Friday, March 12, 2010

Save Our School Libraries -- Buttons and More

California, its public school, and its school libraries are having a meltdown. It is a crisis for our kids. So many teachers, programs, and positions are getting challenged to defend themselves in the face of incredible budget cuts and the law that requires balanced school budgets. That means thousands of pink slips go to teachers by March 15th, which means those teachers may or may not have a job the next school year.

In defending school libraries and staff, Marie Slim started a contest for a message and an image for a button. Tom Kahn created a Google survey form. Library supplier and CSLA "Best Seller" for Strong School Libraries, Pat Nelson of Mrs. Nelson's Books solicited several noted children's author/illustrators to design and make available an image. Marie created a School Library Advocacy wiki of the winning themes and images. "SAVE California School Libraries" by Brian Selznick is the winner by a wide margin.

Another popular theme is "Read. Think. Grow. Fund School Libraries". Wonderful versions are illustrated by Aliki and Marianne Wallace and Marla Frazee and are also available for use by library advocates. In all 16 designs were submitted. Here are the winners.

1st Place: Brian Selznick (Hugo Cabret)
2nd Place: Marianne Wallace (Multiple books, multiple flowers)
3rd Place: Marla Frazee (tree with readers)
4th Place: Marianne Wallace (book flower)
5th Place: Marla Frazee (zoom in)
6th Place: Tom Kaun (red, white and blue)

Yes, kudos to Marie Slim, Tom Kaun, Pat Nelson -- and all who voted! Here are some thoughts on what to do with the buttons.
  • The colossal 6" button would look nice in each Board Member's and legislator's office -- I'm sure a student or group of students would be interested in giving the buttons to community leaders.
  • Think big. Would your local grocery stores, book stores, coffee shops, public library, and copy shops be willing to put a big button in their store window? Or even sell the buttons to customers? See what a Canadian public library did to get attention around town. Be sure to invite the store managers to become "Best Sellers" and give them the CSLA handout on the "Best Sellers" Campaign for Strong School Libraries. In that way, they can hear the local news from you and the larger picture of what a strong school library looks like!
  • Think different.
    • Does your town have a local movie theater that would be willing to include a public service image on the big screen?
    • Create an animoto or slide show: Line up your local supporters, big and small, including tons of tiny tots, young readers, and young adult readers; pin a large pin on the first in line and take a digital photo; pass pin to the next person and take photo; Repeat. Again. And Again. Each photo should have one or more books in hand or as a backdrop. This could be powerful!
It is a treat to be in the company of school librarians and advocates. Go to town on this campaign and make some noise! Go ahead, use the fine designs to creatively and actively advocate for California school libraries. Use the designs to make your own button, poster, t-shirt, billboard -- whatever!

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