This week in class, we are thinking about advocating for your library. I thought the article, “Everyday Advocacy” by Carolyn Foote addressed a lot of important aspects that I hadn’t encountered previously. On page 29, she says to, “Make sure your message is clear, consistent, and focused on your students.” I think it’s important to maintain a clear message–especially one that focuses on the library’s importance when it comes to students.
Otherwise, I think the message could come off as tangential, and one that could be self serving. Especially with online advocacy, people can comment, and conversations can spew out of control. Realizing, that although it may be great to put in your two cents about libraries overall, and to try to convey your passions toward your job, that may not be the best way to serve your students. Instead, the conversation could be directed more towards what’s important to you, rather than why the library is important to the students.
I think it’s also important to document what you do. Take pictures (without showing students’ faces, of course) about what’s happening in your library. Have students write down at the end of the year what they love about the library (so you can build a collection of student voices). Foote’s article is important in advocating the library everyday and why it’s important to constantly advocate, rather than just when times are tough.
Not only can you advocate the importance of libraries by encouraging students to share their opinions, showing what’s happening in the library, as well as creating an online presence, but when you are advocating with students in mind, you are also reaching students who may not utilize the library. By advocating for the library’s importance, you are also showing non-users why the library is important, how it can help them, or raise awareness that the library is more than just a place for books. Also, by sharing the importance of the library everyday, you are not only advocating for the students, but celebrating the library in a positive light.
Here is a video I created to use as an introduction activity to a group of students to inspire them to share what they love about the library. The introduction will serve as a way to help them create a video themselves to advocate for their library.