No surprise to anyone who watches television, reads the newspaper, works in a library, or listens to music on YouTube, the US Presidential Election is in 22 days. While the overwhelming majority of Americans are focusing solely on influencing the outcome of this important election, other matters of importance are still happening in Washington and require the voice of each and every one of your library advocates.
In the coming months the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation committee will be highlighting resources which may be useful to you in your advocacy efforts. Today’s resources is Take Action for Libraries, found right on the ALA website.
There have been some changes to the ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee since last year so we would like to reintroduce ourselves.
With my time on the Advocacy & Legislation Committee coming to a close, I thought I would share my experience at the 2016 National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).
When meeting basic needs like rent or medicine becomes a challenge, books are a luxury that few families can justify. Librarians can be powerful advocates and allies for at-risk youth, supporting literacy initiatives for the homeless and housing insecure both within the library and in the wider community.
If you are anything like me, the first time someone asked you to be an advocate for the library you pictured attending some kind of librarian rally event, writing letters to congressmen, and making super scary presentations to library administration and other stakeholders. While all of these things are certainly advocacy, they were intimidating and sounded like they might take more time than I had. However, after becoming acquainted with Everyday Advocacy and doing a lot of thinking, I realized a lot of what I did every day was actually advocacy. Today, I’ll share an example of an early literacy program that I think of as developmentally appropriate advocacy. In 2014, as a result of a random article from the internet and encouragement from many librarian friends, I gave Baby Storytime caregivers washable markers and oil pastels to use to decorate their babies’ faces (read more about the activity here)….
It’s a busy time of year for library advocates, with National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) right around the corner on May 2–3. Even if you don’t have the time or the resources to head to Washington for the day itself, you can participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day (VLLD) activities during the week of May 2–6 (for details, check out the Everyday Advocacy website). Advocacy Begins at Home As the excitement over NLLD and VLLD build, however, it’s important to remember that big, visible campaigns like these are only one small piece of advocacy, and that much, much more is being done on the ground everyday by librarians simply doing their jobs. Ultimately, advocacy means convincing others of the value of library services to children, and we can all do that just by providing great service—and by ensuring that our bosses, administrators, boards, etc. know about it. As a solo school…
At the recent Midwinter Meetings in Boston, new ALSC Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries were officially announced. The changes reflect the way members of ALSC are accomplishing our work. One of those changes is the creating of a new Outreach and Advocacy section. We are very excited that advocacy has been highlighted in this way! Advocacy is definitely a core part of the services librarians have the opportunity to provide to children and their families every day. As the Advocacy & Legislation Committee discussed our work for the upcoming year, we hit upon the idea of highlighting how librarians might be engaging in advocacy without even knowing it. In fact, as we were discussing our advocacy stories, one of our members said, “I don’t have an advocacy story,” and then went on to talk about her after-school programs in her school library, staying open so children have…