Your palms sweat; your throat becomes dry and scratchy.’  Your knees knock together and every time you try to speak, all that comes out is a slow hoarse whisper.

Often this is what happens when you go to speak in front of a group of people or in front of people in powerful positions. Our fears can be very gripping and can prevent us from being the best possible advocates that we can be.’  In order to get our voices heard, though, we must get past our fears of speaking out.’  The following are three central “Fear Issues” that we have all faced at one point in time or another and pointers to help overcome them. Read More →

Forming partnerships is much like beginning a friendship. Oftentimes, we do not even think about how we create new friendships…so how does it happen? We smile at someone we may not know, say hello, and look for common ground to talk about. When we discover people who share common interests, we plan activities around those interests. Most importantly, we share work, laughter, and’ accomplishments in ways that help us to understand our friends, ourselves , and the world we live in. We form partnerships in much the same way. First, we look about to find people who share our mission and goals. More than likely, we will have to approach them first, and much like making friends, a smile and a handshake can go a long way to get us started. Read More →

iPods synching the ‘Best of YouTube’ podcasts with earbuds around necks and hanging out of shirts collars.’  Bodies lounging on “poosh” pillows while texting with one hand.’  Email, VoiceThreads, and Flickr on computer screens.’  Conversation!’  Comfy chairs filled with engrossed readers on digital devices…

Library of the future? No, this could (and should) be the library media center of today!

School libraries in the 21st century should no longer be a place filled only with print materials.’  They should be evolving into interactive media centers filled with high speed Internet connections capable of reaching global audiences.’  They should have a full range of technology tools (such as iTouch’s, Flipcam’s, document cameras, digital cameras, etc.) available for teacher checkout.’ ‘  They should feature new titles and current information resources – both online and in print.’  And most important, they should contain active and interested students before, after and during school hours. Read More →

When we talk about gaining support for teen services, we often look through a lens of direct supervisors, administrators, and board members. Sometimes the lens changes to those of our youth services colleagues who may not be gung ho about teen services. The teen services advocate however, should never underestimate the potential of support from all levels and departments of staff.’  Building allies, even in the more unlikely areas of your organization can reap enormous and surprising benefits.
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In a profession filled with acronyms and specialized taxonomy, sometimes it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what we mean.

Just one example: When a couple of my colleagues thought I should write a post for 28 Days of Advocacy, my first response was, “Um, I don’t think I know anything about advocacy.”

They laughed.

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“No.” It is one of the first words we hear as human beings.’  And, in turn, as I have learned from my one year old and her friends, it is one of the first words we learn to say.

So how do we deal with this heavily loaded word when we hear it as a response to our library advocacy and the issues within it? How do we continue in our pursuit of our goals when this blow is dealt to us? Read More →

Like many of you, I’ve been thrilled to see the amazing amount of positive attention libraries of all types have been receiving in the media recently.’ ‘  Librarians across the country are using this media attention as a springboard for advocating and spreading the word about what an asset libraries and librarians are to their communities.’  And it seems so much easier to step into the role of advocate,’  particularly with legislators and decision-makers, when you’ve got a recent newspaper or TV report featuring lots of people proclaiming their love of libraries in your hands!’  But what about translating these statements of support and appreciation from the people we serve into action?’  What about recruiting individuals outside of the Library community to advocate with us and for us? Read More →

I’m glad I’m following Julie Scordato’s excellent post on creating a Teen Services Vision Statement, since the task of shaping Teen Services staffs’ job descriptions should be the next step after creating and sharing that Vision Statement.

Anyone looking to create a mission/vision statement or job description should take a look at Peter Drucker’s Managing the Non-Profit Organization, which looks very dry, but is actually stuffed with great anecdotes and common sense.’  In a discussion of how to manage staff, he writes (emphasis mine):

People require clear assignments.’  … They need to know what the institution expects of them.’  But the responsibility for developing the work plan, the job description and the assignment should always be on the people who do the work.

Everyone in the non-profit institution, whether chief executive or volunteer foot soldier, needs first to think through his or her own assignment.’  What should this institution hold me accountable for? The next responsibility is to make sure that the people with whom you work and on whom you depend understand what you intend to concentrate on, and what you should be held accountable for. Read More →

As I’ve written before, it’s process committee appointment time. That doesn’t mean that I sit around reading through forms and match volunteers with committees. While that’s a part of the process, I’m also having phone conversations with current chairs of process committees in order to better understand the work of each committee, what skills the committee chair needs to bring to the committee, and to learn about the skills needed by committee members.

As a result, I’m doing a lot of talking. But, the committee chairs are also doing a lot of talking and it’s great.’  Read More →