3 Ways to Actively Advocate for Your Library
Not sure how to showcase the value of your school library? Need some ideas on how to advocate for your program? Check out these three ways to actively advocate for your school library during School Library Month and all year long!
1. Monthly Data Collection
Data. Not a word, as teachers, that we always like to hear. However when it comes to actively advocating for your library, collecting data is crucial part of the process. The more data you are able to collect the better you will be able accurately paint a picture of your library activity to administrators and stake holders.
If your administrator or supervisor does not already request data from you regularly, it may be worth it to start the collection practice. Three good areas of focus are student visitors, amount of time providing direct instruction and circulation. Providing the number of student visitors lets stakeholders see the number of students who visit in addition to the day to day students with whom you are working. If you have a fixed or flexible schedule, it is good to track your teaching time, especially because of the other management responsibilities you may have on top of planning and teaching lessons. Finally, keeping track of circulation will help you track from year to year or month to month how many books are moving in and out of your library. This also helps justify spending and reinforces any purchasing you may do.
For a quick, one page data collection tool you can use for the whole year, try this FREE Library Monthly Data Collection tool.
2. Active Social Media
Get out there! If your district allows, start a social media page for your school library. Twitter and Instagram or Facebook are great places to start. It will help you create a professional network as well as promote the good things happening in your space.
Working in an Elementary setting? Not to worry, your social media does not have to target your students, it can be for parents or the community instead. At the secondary level, use what your students are using. This can be a great way to highlight events, actively advocate for your library, and share newly purchased titles directly with students.
Not enough time? There's an app for that! Free accounts with programs like Hootsuite and Planoly will allow you to pre-plan and schedule your postings so you can ensure that your content goes out during a high visibility time for your audience.
Need a place to start? Use this free social media planner, specifically designed for librarians to plan out your postings, focus on special library events during the school year and generate hashtags to increase your visibility.
3. Elevator Speech
Every time someone asks what you do, be ready to articulate in a concise manner what you do, following the word "librarian". With the changes in the field of librarianship over the last 5-10 years, school librarians know we don't do the same things that were done twenty years ago, however that message has not always expanded beyond our profession.
My go-to line is: I'm a middle school librarian. I teach research and information literacy.
That is also the origin of my website tagline! I have used that phrase often and with positive results. It clarifies without being too preachy.
Gone are the days of a librarian sitting behind a desk checking out books all day. And to ensure that our patrons, peers, administrators and the people we meet on the street know what we do, we have to be ready to actively advocate for our libraries.
Don't forget to check out the FREE Library Monthly Data Collection Tool!
What are you going to say next time someone asks what you do?
Hi! I'm Sarah, a school librarian and former middle school English teacher. I empower school librarians to use branding and marketing skills in order to build culture, get visible and advocate for their library.