Incoming AASL president Susan Ballard is chairing ALA President Molly Raphael’s Task Force for school libraries. You can read about it in the March issue of School Library Monthly or online.
From the article:
In developing the initial campaign the Task Force identified five goals. Related strategies and tactics to achieve these goals were also developed and members assigned to working groups:
GOAL 1: To secure inclusion of school libraries with certified school librarians in the new federal ESEA legislation.
Some strategies to ensure this goal is met include the need to educate leadership of professional associations, turn legislators into advocates to carry messages to their peers, and leverage the influential role of library trustees locally for community support.
GOAL 2: To organize and promote action among school, public, academic, and special librarians to address various factors threatening school libraries.
In this goal area, the Task Force is developing an internal campaign and a variety of educational tools to engage and inform library communities about the value and role of school library programs, including essential readings, a glossary of terms, guiding principles, as well as action steps they can take to ensure a unified voice and message.
GOAL 3:To increase public awareness and understanding of the impact of the de-professionalization of school libraries on students and student learning.
One of the key elements receiving attention as part of this goal is the creation of public advocates who view school library programs as essential and are committed to their sustainability. Leveraging data from workforce studies and other research sources helps to illustrate the impacts on higher education, economic development and workforce readiness of graduates who lack 21st-century skills.
GOAL 4: To help local advocates sustain and improve school library programs at the local district level.
The creation of tools and resources like talking points, fact sheets, and other resources for local and statewide advocates to make the case is a focus, as is the need to activate the library “ecosystem” of supporters from academic and public library settings to talk about the importance of school libraries. (Not just librarians, but admissions deans, directors, job recruiters, etc.) Also of importance is the development of a rapid-response crisis network and letting supporters know how to get involved and stay informed.
GOAL 5: To support statewide advocacy efforts.
The Task Force recognizes that it is critical to work with state chapters and AASL affiliates to identify “model” legislation that provides for school libraries to be staffed with full-time, highly effective school librarians, or to create such legislation where it does not exist. A state mobilization project, “What to Do Back Home,” has launched and consists of a “How-To” piece (bringing groups to visit legislators, inviting them to libraries, etc.) and also encourages state AASL Affiliates and ALA Chapters to partner, when possible, to make the best use of connections to legislators.