Do you ever try to explain your job to a friend, family member, or member of your community that isn’t a “library person”? Sure, you can simply say you work with children in libraries, but what if they ask more? If you’re like me, you start in on a long winded spiel about early literacy, collection development, and programming and begin to notice their eyes glaze over.
I, like most of you, am incredibly passionate about my job. I could talk about the importance of libraries all day. Unfortunately, I’m not the best at what you would call an “elevator pitch.” An elevator pitch is a short, succinct, persuasive way to sell an idea, company, or product. An elevator pitch should be as quick as a ride in an elevator. If you’re like me, you’re in luck! The Public Awareness Committee is working on updating and adding to “because statements” to use in these exact situations!
So what is a “because statement?” A “because statement” is a simple way to outline the essential reasons for taking or defending a position. They are especially handy when advocating to local officials and stakeholders.
Still confused? Here’s an example: “Because students who read during the summer, end up on the honor roll in the fall.” As library professionals, we know the importance of summer learning. Using a “because statement” makes it easier to sell that importance. Even better, we can back that statement up with research and data.
Another example, “Because adding Minecraft to curriculum may inspire more future engineers than mathematics alone” supports STEM programming in libraries. Research shows game-based learning appeals to many different learning styles and encourages creative problem solving.
So, the next time you find yourself with “summer slide” on the tip of your tongue, look for the “because statement” that supports it!
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: V. Outreach and Advocacy and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.
Cassie Chenoweth, Children’s Librarian at Orange Beach Public Library in Orange Beach, Alabama, is writing this post on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. She can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org