Educational Design and Technology

Program Advocacy

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A focus on student achievement guides an advocacy plan that builds support of decision makers who affect the quality of the library media program


Advocacy is a long-term, deliberate plan that is designed to build stakeholder support. True advocacy is when stakeholders stand up and speak out on behalf of a cause, idea, program or organization.
Stakeholder support is built through program design, marketing and education. It is the job of school librarians to design programs around stakeholder needs and to educate stakeholders about how school libraries connect to stakeholders’ priorities. Data and evidence are key educational tools as school librarians work to educate stakeholders about the school library’s role in preparing students to live work and learn in the 21st Century.
[From: AASL School Library Program Health and Wellness Toolkit external link- ]

What is Advocacy? Advocacy is building support for something (an organization, an ideal, a cause) gradually, over time. It is a long-term, step-by-step process. It is the broad umbrella term under which public relations, marketing, lobbying, and advertising campaign, all fit.

An advocate is a person who can be counted on in all venues and circumstances to support a particular cause. At every opportunity, such a person will gather their courage, and speak-out or act for the good of the cause in which they believe.
[From the Ohio Educational Library Media Association (OELMA) http://www.oelma.org/Advocacy.htm external link]

Additional Reading

Harvey, C. A., II. No School Library Left Behind: Leadership, School Improvement, and the Media Specialist. Linworth, Columbus, OH, 2008.
Harvey guides library media specialists to align library programs with the school improvement process including our role as a leader, suggestions in the areas of literacy, math, and technology integration, and our role in professional development.

Johns, Sara Kelly. Advocacy: AASL Puts the Puzzle Together. Knowledge Quest, Volume 36, Number 1 / September/October 2007. American Libraries Association- AASL.

Kiefer, M. What Can Teacher-Librarians do to Promote their Work and the School Library Media Program?  Define Who We Are.  Teacher Librarian 36(2), 24-25, December, 2008. 
Kiefer states “to be players in 21st century learning, it is more important than ever that we do all we can to document how our programs are essential and vital to increase student learning across the curriculum…we must start advocating for ourselves.”

Levitov, D. One Library Media Specialist's Journey to Understanding Advocacy: A Tale of Transformation. Knowledge Quest, Volume 36, Number 1, September/October 2007. American Libraries Association- AASL

Stripling, Barbara K. The Dance of Leadership and Advocacy. Knowledge Quest, Volume 36, Number 1 / September/October 2007. American Libraries Association- AASL

Web Resources

AASL Parent Outreach Toolkit external link
This toolkit is designed to help school library media specialists gain parent support in their programs.

AASL Crisis Toolkit external link
This toolkit is designed to assist you as you build meaningful and effective support for saving your program.

AASL Advocacy Toolkit external link
Collection of ready-to-use tools to conduct an advocacy campaign--large or small--for school library media programs.

AASL @ your library Toolkit for School Library Media Programs external link portable document format icon (591KB)
This toolkit includes messages, ideas, and strategies for promoting the value of school library media programs and library media specialists in the 21st century.

Last Updated: January 26, 2015