6 Easy Advocacy Actions to Promote Your School Library
Advocating for your school library can seem like a mammoth task or maybe something you are not sure how to do. And sure, when you have to fight for your position or funding or to even have a school library in your school, it can be overwhelming. But, I’ve found that the very best and most powerful forms of advocacy are the most simple, easy actions that fit into your everyday practice.
Here are a few examples of advocacy actions I’ve done in the past six months.
Creating A Library Presence on the School Website – Where to Start
In my last post on this topic, I explored whether it is important or not for a school library to feature on its school’s website. Having an online presence is important to spread the word and love about the school library, and what better place to start than the school’s website. However, getting your library featured on the school’s website might not be that easy. It might depend on who controls the school’s website, the flexibility available for changes and additions, leadership’s support for the library, as well as time and access.
When I set out to update our school library’s presence on the school website, I went through a few steps. I thought I would share them here in case they are helpful for you.
A Library Presence on the School Website – does it matter?
School Libraries – Heart of the School
I think, if you are reading this, we can agree that school libraries are an important part of the school. Vital, one might say. They are often said to be the heart of the school, the hub of learning, wellbeing and belonging, a safe and welcoming place, a place of innovation, creativity and, of course, research and reading. As such an important part of the school, it should feature heavily on the school website, right?
Does your school library feature on your school website?
Whenever I look up a school or try to find a school library, I always start with the school website. Is the library listed in the menu? Can I find the library via search? Sometimes, the library has a dedicated page, sometimes a link to an entire separate website, sometimes there are links to articles in the digital newsletter, but surprisingly enough, sometimes I can find no mention of the library at all. Is this a choice made by the IT team, an external team who put together the website, the library team, the state education department or district, the marketing department, the principal? Is this a sign that there is no library or library team? Did the library team have a say in whether the library is featured? And if it is featured, did the library team have a say in the content displayed?
Is your school library featured on the school website?
Blogs and Websites for School Library Staff – Part 4 in the Professional Learning series
Are you ready for Part 4 in my Professional Learning Series? This time I am focusing on blogs and websites that are part of my professional learning. Honestly, this could be a sub-series of many, many posts. There are so, so many blogs and websites that provide inspiration and professional learning. So, this is not a comprehensive list by any means. Instead of creating a massive list, that honestly would feel more overwhelming than helpful, I thought I would limit myself to just my top ten favourite websites and blogs, the sites I consistently turn to and return.
I personally find it time consuming to check in on websites. While you can get blog feeds or newsletters delivered to your inbox or check out the latest posts via blog subscriber readers, it’s not a practice I use. I should. Every time I check in with my favourite sites I see something that grabs my attention. Does that work for anyone else? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Instead, blogs and particular websites for professional learning and development are resources I draw upon as the need arises, rather than just routinely checking. For example, if I need something for a display or if I need guidance on policy or copyright, if I need something for the makerspace or integrating STEM into my lessons, I have my usual sites to which I turn. So, that’s what I am going to share with you.
WordPress Websites for Business: How Anyone Can Maximize Website Performance and Results – Michael Cordova – WildBlue Press – Published 12 December 2017
Ok, so you’re company’s team has finally agreed to build a new website, but all you know is what you knew when you built the last one, and it failed miserably. Nobody in the company wants to go down that same road again, but at the same time, nobody knows how to do it any different than the last time.
Just like so many other things in life, doing it right doesn’t take much more time than doing it wrong. It just takes the knowledge of how to do it right the first time. In the case of building a website, it takes the knowledge of many others to get optimal results from your website, and this book brings them all together in one concise place for your reference.
I have seen many people/companies make mistakes in the creation of their website. Their mistakes have led to Google penalties that they never recovered from. Simple preparations and settings discussed in the book ensure that you don’t make those same mistakes. Each new website has different scenarios, and those particulars are discussed so you can customize your installation to show you how to avoid making critical, and possibly crippling or complete show-stopping mistakes that can set you back for months or years.
This book crossed my path at the exact time that I needed it. I have been using WordPress for a number of years on a free blogging basis, but have recently been asked to coordinate, design and build an externally hosted WordPress-based website for an advocacy group. Everyday I was learning something new and finding that I had endless questions that needed to be answered. WordPress Websites for Business was the ideal solution to those questions. There is something about a book that seems more trustworthy than a variety of random website sources (I guess I am a traditional librarian at heart). However, WordPress Websites for Business has an informal, website feel to it. Short chapters and an informal, personal writing style contribute to this feeling. The author frequently references his own experiences and his qualifications for writing such a book and links to examples.
The first section of this book briefly outlines the book’s purpose, intended audience, and the author’s experience. The next section then outlines a short history of the internet, giving context to some of the techniques and technology used, CSS for example. The remainder of the book is then split into a range of sections which vary from SEO optimisation and security, to plugins and child themes. The chapter headings themselves are quite helpful, “Wordpress.com vs. WordPress.org – Always Pick the Latter for Business”, for example.