My name is Nell German, and I have been a high school media specialist for three years, one in Illinois, and two in Georgia. I have had the blessing to work in two public libraries and a law school library, so I have sort of covered the gambit.
We have a unique opportunity during the month of August, to really advocate for our libraries, at all levels. How, you may ask? By taking advantage of the Congressional break and inviting our legislators into our libraries.
Illinois has not had a state budget for two years. School districts are having to cut certified media specialist in most, if not all of their schools. I interviewed for a position where I would have been a district media specialist for a district with one high school (1600 students), two middle schools, and six elementary schools. The two middles schools would have had an aide, and the elementary schools relied on parent volunteers. There was no budget for additional collection development.
In Georgia, the public libraries are severely underfunded. Despite the herculean efforts of the staff, many public libraries are not able to add even the most popular new titles to their collections.
We all know how crucial our school and public libraries are, let’s get our legislators into our libraries and let them know the struggles we are all dealing with. YALSA and the legislative committee have some great resources available to you. The one to start with is the brief webinar of how to approach your legislator and how to open these very necessary conversations.
Here is a link to the webinar. It is very informative and will help you break the ice and get over the hurdle of excuses as to why you can’t do it. I know, for me, this time of year is crazy busy, but it is also the best time to really highlight how important my position is, and why our legislators need to be advocating for us.
Nell German is a Media Specialist at Griffin High School in Griffin, GA.