Everyone needs help sometime. Whether you are a recognized leader in your building and district, just taking the first steps into leadership, or feeling not quite ready to do so, situations occur that cause stress, anxiety, or fear. In addition, none of us are experts at everything.
ALA and AASL are very often your backup but first you need to know what they have for you. And while I strongly believe all school librarians should be members of ALA/AASL this help available to you even if you aren’t a member. Did you know about the many toolkits available on the website?
Promote Your Program
Want help in promoting your school library program? There is a toolkit for that. The 77-page downloadable PDF discusses Leadership, Advocacy, Communication, and L4L (Learning for Life). Leadership gives practical advice on how to reach stakeholders at building, district, community, and state levels. It explains what works and what gets in the way. Success Stories encourage you and offer some ideas on what else you can do – including one from me on Elevator Speeches with Strangers. You can even see videos on Dispositions, Communications, and Visions of the Future.
Advocacy also has suggestions for reaching out to your stakeholders from students to the community. More Success Stories follow and answers are provided for the Tough Questions people are likely to throw at you. Want to know how to get the word out? The Communications chapter will guide you. Learn how to market your program inside and outside the school. Again find Success Stories.
In case you didn’t know, L4L is the AASL brand for implementing our national standards. Find out more about it, what resources it offers, and how to use what they have developed in your school and district. Finally, there is a long list of clickable resources for you to use such as samples of an annual report and key points to include, a template for a newsletter, four downloadable infographics and posters, and talking points on various subjects. In other words, everything you need to figure out how you can best promote your program. And you are on vacation now (or almost), so this is the perfect time for you to go over this and plan for next school year.
In order to be successful advocacy needs to be ongoing as you build support from all your stakeholders. The Health and Wellness Toolkit takes you through five steps, identifying each group of stakeholders’ agendas. Next you learn to design and market your program targeting he specific goals of stakeholders. Assess how well your advocacy plan is working and use the many resources- most with links – to keep you going.
How about what to do when library positions are up for elimination. Although you have an easier task if you have been putting the Health and Wellness Toolkit in place, if you haven’t all is not lost. The School Library Crisis Toolkit walks you through Crisis Planning and helps you to create a communication link so your supporters stay informed, you reach those stakeholders who might help, and design a powerful message. AASL needs to be informed of the threat and there are directions for contacting them and your state association. Again, you have a long list of resources you can access.
Parents can be your biggest supporters. They need to know why school libraries and librarians are important in their children’s education. The Parent Advocate Toolkit is for parents to use in order to learn more about today’s school libraries. Become familiar with it and promote it on your website and on any Open House or Back to School Night. Let parents know you are more than willing to discuss any questions they may have when they read it and check out the links.
You can find all the AASL toolkits on their website and you might look at others available from ALA. Keep checking for new ones. Once more information is known there will probably be one on ESSA. Right now you can find the latest information here.
Are there other topics you think need to have a toolkit? Let your state’s AAS Affiliate Assembly delegate know. If it is submitted 6 weeks before ALA Annual Conference it can be a Concern which is brought to the AASL Board. What would you like to see?