featuring students.

What do you think?  Is this a marketing tool that you would consider for your program, or is it something you would still feel too uncomfortable doing?

Advocacy

School librarians must be aggressive advocates for their programs.  This page provides resources to help you promote your program.

ALA/ALA Affiliates’ Resources

Legislative Action Center Keep up-to-date on legislative action that affects libraries!  Scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up for the Action E-List. (added Feb. 20, 2011)

Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit This kit provides a wealth of information and ideas including Talking Points, Making the Case, and Working with Government Officials and Legislators. (added Feb. 20, 2011)

Welcome to the School Library Campaign ALA site

AASL Advocacy Toolkit Tools to assist you with local and state advocacy campaigns.  Check out the 38 page Library Advocates’ Handbook. (updated August 2, 2010)

The Principal’s Manual for the School Library Media Program A two page guide to evaluating a school library media program produced by AASL

ALA’s Grassroots Advocacy Webinars ALA provides a collection of webinars to help you hone your advocacy skills.  (added on December 28, 2010)

Stand Up and Speak Out for Libraries Action Kit An  ALA kit that will help guide you as you begin a library advocacy campaign.  Included are tips for success, ideas to help you define your message, and guides to help you address specific audiences: legislators, decision-makers, the public, and the media. (added on December 28, 2010)

State Organizations’ Resources

School Library Systems Advocacy Toolkit Although created for New York, this site has many suggestions that all library media specialists can use.

Advocacy Toolkit for School Library Media Specialists The Colorado Library Consortium has compiled several resources, arranged by category: Learning to be an Advocate, Usable PowerPoint Presentations, Facts and Stats, Brochures, and Quicktime Video.

California’s Best Seller Campaign for Strong School Libraries This California School Library Association’s site includes several useful sections and forms: The Message, What is a Strong School Library? (identifies 5 components), Identifying “Best Sellers,” “Strong School Libraries Build Strong Students and Lifelong Learners” (a flyer you can access from the home page – scroll down to “Identifying and Inviting ‘Best Sellers'” ), and Research and Other Resources (an annotated list with hyperlinks) found at the bottom of  The Message page.

Massachusetts School Library Association Advocacy Initiatives Excellent collection of resources that can be used by school librarians in all states. (added on August 2, 2010)

Kansas Association of School Librarians:  KASL Advocacy Initiatives Several links including a sample letter to use in lobbying for support. (added on November 21, 2010)

Strong School Libraries Help Students Learn An advocacy toolkit from Ohio’s Leadership for School Libraries that accompanies the School Libraries Making a Difference site

Other Resources

School Libraries Work! The 2008 edition of Scholastic’s Research Foundation Paper

Advocacy: The Teacher Librarian as Advocate This online course offered by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson defines advocacy and provides many links to sites to help you in planning your advocacy program.

Everyday advocacy.  Making a case for libraries is easy with web tools.  Here’s how to get started.  Carolyn Foote shares how to use free Internet resources to advocate for your program. (updated August 2, 2010)

Act4SL Inspired while at AASL in Charlotte in November 2009, Christie Kaaland, Deb Kachel, Deb Logan, and Alice Yucht formed this grassroots organization to campaign for school libraries.  Sara Kelly Johns quickly joined their ranks. “Our aim is to provide a simple process for anyone, anywhere to act on behalf of school libraries.”  Great links and a not-to-be-missed “ReadySetContact” card to print out.


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Update: Librarians ARE the Digital Literacy Corps

Wow.  Joyce Valenza noticed my little post last week (Calling School Librarians to Action) and reposted it on her NeverEnding Search blog.  It then grabbed the attention of thousands of librarians as well as the American Library Association.  I was pleased to notice that ALA  responded quickly to the same newspaper article that had grabbed my attention (see “ALA Wastes No Time – Our Work on Digital Literacy“).

I was informed today that Matt Richtel, author of the article and a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist,  provided us with misinformation.  The digital literacy corps referred to in his article has NO money associated with it.  I have sent him an email through the NY Times requesting more information. (You may request the same information from him here.)

Although the article was misleading, it hit a nerve among librarians who feel that the public still does not have a clear up-to-date understanding of our profession.

Evidently many of you are contacting the FCC as I requested. Deb Logan, one of the co-founders of Act4SL, contacted me yesterday and has given me permission to share part of her email here:

“The great news is that people are inspired to action… In all advocacy efforts, speaking up is important, but it is critical to not put people on the defensive…Communications need to be persistent, professional, positive and polite…This situation, in particular, is a great opportunity to position ourselves as part of the solution.”

Let’s keep in mind that all of us are working towards a common goal:  to teach our citizens digital literacy skills. 

Please continue to exercise your right to communicate with our governmental agencies and let the FCC know that librarians are trained information professionals who already address their concern that our citizens need to be taught digital literacy skills. Our efforts here may well help lay the foundation for future partnerships to better prepare Americans to navigate the digital landscape.

May the Digital Literacy Corps be with you! (With apologies from a former English teacher who cannot pass up plays on words.)

Image used through a Creative Commons license:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/starwarsblog/793008715/

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