Everyday Advocacy

30 Ways in 30 Days: A Month of Entry Points for Living and Loving Advocacy

Author photo: Jenna Nemec-LoiseJenna Nemec-Loise is Member Content Editor, ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website & Electronic Newsletter. Contact her at everyday-advocacy@hotmail.com with comments and ideas for future topics.

Thirty days. They’re a pretty good measuring stick for whether or not something works for us, right? At least that’s what all those infomercials would have us believe.

I mean, think about it: Everywhere you look there’s a thirty-day risk-free trial or money-back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied, simply return your purchase for a full refund (less shipping and handling). There’s no commitment, and you can cancel at any time.

Except the companies making these offers hope you won’t cancel. No, they’re hoping that long before your thirty days are up you’ll fall in love with their product and wonder how you ever lived without it.

That’s their hook, and now I’m going to use it, too.

Try Everyday Advocacy risk-free for thirty days. I promise you’ll broaden your understanding of what it means to learn, share, and make a difference in your library community. You’ll see real results—strengthened relationships with colleagues and community partners; improved communication about the value and importance of strong youth services; and increased self-confidence in taking your next steps with ease.

Here are thirty ways to incorporate Everyday Advocacy seamlessly into your work. Try one each day. If you’re not living and loving advocacy by the end of your risk-free trial, just call or write me. (We’ll find another way to get you hooked.)

  1. Write “You are an Everyday Advocate!” on a sticky note and place it somewhere you’ll see it often, like a computer monitor, planner, or bulletin board.
  2. Talk up the Everyday Advocacy website1 with a colleague, supervisor, or administrator. Better yet, have a sit-down and explore it together.
  3. Take fifteen minutes to chat with your supervisor about your advocacy role within the library. Be sure to ask questions, clarify expectations, and define parameters.
  4. Use value-based language (VBL) to write an elevator speech2 about a program or service you offer youth and families. Try out your elevator speech with a colleague.
  5. Talk with a parent or caregiver about the critical role libraries play in early learning, student achievement, and adolescent development.
  6. Designate an advocacy wall in a communal staff space at your library. Encourage coworkers to contribute their success stories on sticky notes or on a white board.
  7. Start a database of library stories that demonstrate the value of youth services in your community. (Trust me—you will come to treasure this resource.)
  8. Share a meaningful interaction you had with a child, parent, or adult caregiver at your library’s next all-staff meeting. (See #7.)
  9. Send a note of appreciation to your library’s Board of Directors or Friends group. Be specific about how their efforts help you make the library awesome for kids and families.
  10. Learn more about your library’s annual budget process and how you can assert the importance of strong line items that support youth services.
  11. Plan to attend the next meeting of a school board or local school council in your library community. Listen and learn.
  12. Reach out to a local teacher or principal and ask about getting on the agenda for an upcoming faculty meeting. Be prepared to talk about the ways you and your library support twenty-first-century learning.
  13. Visit the alderman’s office to introduce yourself and your role at the library. Drop off fliers for upcoming programs and ask for a list of upcoming ward nights, when constituents can meet with their aldermen to discuss neighborhood issues.
  14. Invite a local policymaker to your library to see firsthand how you create a better future for children through libraries. (Opportunities to attend children’s programs and meet constituents are both huge draws.)
  15. Participate in the next Take Action Tuesday challenge. Watch ALSC-L and Twitter for the details.
  16. Sign up for the next Everyday Advocacy Challenge (EAC).3 Challenges are offered quarterly in September, December, March, and June.
  17. Submit the Share Your Advocacy Story4 webform.
  18. Contribute a feature, success story, or news item for an upcoming issue of the Everyday Advocacy Matters5 e-newsletter.
  19. Use social media and #TakeActionALSC to share an advocacy story with colleagues, family, and friends.
  20. Read the most recent ALSC Blog6 post from the Advocacy and Legislation Committee. (Heck, why not read ‘em all?)
  21. Fill out the ALSC Committee Volunteer Form7 and mark your preference for an appointment in Priority Group I: Child Advocacy.
  22. Subscribe to District Dispatch,8 the official blog of the ALA Washington Office.
  23. Check out the ALA Legislative Action Center9 and learn how you can take action for libraries by contacting your elected officials.
  24. Mark your calendar for Virtual Library Legislative Day 2017, which takes place May 1–2. Plan to participate from your very own library community.
  25. Explore the resources available through Advocacy University,10 a clearinghouse of top-notch tools and resources from ALA.
  26. Visit the I Love Libraries website.11 Be inspired.
  27. Connect with an Everyday Advocate whom you admire. Ask what inspires and motivates him/her.
  28. Email everyday-advocacy@hotmail.com and request a Creating a Better Future button to use in your advocacy efforts. (Supplies are limited, so act now!)
  29. Introduce yourself to someone by saying, “Hi, my name is __________, and I’m an Everyday Advocate for children and libraries.” Feel empowered.
  30. Spread the Everyday Advocacy love. (See? Your satisfaction was 100 percent guaranteed.) &

References

  1. “Everyday Advocacy,” ALSC, www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy.
  2. “Write an Elevator Speech,” ALSC, www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/speak-out/write-elevator-speech.
  3. “Everyday Advocacy Challenge,” ALSC, www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/everyday-advocacy-challenge.
  4. “Share Your Advocacy Story,” ALSC, www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/share-your-advocacy-story.
  5. “Everyday Advocacy Matters,” ALSC, www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/everyday-advocacy-matters.
  6. ALSC Blog, www.alsc.ala.org/blog.
  7. “ALSC Forms,” ALSC, www.ala.org/alsc/aboutalsc/coms/alscforms.
  8. “District Dispatch: The ALA Washington Office,” www.districtdispatch.org.
  9. “ALA Legislative Action Center,” American Library Association, cqrcengage.com/ala.
  10. “Advocacy University,” American Library Association, www.ala.org/advocacy/advocacy-university.
  11. “I Love Libraries,” American Library Association, www.ilovelibraries.org.

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