28 Days of Advocacy #21- Advocacy Apples and Dialing Advocacy 911

An apple a day…
A stitch in time…
An ounce of prevention…

Are there strategies for preserving library services for students? What do you do if your students are on the verge of losing significant parts of their library program or library services altogether? Is there an Advocacy Emergency Plan?

The first 20 Days of Advocacy have focused on topics like what advocacy is, crafting messages, and forging partnerships. Now, it is time to pull together these advocacy strategies, skills, and resources to actively protect and preserve library programs for young people. ‘ This winter, AASL has introduced two new advocacy toolkits. ‘ Being proactive is the focus of the’ School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit, while pulling together an orchestrated response during an advocacy emergency is the focus of the’ AASL Crisis Toolkit. ‘ 

Preventive Medicine

In this time of shrinking and even disappearing budgets, the best time to prevent cuts to library services and programs is before they are even discussed. The planning section of AASL’s’ ‘ School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit‘ guides advocates through a process that begins with designing and promoting programs that are aligned with stakeholder priorities. ‘ The toolkit also emphasizes the gathering and use of data to improve services and programs. Data is then also used to build stakeholder understanding of how the library helps to meet educational goals. Sharing data is also about making sure that when decision makers are faced with difficult decisions, they can make informed decisions. The Resource section of the’ School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit‘ provides recommended lists of materials on topics such as advocacy, school library program research statistics, 21st Century Skills, and Evidence Based Practice. ‘ 

Call the Squad

When budgets fall short, school districts are faced with difficult decisions that they do not want to make. Unfortunately, school library programs are often at the top of budget cut lists. How librarians respond and who they involve in that response, need to be immediate, accurate, positive, coordinated, consistent and clear. Most important, is that all responses must be child-centered. The’ AASL Crisis Toolkit‘ quickly walks school librarians through a detailed process for involving and organizing stakeholders in an advocacy intervention. In addition to the crisis planning resources, the Toolkit includes a resource section that connects users to background, statistical, and strategic information. Links to sample resources and other crisis toolkits are also provided. ‘ 

Keeps the Dr. Away

It is always a good idea to be’ familiar’ with your emergency supplies, but now is the time ‘ to dig into’ the nice juicy advocacy apple and to think prevention. ‘ 

About Deb Logan

AASL Advocacy Committee Chair, AASL Annual Conference Committee Chair, OELMA Advocacy Co-Chair, Mount Gilead High School Librarian/Media Specialist, author, speaker, and advocate.
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