Getting VOCAL

The need for advocacy in our school libraries is nothing new. The truth remains that others won’t know our stories if we don’t tell them. So, it’s up to us to share and to share often and share widely.

Recently, I took a new position as the library and media services specialist for our school district. It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to work with all 80+ talented teacher librarians across our county. Among my many goals in this new position, I want to provide more ways for them to share their work with each other, our community, and of course, beyond our school district.

As a simple first step, I created a Twitter account and Facebook page for us. Our name reflects our purpose. We are VOCAL, Voices Of CCSD’s Amazing Librarians. The idea is that we are loud and proud—and we will make ourselves heard.

Once VOCAL was launched, I contacted our district’s media relations department and they happily promoted us through social media and in the district’s weekly newsletter. It was important to garner the district’s support because we know that sometimes even our fellow educators don’t fully understand all that we do in our school libraries. This also helped us reach all the people in our community who follow our district’s Facebook and Twitter accounts and broadened VOCAL’s audience.

VOCAL gives all our teacher librarians across the district a platform to share their work. Some of us use Twitter, and others use Facebook, but since the accounts are linked, everyone sees our posts. Even though we’ve only been officially posting for a few weeks, we’ve been able to share quite a bit of great news, including two schools being awarded Laura Bush grants, a school being honored for best website in the state, one of our teacher librarians sharing her literacy skills with schools in St. Kitts, kick-off events for summer reading, and engaging families with home visits to surprise student readers. All this, and more! We also share professional articles about literacy, pictures of lessons, videos of student projects, and links to resources. Of course, I may be a little biased, but there’s a lot of wonderful work and learning happening in our district’s school libraries. And, I know our district isn’t the only one with great things to share.

Seeing how VOCAL’s posts are telling our stories and expanding what people know about school libraries and teacher librarians is exciting. Advocacy on social media isn’t new, but it’s providing a wonderful opportunity for us to share often and share widely.

Follow VOCAL on Twitter or like us on Facebook! We’d love to see what other teacher librarians and districts are doing. How are you sharing your story?


Author: Christine James

I am the Library and Media Services Specialist for Charleston County School District in South Carolina. Previously, I was the teacher librarian at Northwoods Middle School in North Charleston, South Carolina. When I’m not working with our district’s teacher librarians and advocating for our school libraries, I like to read on the beach, play with my puppies, and try new restaurants with my husband.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics

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