October 6, 2015

School Library Advocacy: An Update

School Libraries Matter: Beaverton Glog Summary
I spent much of last school year advocating for Strong School Libraries. This time last year, although each school in our district had a library media assistant, (LMA), not a single school had a certified teacher librarian. The district only had three certified librarians on staff, stationed at the district office and charged with supporting and serving 39,000 students and the school-based LMAs in 51 schools. That was an unacceptable circumstance and resulted in a passionate parent/community-led school library advocacy campaign, School Libraries Matter: Beaverton.

Our school district started off in a much stronger position this school year. We still have the three district-level librarians and all of our schools still have LMAs, but 15 schools now have LITTs (Library Information Technology Teachers). Although some of these LIT teachers do not yet have specialized library credentials or training, they are innovative, forward-thinking teachers, charged with fulfilling a job description that honors crucial elements of library services, such as information literacy and reading engagement. In addition, the school district now has a top-level official who is charged with overseeing school innovation from a teaching and learning perspective. This leader has a clear awareness of the value and importance of strong, fully staffed libraries. It's our hope (and understanding) that additional schools will gain LITTs in subsequent school years.

Our advocacy work is not done, but we have made important progress. I will be presenting a session entitled, "Library Evangelism 101" at the OASL Conference on Saturday, October 10th.  Although I will briefly reference our advocacy process in that session, some folks may want more details. For this purpose, I've created a Glog, (thanks to a remote tutorial by the fabulous Library Teacher, Craig Seasholes) that provides an comprehensive overview of our advocacy campaign.

You can find the Glog at this link: School Libraries Matter: Beaverton, Glog Summary

I would love to hear your own advocacy experiences. Please comment below or via a direct message using the contact form in the left sidebar.


  1. I teach 3rd grade at William Walker and would love to be more involved in helping BSD restore certified positions to the library. Thank you for your advocacy!

  2. Thanks for your note. I'm sorry for the delay in reply. I was away from my desk (at library-related events!) for the last several days. The best person to connect with at the District would be John Peplinski at the district office. He heads up the Future Ready initiative, and he has the most current info on the district's plans for bringing certified staff to more libraries within BSD. Also, it is always powerful for the School Board and/or Budget Committee to hear your perspective that you value the role certified staff can play in a school/school library. It is also helpful if you can begin developing a network of parents within your school community (and encourage them to speak up at school board meetings and budget committee meetings). Here is a link to an article on the topic of developing relationships with stakeholders as a way to advocate for Strong School Libraries in your school: http://www.schoollibraryadvocacy.org/sladvocacy-blog/-engaging-parents-and-community-members-in-library-advocacy-efforts-by-dawn-babb-prochovnic
    Please let me know if I can be a specific resource to you as you advocate for a fully funded, fully staff library in your school.