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How do YOU advocate for your library?

I’ve noticed that nearly every district in the metro area has a bond and mill levy for decision on the ballot this year.  In our district, the literature promoting the passage of these issues places libraries (in the form of library clerks and librarians) squarely on the chopping block.  Given the wild economic ride we’ve been on this fall, I’m quite worried.

While my partner librarian and I think we’ve been advocating for our program, we routinely come across staff members, parents, and students who envision a librarian’s job as unchanged from the past; and I mean the DISTANT past.  (“Wow, I’d love to be a librarian and read all day!”)  According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, “members of Gen Y are the leading users of libraries for help solving problems and in more general patronage.”  So the technology loving Generation Y gets it.  How can we get everyone else to understand the breadth of a librarian’s duties?

So my bigger question (and I hope there are as many responses as there are readers) is this–what have you found to be the most effective methods of promoting your program?

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2 Responses

  1. We publish our usage statistics monthly in form of a newsletter to all staff and administration. These data include: walkin count, classes taught, circulation numbers.
    We also provide frequent PR pieces during our faculty meetings, such as collaboration awards or staff development mini-lessons. The last parent newsletter included one page about our library achievements.

  2. Below are a list of actions I’ve taken as Manager of Educational Technology (which includes District Media Services) in trying to advocate for St. Vrain’s libraries:

    1. Have HR participate once each year in our three monthly meetings
    (Media Tech – elementary; Media Clerk and Teacher Librarian – secondary) to listen to the media staff’s requests, answer questions, provide feedback and advice.
    2. Be present in the meeting with Union rep and the media staff regarding
    help through master agreement werbage (reviewed Jeffco verbage).
    3. Discuss this need with every principal in the district in 2005 –
    2006 to gain their thoughts on this need in their school; review the academic benefits of this option for their students including Library Research Service information; discuss best practice; give them a document which presented a justification for this approach.
    4. Surveyed the state districts to ascertain which school district
    had this recommended FTE approach adopted; documented what all districts had. Results are published with CDE.
    5. Advocated with Director of Information Technology
    Services and Directors of Human Relations.
    6. Presented this need as part of report to the School Board.
    March 6, 2006 (attached SB.DMS.ppt)
    7. Conducted a survey of Library Priorities by principals,
    teachers, library staff (9/2007) – attached.
    8. Community presentation (3/27/08)
    9. School Instructional Technology Model for Success (3/24/08)
    given to Director of ITS
    10. Reviewed state and national research, for example, South
    Carolina’s state document recommendations Appendix D, Colorado Springs D11’s implementation plan: Technology support for success, Denver Post article.
    11. Have meeting planned with HR and separate one with Deputy Superintendent of Learning Services and the Union Rep.

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