Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Thirty Minutes or Less: Simple Acts of Daily Advocacy

dry erase board with learning outcomes

I don’t know about y’all, but my proverbial shelf is full. Full to overflowing most workdays, with never enough time to get it all done. Adding hours of advocacy work on top of the programming, collection development, space maintenance, displays, outreach, desk shifts, readers advisory, marketing, etc. always feels like something I am just a little more behind on than I’d like to be.  Advocacy is often the work that falls off the shelf.  I work in a small, rural library, which means I am a one-woman Children’s department. I’m very fortunate that I get to work with an incredibly collaborative staff at our library. I never have a problem getting a program covered or asking for help with decorating. However, when it comes to advocacy, I realized that no one else can do it for me. I am the subject matter expert. It is my responsibility to keep the…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Share Your Patrons’ Success Stories

We know that libraries are more than just books. They’re places to learn, create, and find community. But many of our stakeholders don’t have a clear idea of what the library offers, or why it’s important. Although we can regale them with statistics on how much money the library can save a taxpayer, or how many children attend our early literacy programming, it’s more convincing for them to hear personal stories from the patrons themselves. Alameda County Library, in the Bay Area of California, uses their “Tell Us Your Library Story” campaign to do just that (full disclosure: this is my library system!). For this campaign, library staff recorded interviews with real patrons and created videos to share their success stories. One patron shared how she invented a product for nursing mothers and tested her design on a library sewing machine. Another patron achieved her dream of earning her high…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Outreach with Early Education Organizations as Library Advocacy

Outreach and advocacy tend to go hand in hand, right? We’re intentional advocates when we’re out in the community. We table. We show-off or model a variety of useful resources, often targeted to the groups were engaging. We play and we talk with families about the library and how our work matches up with their needs. The whole time, we’re telling our story, and promoting its vitality to members of the community. In essence, we’re building relationships with new users. This topic is on my mind a lot because it adds meaning and purpose to the outreach I do. So, today I’d like to pose a question I’ve asked myself frequently: what does advocacy look like when we outreach to daycares, preschools, head starts, or other early education organizations – especially when our main role is to facilitate a storytime with children? I serve a heavily populated urban community, so…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Banned Books Week Is Advocacy for Libraries

“Why are these banned?” It was my second week at a new library, and a teen patron was perusing a Banned Books Week display I had hastily put together. A sign read “Banned Books Week 2019” and featured this year’s graphic of a lightbulb from the ALA. There were no handouts or infographics in the display to answer his question. It was a reminder to me that Banned Books Week not only invites people to learn about why books become challenged or banned, but it also allows people to learn that books are challenged and banned in the United States. Founded in 1982, Banned Books Week reaches an estimated 2.8 billion people via mainstream media coverage and inspires countless displays and events across the country. My colleagues on the Advocacy and Legislation Committee shared with me how their libraries celebrated the week: they hosted community read-outs, blogged about Banned Books Week, and crafted Instagram-worthy book…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy and the Library Card

Happy Library Card Sign-Up Month! As Summer Reading winds down, we shift focus to signing children up for library cards while they head back to school. In past years, my coworkers and I participated in Library Card Sign-Up Month by visiting kindergarten classrooms to deliver library cards. This year our effort has stayed in-house. Some libraries roll out ad campaigns, focusing on library cards as an essential back to school accessory, while others give out free books or set up booths at local markets. Regardless of how your library participates, Library Card Sign-Up Month is an excellent time to advocate for the importance of a library card. Informing people about all of the resources they can access with their card is advocacy at its most basic. What other chance do we get to talk with people about how the library can personally help them? If you are looking for more…

ALA Annual 2019

Advocacy Resources at ALA Annual 2019

Annual is coming up fast! In case you want to brush up on how to best advocate for yourself and your library, here’s a quick rundown of the advocacy-related meetings taking place in DC. The best part? All the meetings listed below are open and included in your conference registration. Start out your conference on Saturday, June 22 by attending Grassroots Advocacy and Librarians: Using Research Power to Make Change (Recorded Session) to learn more about how grassroots lobbying works. Panelists will discuss the ins and outs of organizing and how libraries provide the resources and services necessary to effectively make a case to government officials and agencies. Follow up that session with Turning Enemies into Advocates: How Empathy-Based Training Eliminated Barriers Between Youth & Our Staff (Recorded Session), presented by YALSA. This session will explore the challenges front-line staff face when serving teen patrons and discuss to what extent libraries should…