Advocacy

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.

http://animoto.com/play/jIbqTnixRMZoiTcTA5YVyw

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3 thoughts on “Advocacy

  1. I completely agree with you (and Foote!) about the importance of advocacy as part of the everyday routine. I’m hopeful that as we enter library jobs, we will be setting up programs with advocacy built in (through regular communication via blog, social media, etc.) so that it doesn’t feel like an extra responsibility, but just part of daily library life. Thanks for the tip on taking photos. It’s such a simple thing, but I find I’m terrible at remembering this. I have just one or two photos from all my fieldwork hours. That’s something I absolutely need to develop a system for so I don’t overlook it in the daily hustle and bustle. Great video, too!

  2. What I liked about your video, Lisa, is that it serves as what I often refer to as a “trigger” video, that is, it would be great to trigger your discussion with this vid. Thanks for the everyday advocacy perspective. It makes good sense!

  3. I really liked your idea of having students write down what they love about the library to build a collection of student voices-I really think having students advocate for the library is a powerful advocacy tool. I also thought your focus on the library’s everyday importance was very true and would be very valuable in advocacy.

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