In the March/April issue of Knowledge Quest, contributing authors Barbara Stripling, Suzanna Panter, Naomi Giles, and I offer stories, strategies, and testimonies of successful advocacy practices—ideas with universal appeal—that show the impact of a well-funded, strong school library.
To be effective, advocacy must become a ubiquitous part of everything school librarians do. Strategic advocacy planning—whether motivated by sudden and tragic actions from school board decision-making or as a deliberate proactive part of everyday library work—is critical to strengthening support for school libraries. The positive effectiveness of data-supported advocacy might be seen in a swift and positive reversal of cuts, or it might serve only to create a slight shift in thinking for future considerations. The impact of advocacy may be isolated to one school or have nationwide results. For example, state and national legislative school library advocacy can take years to accomplish. But if accomplished, the impact likely has far-reaching results.
Advocacy work, being collaborative in nature, happens among cohorts of librarians when they share professional goals and strategies and celebrate the joy of the profession. Below are quotes from Antioch University Seattle’s school library certification students, the next generation of librarians, showing a commitment to advocacy work in their libraries that celebrates students and learning:
“I don’t know yet if this will be a good move or bad move, but it felt like a better space as I turned out the lights. I am looking forward to how the students react.” —Carmen Hart, upon spending her weekend redesigning her library to better fit students’ needs.
“I have taught lessons many times and thought ‘This is either going to go really well and have the most amazing impact on students, or it will flop but give me information on how to tweak it so that I can get those amazing results next time!’ It is from this place of risk that some of my most engaging lessons have been born. When we place value in the reflection of our teaching, without fear of consequences, I believe that it provides teachers with professional trust.” — Anne Gustafson.
“’Marian the Librarian’ from Music Man, is one of my favorite songs of all time and it makes me wonder how I ever chose a different profession. I would sing that song at the top of my lungs at the drop of a hat from the age of 10 to maybe 20? I put it on mix tapes, along with punk, ska, and movie soundtracks. As Marian and “Professor” Harry Hill are about to make the library a thoroughly modern source of joy, collaboration, and energy, they include everyone in a lively dance that uses every available space. I wouldn’t be mad if that happened in my library.” — Carinna Tarvin
About the Guest Editor
Christie Kaaland is the director of school library certification at Antioch University’s School of Education in Seattle, Washington. Her most recent article, “An Author Visit with Dan Gemeinhart” was published in the October 2019 issue of Teacher Librarian. She authored the book Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Recovery in the School Library: Creating a Safe Haven (Libraries Unlimited 2015). She was awarded the Horace Mann Humanitarian Award from Antioch University in 2012. She is a member of AASL.
Read her Guest Editor Column, “Proactive, Ubiquitous, Fierce, Collaborative School Library Advocacy.”
Creating a Viral Advocacy Effort in Tacoma
Suzanna L. Panter
Advocating for the “Why” of School Libraries: Empowering Students through Inquiry
Barbara K. Stripling
One Small Voice: My School Library Advocacy Journey
The Many “Legs” of School Library Legislative Advocacy
The Continuum of Care: A Model for Collaboration with New Teachers
Rita Reinsel Soulen
2020 AASL Election President Candidate Statements
Welcome New 2018-2019 AASL Members
Choosing Books for Today’s Children
Adopting Effective Advocacy Strategies
Guest Editor Column
Proactive, Ubiquitous, Fierce, Collaborative School Library Advocacy
Author: Christie Kaaland
Categories: KQ Content