Depending on ALA, AASL, ASLA or legislative action to protect libraries is short sited and the least effective strategy for improving budget woes. The building and maintaining of relationships have the greatest impact, negatively or positively, locally and nationally. It is through these relationships that advocacy for our programs naturally occur. “One parent telling a school board how important he thinks the library program is to his child is more powerful than a dozen AASL brochures. One teacher willing to tell the principal that library services have helped her class be more successful secures library funding better than any mandate. One community group that works with school libraries to build information literacy skills is more effective than any set of state or national standards. But the kicker is that we need to make sure we build the kind of relationships with parents, teachers and the community that are strong enough that members of these groups will speak on our behalf.”
So what can you do?
Know your patrons. If the local school board were to vote to replace you (the certified librarian) with an aide or to close the library what reaction would your teachers, students, parents have regarding this decision? Would they advocate for the library program or not care one way or another?
Shamelessly self promote. Leverage social media and the Web. While school librarians don't commonly brag on their achievements, detailing what you do via an online presence is essential in this economic climate. Make sure your community knows what you provide. Build an identity that exemplifies a clear, stated mission. Invite parents, community leaders, school board members, city council representatives, and local and state politicians to events at your library.
Congress Denies Federal Funding for School Libraries in FY2011." School Library Journal. 15 Apr. 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/890227-312/congress_denies_federal_funding_for.html.csp>.Ishizuka, Kathy. "Tech Trends: ISTE 2011: Don Your 'Big Girl Panties'" School Library Journal. 11 July 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/slj/home/891266-312/tech_trends_iste_2011_don.html.csp>.Johnson, Doug. "Budgeting for Mean Lean times." Blue Skunk Blog. Nov.-Dec. 1995. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://www.doug-johnson.com/dougwri/budgeting-for-mean-lean-times.html>.Johnson, Doug. "4 Rules of Library Advocacy." Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk Blog. 12 Sept. 2011. Web. 05 Jan. 2012. <http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2011/9/12/4-rules-of-library-advocacy.html>.