Everyday Advocacy—Introduction

Patron satisfaction is my secret to top-notch library advocacy. If we librarians do our jobs well, our value speaks for itself, through the mouths of our users. When parents, teachers, and students are vocal about their excitement for the library, its resources, the lessons, and the programs, then our work is done. It’s all about strategic planning.

For instance, when I make video tutorials for teachers that show them how to access our library catalog from home, I get questions like, “How did you make those videos? Can I have students make videos like that?”

Two things happen in that professional development moment.

First, teachers learn two skills that will improve student learning: (1) how to access the catalog and (2) screen recording has limitless teaching and learning applications.

Second, I get an opportunity to build a stronger coaching relationship with teachers because I get invited to show them how to make and use screen recordings for flipped classroom structures, demonstrations, and assessments.

Patron satisfaction is my secret to top-notch library advocacy.

Running engaging programs seems like a no-brainer, but don’t take for granted how impactful an exciting, instructive program can be. Library programs are an opportunity to show the school community what resources the library and librarian have to offer. Student enthusiasm for these activities is contagious. While students are raving about the exciting thing they did or learned at the library today, stakeholders will mainly see that that the librarian generates enthusiasm for learning daily. If it’s done correctly, they’ll also see that the library has a secret sauce, i.e. resources, that enrich the school curriculum, and a librarian who pays attention to learning needs school-wide.

These monthly advocacy tips include suggestions for activities, programs, and lessons that will generate enthusiasm for school libraries and demonstrate how essential they are to multiple stakeholders at a time. All of the suggestions are best practices and easy-to-execute activities that won’t require much more than thinking strategically about how to market what we do each day.

Here’s to garnering more library cheerleaders!

Everyday Advocacy” is a column I wrote in 2016 for DC Public Schools. The column was a part of the district librarians’ monthly newsletter update.


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