Saturday, March 5, 2011

Connie Williams Invites Advocates to Join the Campaign, Act Locally

Connie Williams, Chair of the California Campaign for Strong School Libraries, has sent the following message to members of the California School Library Association:

The California Campaign for Strong School Libraries has begun!  The Campaign is a grassroots action to raise public awareness that our students need strong school libraries. Our message:
• Students need the library team: teacher librarian and library aide.

• The model school library standards are tools that schools can use to design instruction to teach students how to be digitally safe, better readers, and lifelong learners.

The California School Library Association (CSLA) has launched this campaign, but it is up to each local library advocate to design projects to share in our communities, get the word out and ‘go viral’ with our message.

Statewide, the Campaign is kicking off with a bus campaign in two major cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles. We are raising money to fund bus ads to appear on city buses on targeted routes. We chose the bus venue because of their ability to reach large audiences. We will gauge the success of this pilot program by measuring expanded media coverage, hits on the website, calls with questions and local discussions. Above is one of two designs – the other one has pictures of younger students with an adult reading books to them, with a computer in the background.
What you can do:

STEP 1: Use the campaign logo to make bookmarks and other hand outs. If you live in either S.F. or L.A. you can host “ did you see them” contests … if you live elsewhere, make sure that the bookmarks show up at local libraries, bookstores, schools, sports venues [gymnastics, fencing, martial arts gyms all have desks….]
STEP 2: Purchase buttons and/or other inexpensive items at the library store [cafepress/] to hand out to parents, teachers, and others at Board meetings, PTA, Rotary, and other community venues. Be visible, be vocal…stay on message.

STEP 3: Donate to the campaign so that we can expand our ads into other markets, including Sacramento!

STEP 4: Join the campaign and create your own local advocacy action.

Beginning May 1, The CSLA Campaign Advisory Board (the Presidents elect of the Northern and Southern Section and the Past President of the State Board) will be accepting applications for local grassroots projects that need start-up funding. Criteria will be posted soon, but the intent will be for local library advocates to identify local venues for advertising and marketing the Strong School Library message. If your town doesn’t have a city-wide bus system, maybe a cab company will carry the message on their cab roofs, maybe you can take materials to your local radio station, visit a Rotary Club luncheon, Ladies Auxiliary, or the Toastmaster’s club and tell them about the need for strong school libraries in your community. Money could be used to invite speakers to support your efforts locally…. A million needs, a million ideas… a million solutions. YOU are the best judge of your local community and how to best reach it with this vitally important information. Collaborate now with your local school library folks to design a local campaign so that you’ll be ready to go when the application forms are ready.

This campaign is designed to change the story.
The current story = school libraries are important, but money is so tight that we have to close them or cut their hours or their staff.
The new story = Our students need strong school libraries in order to become informed citizens, who are ethical users of information and ideas, digitally literate, good readers, and lifelong learners.

Community leaders and policymakers need to see teacher librarians as teachers – teachers of essential skills including research, cyber safety, digital literacy! Teaching is a key differentiator between school librarians and all other librarians. School libraries need to be seen as solutions. List the solutions!
WE can change the story – now is the time to take charge, move out into our communities and spread the word.

Join the campaign today.  Start with step one, ‘follow us’, invite your friends, sign the guestbook at: then, gather your local colleagues and create YOUR plan to spread the word.
Connie Williams


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