Communicating the great things that we are doing in our school libraries is so important to advocacy. Letting others know about the projects, new books, and countless other activities can be a challenge. When I thought about improving my communication with parents, students, and staff my idea was to create a short, one-page newsletter each month. The newest tool I have been using for promotional library materials is Canva. This seemed like a natural choice to dive into creating this newsletter.
Canva for Educators
If you have not registered for a free educator subscription to Canva, now is the time. Canva gives premium access for free to all K-12 educators. This will allow you to get so many more templates, graphics, fonts, and backgrounds. Canva is a creation tool that is made for those of us that are not marketing inclined. I love how it pairs text colors and fonts that I never would have thought of on my own. The templates are a great way to organize a layout in interesting ways. I regularly use the e-mail template to make interesting headings to staff e-mails. For this project I used one of the newsletter templates. I found a design and color scheme that fit my needs by exploring.
Content for the Newsletter
When deciding what to put into the newsletter each month I wanted to prioritize information to one page. Teachers, parents, and students are busy. My goal was to give them a monthly library update at a glance. I decided to choose to highlight one new library feature, two new books to the library, and a link to the library reading challenge for the month. The color scheme that I chose is our school colors, with a large top heading for a picture. Visuals help and engage! The more pictures and graphics in your chosen layout the better.
Normally when I send out information it is done through e-mail. Either I am sending an all staff e-mail, or I’m putting information in our school newsletter, which is sent by e-mail as well. I have found over the years that this strategy can be hit or miss. Some check all e-mails and read them, some enjoy deleting e-mails that don’t affect them at the moment. Trying a new method I decided to create a newsletter page on my library website. This page is viewable by all at any time. A perfect way for parents and community members as well to see what’s new in the library. Instead of just an e-mail update students, staff, and parents can quickly click and access.
Advocacy is so important in our roles in the school community. We need to show the outstanding things we do for students and teachers everyday. The value that we bring to the school communities we serve. Newsletters are a great way to share small snapshots each month. My hope is that this newsletter will reach eyes it hasn’t in the past and will speak volumes through small amounts of words.
Author: Elizabeth Pelayo
Elizabeth Pelayo is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the AASL AAUP Book Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the nominations committee for the ISLMA Abraham Lincoln Book Award.