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An introduction to school librarianship
An introduction to school librarianship

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2 Developing effective channels of communication

Advocating for your library will inevitably involve an element of crossover with other work you do. Your blog, social media, website, or newsletter, as well as the activity you do around promoting books and events, will implicitly champion your library. However, you can take your advocacy to the next level by engaging more directly with your stakeholders and developing effective channels of communication. For example, you can further your library’s cause by liaising with colleagues, attending departmental meetings, and delivering school assemblies. Similarly, you may wish to engage with the student council, attend parents’ evenings, and provide the governing body and Senior Leadership Team (SLT) with regular library reports. If no member of the governing body has been assigned responsibility for the library, you could even request that it be adopted as part of their remit. Your reports could then be included at the governing body’s meetings, which would ensure your interests are represented at the highest levels in your school. Putting your claims in writing can maximise impact and awareness, but you should strive to support them with evidence wherever possible, for example, through data from your LMS. It is important that your reports link to the goals set out in your library development plan and the school’s mission statement, as well as explaining how you are achieving these.

Whichever way you approach it, actively engaging and communicating with your stakeholders will raise awareness of the work you do, signal the importance of your library to the educational process, and give you greater influence within your school.

Additional resources

CILIP’s School Libraries Group’s guide to impact evaluation [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a useful template to refer to, which shows how you can demonstrate your value and importance as a librarian to others.

To consider this subject further, watch the video below where Nick discusses the importance of communication and visibility when advocating for your library. After this, reflect on your own use of communication channels to advocate for your library then proceed to the next section where you will explore the relationship between advocacy and networking.

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Video 2
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Activity 2

Timing: Allow approximately 15 minutes

Provide two examples of ways you use communication channels to advocate for your library.

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There are no right or wrong answers to this task, but below are some suggestions which you might have considered:

  • Maintaining a presence at parents’ evening allows you to engage with parents in person and showcase the range of benefits your library can offer their children.
  • Using Twitter to boast about your achievements or share information of interest, for example, the number of books borrowed that month, a new scheme you are launching, or any anecdotal feedback you’ve received.