As we prepare to finish month one of 2023, I find myself being reminded of my intentions and goals for the year. This year, I am exploring the idea of using monthly challenges to meet larger quarterly and annual goals.
Below is a list of suggested public awareness and advocacy topics that you can add to your calendar. In the spirit of DIY, choose the order, handpick the ones you love, and make them your own! (Need more ideas? Read What’s Your Advocacy Passion?)
Month 1: Learn from Your Colleagues
Have you recently scheduled time to learn from your peers? I find that these experiences often help spark new ideas and help shape my plans for the future. Seeing how others spread awareness or reach new communities can inspire me to try my own spin. Need some immediate gratification and motivation for the year ahead? There’s still time to register for the LibLearnLX23 Digital Experience and have access to the on-demand talks.
Month 2: Stand up for the Right to Read
Build your resources and toolkits to make sure that youth have access to stories that represent them. “Mirrors. Windows. Sliding glass doors.”
- The National Coalition Against Censorship’s Youth Free Expression Program contains free resources, as well as the many found at the Library Bill of Rights.
- Feeling bold? Splurge on posters and bookmarks or print your own from the Libraries Transform toolkit.
- Read more at Unite Against Book Bans by Reporting Challenges.
Month 3: Serve the Underserved
Dive deeper with the Library Services to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers Toolkit – the “Getting Started” document is a great overview of the resources and tools, which are organized into easy to find sections. There are lots of ALSC blog posts about the topics, as well as a recent education program entitled Overwhelmed by Underserved Communities (2022 ALSC National Institute).
Month 4: Create a Community of Library Lovers
Does your community of supporters need a little nurturing? The I Love Libraries and United for Libraries websites are great places to get more resources on building your friends, trustees, foundations, and more.
This is also a great time to refresh how you are best capturing feedback and stories. Thanks to the State Library of North Carolina, I am going to try a Library Mad Lib approach. This could be a great time to leverage existing resources and initiatives, like National Library Week.
Month 5: Leverage Existing Partnerships and Toolkits Created for Libraries
There are so many amazing resources out there, created just for libraries. If you have more recommended toolkits, please post them in the comments.
- Citizen Science at Your Library
- NASA@ My Library
- Project BUILD
- Crazy 8s Club
- Perfect Partners: Libraries and the Humanities
Month 6: Make the Most of Out of School Time
Summer reading is prime time for librarians, take a look at how you can maximize the summer reading experience through Learning Beyond: 21st Century Summer and Out of School Time Programs for Youth and this ALSC Blog post about the toolkit.
Month 7: Engage All Families
Revisit the 2017 Family Engagement Toolkit and Ideabook: Libraries for Families for ways to really reach families in your library.
Month 8: Get Involved and Represent
Join a roundtable or associations like Black Caucus American Library Association, APALA – Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Association of Jewish Libraries, and REFORMA.
Month 9: Collaborate with Teachers and School Media Colleagues Librarian networks are a great place to connect and learn and there’s many opportunities for collaboration on social media and with schools. Having a Mock Newbery could be a great place to start.
Month 10: Tell Your Library Story
In a world where the ‘Punk’ D.C. public library shirt raises $100K and the NY Times highlights how Librarians Are Meeting Younger Readers Where They Are: TikTok, think about how you are telling your library story.
Month 11: Advocate Your Way
Build Relationships in the way you know best. Here in Florida, we can use Advocacy Action Center as a tool for resources here. Advocacy is very important and you are your own best ally.
Month 12: Celebrate Your Success and Reset for Next Year
Congratulations on your year of awesomeness. Breaks are always important- easy to talk about and hard to actually implement!
Need more resources? Don’t forget great tools like Advocacy, Legislation & Issues, EveryLibrary, and ALSC Championing Children’s Services Toolkit.
Kimberly White, Youth Services Coordinator at Broward County Libraries Division in South Florida is writing this post on behalf of the Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This post addresses the following: ALSC Core Competency V.6 Outreach and Advocacy.