Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Overwhelmed by: Outreach to Migrant Communities

Outreach to underserved communities is an overwhelming endeavor. Our committee does not want to make it look easy because it truly is not. However, we truly believe that all library staff can do this type of work with the right tools and support. This is why one of our focuses this year is to bridge the gap between tangible resources (like our existing toolkits) and how to get started. Melody Leung and Marika Jeffrey wrote an article in this summer’s issue of  Children and Libraries with some guiding questions to help evaluate your community, develop fruitful partnerships, and implement programs and outreach with specific communities in mind.  Guiding questions can be helpful but specific examples might help bring those concepts to life. Here is a specific example about reaching out to a migrant community: Getting Started  Four years ago, I started working in a rural community in Washington State. To…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

One Voice Magnifies the Message

Library associations are key advocates for the future of libraries. These associations are made of membership from academic, public, school, special, and state libraries. However, in order to communicate an effective message, the many must become one. One Voice leads to stronger membership, stronger professional development, stronger legislative cohesiveness, and stronger advocacy effectiveness. The State Ecosystem Task Force of the Committee on Library Advocacy (COLA) was created to help build stronger relationships between associations, state library organizations, and ALA. The task force created One Voice: The Toolkit to help library organizations access and extend the strength of their ecosystems. What is a library ecosystem? The Library Ecosystem definition from the ALA Ecosystem Initiative Website is as follows:  A library ecosystem is the interconnected network of all types of libraries, library workers, volunteers, and associations that provide and facilitate library services for community members; families; K-20 learners; college and university communities;…

Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Connecting with Library Voters During COVID-19

In an attempt to find out more information and how I could make a positive impact, I attended the Library Advocacy and Funding Conference (LAFCON), hosted by EveryLibrary. LAFCON was extended from September 14 – 16, to the entire week, and there were still too many interesting presentations to take them all in. What made this conference unique was that all the presenters were from outside organizations. Their unique perspectives help frame advocacy in a larger context and deepen my understanding. Let me share some of my favorite take-aways from LAFCON. They Like Us, They Really Do! 

Blogger Early Childhood Programs and Services committee

It’s Just Stories, Isn’t It?

At some point working in a children’s library setting, this may happen to you. Whether it’s the library board, the city council, an administrator, or even one of your customers, they will observe a story time program, be suitably impressed by your event, and ask quite innocently about what exactly you are doing. To the uninitiated, what happens in the room is fun and entertaining. A great place to be in and of itself, but we all know there is lot more to it. Admittedly, in one way or another, these questioners are the ones who pay for what we do, so this provides a great opportunity to inform and enlighten. It’s time to break out your best elevator speech that lends method to the madness. Here at the library, during our infant, toddler, and preschool programming we build a foundation so when young children are taught to read, they…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy from home

May 4-8th  was National Library Legislative Week (NLLW). Traditionally, National Library Legislative Day entails representatives from libraries across the country going in person to Washington, D.C. or to state capitols in order  to lobby congressmen and elected officials for funding. Unable to visit in person, the ALA expanded the day to a week-long advocacy effort, offering daily advocacy activities and trainings online. 

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy in the Age of Uncertainty

To borrow a line from Hemingway, how did my library life change in the last month? Two ways: gradually and then suddenly. COVID-19 has radically changed what I think and feel about my job at the library, and I bet it has for you as well. When our programs were cancelled, I accepted it and kept going. When our doors were closed, I bustled with new ideas: I could create an online storytime. I could use our social media to broadcast much-needed information on school lunch distribution and local ordinances. When the mom of one of my book club kids wrote to ask if we could do a digital book club, I added it to my mental checklist of Proof of the Library’s Value. Information I could use to show how necessary we are, in this time of crisis. Data I could show to stockholders once the dust all settled….

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…