Please e-mail me with any questions about our TCEA or TLA presentations. I would be happy to help. The file containing my presentation is too large for our Wiki, so I've broken it into pieces and pasted it into this page. Contact me at robin.cox@bryanisd.org at any time!

Are we relevant, responsive, revolutionary, and right now in our libraries? Across our state, school boards are making decisions to reduce or eliminate school librarians. If you think you're safe, you're probably not. Let's look at some strategies for focusing attention on the right conversations.

In Bryan ISD, we learned something the hard way. By losing 22 librarians, we learned that our board had very little relevant data about what we do every day. Their understanding of the role of the school librarian is tied to their experience--if they or their children had contact with vibrant school libraries, then we were seen as relevant instructional staff. However, if they or their children had contact with a passive librarian, they were all in favor of cutting the position to save money. Are you Marion the Librarian? Siddie Joe Johnson? Where do you fit on the spectrum?

Youtube has a great video on the occupational outlook for librarians...

here's the url:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=smrrZpbvI20


Scary stuff, right? Library schools are turning out some amazing graduates these days, and their talent raises the bar for all of us. Let's work on protecting our careers AS WELL AS redefining them.

As professional librarians, we do awesome work, but pride in our profession won't save us. We have to have a strategy in place.



Know your school board members. Do you know their names? How many members are on your boards? How many seats do they refill annually? What is their elective status? When do you vote? Are they your advocates or adversaries? When do they meet? Are their meetings televised? Do you attend?

Don't assume your board knows what's happening at your school. They probably don't. So you must tell them. Invite them. Invest in the relationship. Mention them in your newsletters and websites. Put them on your mailing list. Find out who their family members are and if you have their children/grandchildren in your schools.

School_Board_Invitation_.jpg

Build relationships with your board. Plan an event in your library that allows your staff and community to get to know their school board members. Your board exists to support your schools. Make sure they understand how much you value their role.

We're not just librarians, we're citizens and voters. This means we will vote for board members who support our libraries.

Data Driven Communication--share data! That's what it's for. You can do this as a team of librarians or with a group of your peers. Tell your board members about the age of your collection, your programs and services, your need for new books or resources, such as state-funded databases!




If you'll look in our WIKI hand-outs, there's an example of my monthly newsletter and the end-of-year report developed by our district library supervisor, Denise Kersten. This data should be shared with your principal, superintendent, and board.

January is School Board Appreciation Month. Deliver snacks, prepare meals, send thank-you cards, be present at the January board meeting--show your support!




Attitude of Gratitude-Find a way to thank your board for the decisions they make that affect your library. For example, in Killeen ISD when the board approved a big budget expenditure for our new library software system, we all wrote and signed thank-you letters to the board. We wanted them to know what a difference it made in our efficiency and our ability to lead.


Join your school, district, or board planning teams. Integrate yourself into key positions for information-gathering as well as to exert your influence in protecting and supporting library programs and services.



No news is no news. You are invisible unless you market your library.

In Bryan ISD, even after librarians were cut, our library supervisors have tried to get out into the community to show our stakeholders that we still value the role of full-time librarians.

Try to integrate your objectives into the campus and district improvement plans. When you are the proponent for action in the campus plan, it's even harder to cut your position. Who's going to do the job if you don't?




Celebrate reading every day. Do you have a reputation as "reader's advocate"? If so, you will be way ahead when the conversation opposes libraries, library funding, etc. Be a spokesperson for literacy.


I learned about the initiative-- littlefreelibrary.org --and wanted to promote this in my community, so I enlisted the help of my little brother, and he built a weather-proof library for my neighborhood. I used this project to advocate little free libraries at some of my schools, and we are in the process of having these little libraries built for 2 of my campuses. Why? I want to demonstrate the importance of literacy in our school community. Will it bring full-time librarians back? I don't know, but I won't stop trying!




I love to write, and learned that I could promote reading through publishing with createspace.com. If you'll go to Amazon's website, you'll find that for less than $10.00 you can create a book, and once you create an ISBN for your book, it's available for sale through Amazon. It's a great way to promote literacy!




What would your school look like without a full-staffed library?