Where Lifelong Learners are Developing

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Advocacy and Leadership

"Social media is not going away…best to keep in step with it & model proper use than fight against it," as stated by Gwyneth Jones in "Transparency is the New Black." Using any one of the eight various types of social media mentioned by Jones would be a great way to advocate libraries. What a better way to promote a product than to let your customers see it being used in action.

Rebecca Ekstrom used this vary technique to promote her middle school library in New York. She incorporated the goals for the library along with photos, text, and music into an Animoto video that could be shared with and view by faculty, staff, students, parents, and even the Board of Education. This use of social media to advocate Ekstrom's library allowed her to demonstrate the importance and the benefits to students by having a certified librarian in the school. Ekstrom says, "Using Animoto as an advocacy tool helps others to see what students gain from our programs and that being a school librarian is a multi-faceted job." By being a leader in technology she can help others to see that a librarian is extremely essential in motivating students to read, teaching students how to become effective users of information, and engaging a variety of learners by using a combination of technology tools.

It is up to the librarian to advocate, promote, or market what the library has to offer for the school and to build relationships with teachers, students, staff, and parents. Woolls mentions that it is significant to keep activities positive and reduce the negative aspects associated with the school library. This will help others to see that the library is useful, necessary, and it is the center of the school. Librarians can create that positive environment by collaborating with teachers, displaying student work, making special efforts for teachers and students, changing bulletin boards and/or displays frequently, offering a variety of activities to entice users, changing or removing the fines policy, handling inappropriate student behaviors themselves, and having a positive attitude.

Another part of being a leader and an advocate for the library is to think and act like a sales representative. Woolls suggests using a variety of sales techniques to promote the library including school announcements, school newsletters, flyers, demonstrations, displays, brochures, presentations, and even free samples. If librarians can be successful at using these tools the results will hopefully be happy teachers, students, staff, and parents. If these users are pleased then in turn they will develop into great advocates for the library.

Several of the articles mention that it is an exciting time to be a librarian and it is definitely a multi-faceted job. Hamilton's comment supports this idea in that she believes a librarian functions as a connector, teacher, producer, impresario, and a concierge. She says being a librarian makes her feel more like a teacher than when she was teaching in the classroom. As a librarian you have continual opportunities to explore, investigate, discover, learn, teach, and work with an assortment of people from diverse backgrounds, aptitudes, and ages.

If we as librarians can learn to embrace these changes then we will have the opportunity to experience this as an exciting time. Nancy Dowd points out that the world will move on with or without us. If librarians can embrace these changes, change their thinking and mindset, and re-imagine the core purpose then we will be able to provide the connections and resources that the users need. By making these changes, librarians can be great advocators, leaders, and supporters of the library and its users. "Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." –Will Rogers

Works Cited:

American Association of School Librarians. Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs. Chicago: AASL, 2009. Print.

Dowd, Nancy. "The 'M' Word - Marketing Libraries: Godin, Gutenberg and Going Forward." New Marketing Trends 14 May 2011. 27 May 2011. <http://themwordblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/godin-guttenberg-and-going-forward.html>.

Hamilton, Buffy. "Are Librarians, Not Seth Godin, The Ones Missing the Point on Libraries?" The Unquiet Librarian 16 May 2011. Web. 27 May 2011. <http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/are-librarians-not-seth-godin-the-ones-missing-the-point-on-libraries/>.

Jones, Gwyneth A. "Transparency is the New Black." The Daring Librarian. 3 Apr. 2012. Web. 1 June 2012. <http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/2012/04/transparency-is-new-black.html>.

Johns, Sara K. "Guest Post: Visibility Works!"
Make Some Noise!
School Library Journal, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 01 June 2012. <http://blogs.slj.com/make-some-noise/2012/03/09/visibility-works/>.

Johnson, Doug. "BFTP: Why I Belong to ALA/AASL." The Blue Skunk Blog. 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 1 June 2012. <http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2012/4/14/bftp-why-i-belong-to-alaaasl.html>.

Woolls, Blanche. The School Library Media Manager. 4th ed. Westport, Connecticut: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. Print.


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