Passion is a powerful communication tool. Are you passionate about what you do as a school librarian and what you – and the others in our profession –bring to students and the entire educational community? How are you showing others your passion?
Passion carries with it your commitment. When you truly care about something and are committed to bringing your absolutely best to it and then find opportunities to share it, others feel the emotional content behind that passion. And as I have said before, emotion constitutes at least 80% of how we make decisions.
You don’t share your passion by getting on a soap box and proclaiming it. You offer it to your students by the way you respect them, how you help them, and cheer them on in their intellectual growth. With teachers you look for opportunities to help them out, making them aware that you can make their job easier. You willingness to go the extra mile reveals your passion for what you do. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
All of this builds a solid base for growing your leadership within the school community. But don’t overlook the opportunities to share your passion beyond your building, and bring your feelings for what you do in your library into the outside world.
Be alert to occasions when you can interject a comment or two about libraries. For example, if you hear someone complain about being exasperated or frustrated with technology, let him/her know you’re a librarian and you can recommend the public library as a place with lots of resources for learning more and possibly some free classes.
If he/she responds positively, and if you’re comfortable, tell him/her that being current with technology is something librarians strive for and that as a school librarian it’s important to you to help your students know this information as well.
Another possible occurrence is hearing a person complaining about all that fake news. Chime in with your agreement. Then say, “School librarians teach kids how to recognize false news. It’s part of their job. Unfortunately, too many kids don’t have school librarians – or even libraries—as so many have been eliminated.”
Once you tune into these opportunities you will find countless occasions when you can let people know about what today’s librarians do. Think of the various ways we contribute to learning, from literacy to technology and everything between. When someone mentions bullying in the schools, point out that school libraries provide a safe, welcoming environment for all.
And yes, when appropriate, as in the first example, promote the public library. We are all in this together. Their budgets and staff have also been cut.
Keep a few stories in mind to illustrate your comments. Stories carry emotion. As you talk about how librarians serve and transform their communities your passion will show. Let it out.
You might think most people will listen to what you say but do nothing. True to some extent, of course, but think of how trees propagate. Their seeds are taken up by the wind. Most end up in places where they cannot grow, but enough land in fertile soil and a forest can spring up.
The tree’s secret weapon is the sheer volume of seeds it sends forth. The same needs to be true of you. If you let all sorts of people know about the value of librarians and libraries some of your comments will find fertile soil.
Sometimes people don’t do anything and then a friend mentions a problem and they recall what you said. Passing on your comment strengthens the message. The more of us who “seed” random conversations with information about the importance of librarians in people’s lives the better chance we have to create a forest of advocates.
How have you been bringing your passion about school libraries into your larger world?