How Parents Can Advocate for Highly Effective School Library Programs

ORGANIZING

  1. Sign the petition supporting highly effective school library programs in New Jersey at http://unlockstudentpotential.org.
  2. Follow Unlock Student Potential on Facebook and Twitter for updates and shared research.
  3. Ask to meet with your child’s school librarian and discuss ways you can help.  Ask if school librarian might be able to host a workshop about the school library program to interested parents.
  4. Offer to organize a library fundraiser or special program.
  5. Be a liaison between the school library and the local PTA, PTO, HSA, etc.
  6. Invite other parents, the public librarian, local groups, and influential community members to work with you.

DEVELOPING YOUR PURPOSE, MISSION, OR MESSAGE

  1. Discuss with the school librarian and possibly the principal what role a parent’s advocacy group should play in helping to improve the school library program.
  2. If you are trying to reduce proposed cuts, seek help from relevant organizations (PTA, PTO, etc)
  3. Keep your message positive and focused on better education and library services for students.
  4. National Library Week or Read Across America Day are natural days to focus on advocating for school library programs.
  5. It is important to articulate a clear purpose when you begin to seek other parents to participate.

COMMUNICATING THE MESSAGE

  1. Frame your advocacy around the New Jersey Library Association’s Statement on School Library Programs and the The Value and Importance of Highly Effective School Library Programs by New Jersey’s College and University librarians.
  2. The American Association of School Librarians provides a toolkit for advocacy.
  3. Have PTA, PTO, etc group pass resolution supporting school library programs and a Information Literacy curriculum
  4. Speak to the principal about strengthening the school library program and information literacy skills for your children’s future.
  5. Write letters, blog to the local newspapers, or send postcards to decision makers telling them why school libraries and instruction in Information Literacy is important for our children.
  6. Attend board of education meetings, ask questions about support for the school library program and Information Literacy in the curriculum.  If the school library programs are well supported be sure to thank board members.  If the board members are not strong supporters, offer to send them information  or meet with them about the value of school library programs and Information Literacy.
    1. Sample questions:
      1. How will you guarantee that my child will have the necessaryresearch skills or information literacy and technology skills needed to succeed in middle school, high school, or college and compete in the job market in the Information Age?
      2. If they are using volunteers: Will the person filling in or overseeing of the library, have any professional background/education to do this job effectively?
  7. Schedule personal visits with decision makers.  Be sure to send a thank you to follow up after a meeting
  8. Send a Valentine to school administrators telling them how much your child loves your school librarian.

Be sure to check our our guide to determine, does your child have access to a highly effective school library program? http://unlockstudentpotential.org/index.php/parents-guide-does-your-school-district-support-highly-effective-school-library-programs/