Valarie Swayze, Head Editor, INALJ Massachusetts
Share Your Passion-Be a Library Advocate!
One of the best qualities you can share during a job interview is your passion for what you do. Library advocacy is an ideal activity to demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for your area of interest. Advocacy is a mutually beneficial endeavor as you help libraries and librarians while building your portfolio. Business skills such as planning, fundraising, and team building may also increase your value as a job candidate. The following resources can help you learn how to be a library advocate. Identify ways that you can get involved in your community, and incorporate them into your professional development goals. Before long, you will have collected many stories to share during your next interview!
1. Office for Library Advocacy (ALA) – The mission of the OLA is to improve all types of libraries at all levels. The OLA provides many resources to help you get involved, including the ability to sign up for advocacy alerts.
2. I Love Libraries – I Love Libraries is another ALA resource that provides a variety of support materials which teach advocacy skills. This broad list of resources will not only help you with library advocacy but will also help you build basic management skills.
3. Advocacy Action Plan Workbook (ALA) – This workbook will help you identify issues, set goals, and help you to understand the roles of committees and task forces.
4. Library Quotes (I Love Libraries) – A terrific resource for library advocacy! You are sure to find a powerful message that will resonate with the community. These quotes can be added to bookmarks, e-mail signatures, business cards, and/or brochures
5. Citizens-Save-Libraries Power Guide (United for Libraries) – Learn how to advocate like a pro! In addition to the Power Guide, you will also find videos and print materials such as flyers, brochures, and bookmarks.
6. Library Advocacy Toolkit (Library Connect) – This toolkit will help you learn how to campaign for you library both as a committee and an individual. Find talking points and learn to market a library using a variety of communication strategies.
7. Frontline Advocacy Toolkit (ALA) – This resource describes the role of the everyday librarian as an advocate, and includes links to webinars and support materials.
8. Geek the Library – This is the resource to share with anyone! Geek the Library invites readers to learn how public libraries support all interests.
9. EveryLibrary – Provides funding for library advocacy through donations and shares keen insight into the role of political committees in seeking advocacy for libraries.
10. Social Media Channels (ALA) – Connect with ALA!
Volunteering for a library in your community is a great way to learn specific advocacy needs. In addition, librarians always have a short list of projects that you can help with, ranging from grant writing to storytime programs. ALA also has an excellent resource for getting involved with legislative issues. Finally, consider sharing what you learn at conferences from vendors and colleagues so others are aware of new trends. These and other positive stories about libraries can remind others that libraries are not only relevant and necessary, but they can be fun and engaging. Whether you are currently employed or looking for a job, spend time cultivating your advocacy skills. While doing so, you can expand your professional network, learn something new, and help libraries support their missions. Your advocacy skills will be a great asset to offer a potential employer.