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CASL Launches New Advocacy Site!

CASL Survive and Thrive Advocacy Website

CASL is helping School Librarians Speak Out

We’ve launched a great new website to help school librarians advocate in a positive manner to save and support school libraries.  The CASL Survive and Thrive website provides tools to educate and inform stakeholders about the vital and irreplaceable role that school librarians play in teaching and learning.  In order to better communicate to our community members what “21st century skills” are all about, CASL developed “taglines” for the 21st century skills of the Colorado Academic Standards (seen at right).  On the site, you will find message templates (sample e-mails, letters, newsletter blurbs, brochures, and even videos) containing  the taglines and targeting specific stakeholder audiences in order to promote school librarians as 21st century skills experts. Check out the site and start advocating!


Keith Curry Lance on the Importance of School Libraries.

Listen to Keith’s latest interview about the impact of school libraries and librarians on student achievement. The interview is part three in a series of reports Bob Edwards has done about libraries. This is a great interview to share with non-librarians that want (or need) to know more about the vital role of school librarians in the 21st Century learning environment.

Hear the podcast “The State of American libraries, Part 3” at: http://podcast.com/episode/64457129/32910/

CASL Virtual Meeting at CAL 2010

For all of those unable to join in the face-to-face meeting at CAL on Saturday, October 9, 2010 at 12:00 noon, here is an opportunity to participate in the conversation! In our CASL meeting at CAL, we will have round table topics aligned to the different subcommittees we will be forming for CASL this year. Please consider leaving your comments and feedback on these posts to participate virtually! If you would like to volunteer for one of these subcommittees, or if you just would like to share your ideas, please leave a comment!

Additionally this year at CAL, we will be launching a “letter to the editor” campaign –to share our stories and help our communities better understand the important work that you and your school library do to assure all students have opportunities to acquire important 21st century skills identified in the revised Colorado Content Standards.

If you would like to participate, you can use the template linked below to craft your letter.   Also, you will find links to easily locate Colorado Newspapers as recipients of your letter.

Template for Letter to the Editor:  TemplateforLettertotheEditor

Colorado Press Association

Lastly, we want to share with you a PowerPoint presentation, “School Libraries and Learning” with a script that any school librarian can adapt and make your own by putting in your own pictures, stories, and statistics.  Use this to advocate for your program by sharing at a school parent or faculty meeting.  The links are below.

School Libraries and Learning

School Libraries and Learning Script

We are looking forward to an exciting year in CASL and hope that many of you will choose to become involved!

Nancy White
Co-President, CASL 2009-10


Important Advocacy Statement

The SIGMS (special interest group for media specialists) at ISTE has just issued a great advocacy statement – “The Role of School Librarians in Promoting the Use of Educational Technologies”. This document can be used to provide information on the important role that school librarians play in promoting the use of educational technologies in their schools and the need for libraries to have adequate available technologies. Please share this statement with administrators and other library stakeholders. See the document at http://sigms.iste.wikispaces.net/advocacy. – From Dave Sanger

School Librarians are Teachers

We are fortunate to have so many dedicated and talented school librarians in Colorado. Recently, Sudi Hope Stodola worked with a team of librarians from Denver Public Schools to create a video to share this important message. Many, many thanks to Sudi and contributors Alfredo Pinto, Cindy Spruce, Chris Coble, Cheri Hilton, Stacy Nishioka, Jim Goffred and Karen Burns.  Here is Sudi’s message:

In response to the many cuts in our district, Denver Public School librarians created a video as part of our advocacy campaign. The goal is to distribute this video to administrators teachers and parents to (re)establish the view of school librarians as teachers and essential, rather than as a position easily replaced by hourly employees.

Those of us involved in the project feel rather proud of our product. Please view and offer feedback and/or share with others as you see fit.

School Librarians & Change – Part 3 of 3 by Nancy White

Change is in our midst. To be sure, there is nothing more constant than change, but I believe 2010 is going to be the year that stands out for school librarians in Colorado. In the third and final chapter of these blog entries on change, I will examine the impact of the declining economy and budget cuts school districts are facing and how this could impact school libraries.

I don’t envy school and district administrators – they have some rough waters ahead.  They are being forced to make decisions they don’t want to make, cut programs, cut staff – whatever it takes to balance the budget, while still meeting the needs of all students. How will they decide- what stays –and what –or who – goes?  I expect that most districts have similar goals when scrutinizing the budget for money-saving measures:  Keep the cuts as far away from the “classroom” as possible. So where does that leave the school library?

A few years back, Colorado had a major initiative on the ballot, Amendment 39, otherwise known as “The 65% Solution.”  It is interesting to note that, thanks in part to the wonderful efforts of our Colorado Association of Libraries (CAL) lobbyists, school libraries were included in the definition of classroom spending. Otherwise, had this initiative passed, school libraries would have been on the chopping block if districts were forced to cut spending that was not defined as direct support to classroom instruction.

 First Class Education’s web site now notes, “librarians and libraries are important and have a direct impact on classroom instruction.” First Class has added these items as inside the classroom expenses on state ballot measures. (Waterous, Frank. (20 September, 2006). 65 Percent Solution Spending Plans for Colorado School Districts. Available http://thebell.org/PUBS/IssBrf/2006/0865Percent.pdf)

 That was then, this is now.  Chances are, the decision about keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible is being made now at your local level – by your principal, or your district administrators. So the question is – what do they believe about school libraries?  That largely depends on YOU.  Do they understand the important connection between the work that you do, through one-on-one instruction and support and collaboration with classroom teachers that has such a tremendous impact on student achievement? Do they know that you are the one who can lead the way toward assuring students obtain the essential 21st century skills identified in the new content standards? Have you shared your story?

The school librarian “advocacy hat” is one that can never be cast away.  And now, more than ever, with budgets being slashed, and an alarming trio of initiatives making their way to the Colorado ballot that would require further budget cuts for schools, you really must be sure that they understand. The library touches every person in the school – students – teachers – administrators – parents. How will you tell this story?

Here are three things I believe can help you in your advocacy efforts. 

Do Less of This Do More of This
1. Measuring  and sharing success only with circulation statistics Measuring  and sharing success connected to student’s reading scores,  and increased mastery of 21st century skills
2. Emphasis on “save the library” Emphasis on equity in education: frame it from the impact on student achievement
3. Telling your story alone Get your community to tell your story for you…teachers, parents, students – everyone you touch – together – share your success stories far and wide!

 Change is in the air.  Are you ready?

Nancy White
CASL Co-President

Parent Support

The National PTA just received Gates funding to help parents be engaged in standards advocacy.

CASL has partnered with the Colorado PTA to discuss collaborations around educating parents and engaging them as supporters of libraries.

What are you doing with parents as advocates?
Are you interested in developing our statewide partnership?
Advice? In these hectic times, working together can be energizing. Let us know what you’re up to or your thoughts….