Make today the day to check out Everyday Advocacy!
Children’s librarians advocate every day, from informing parents of the importance and significance of early literacy experiences, to promoting the best books for our clientele, to engaging potential users and informing funders. ALSC provides the Everyday Advocacy website http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/ to provide inspiration, tips and support in this essential endeavor.
I find the pursuit of partnerships to be a particularly productive path to advocacy. Cultivation of collaborations is a crucial element of my everyday advocacy efforts. The patience and persistence of building coalitions within communities can pay off in several ways, as illustrated at our Read for the Record event earlier this week.
Working with established partners, in both the public and private sector, the library was able to host a spectacular public reading of Otis, by Loren Long for over 700 attendees. There were antique tractors, (one that looked just like Otis!), a calf that endured 2 hours of petting by preschoolers, and a model of a cow that could be “milked”. The local PBS station photographed families and recorded memories of favorite stories. A banjo player headed up the parade and provided accompaniment to rousing versions of “Old McDonald and Bingo, complete with large letters held aloft during the choruses to reinforce letter recognition. College-level child development students assisted with book-related crafts and activities and led children in games of Ring-Around-the-Rosie and Leapfrog. Local orchards donated apples for each participant and, thanks to the Pearson Foundation, every child received their very own copy of Otis.
Over a dozen agencies and businesses joined forces on this event. We never could have achieved this success without one another and the result was exponential. The community came together to interact, strengthening civic bonds and contributing to the social and emotional development of the children that attended. Families participated in a quality educational and cultural experience that was literacy based and raised awareness of library services. The TV news media broadcast the festivities on the evening news which expanded that awareness. Finally, we attracted the attention of a representative from the Pearson Foundation and the County Executive, both of whom attended and were thrilled and impressed by the creativity, organization and commitment of the library staff and their partners.
We made a lot of friends on Thursday, and friends are our strongest supporters—everyday!