School libraries need YOUR support…now. The new White House petition described in Carl’s post needs 25,000 signatures and I hope that yours is one of them and that you spread this request far and wide to librarians and library advocates.
As we all return to our classrooms, please take a moment to let me know how your media center has been impacted by the economic downturn relative to state and local funding. We need to supply information to the staff of the education funding commission and your stories have resonance.
I assume many of you have heard that the Atlanta Public School system is pulling media specialists to place them in classrooms. Other systems in the state have some media centers staffed only with parapros/clerks and we know that in other states, media centers have been closed or staffed by volunteers.
Please let us hear your story. For example, “I am assigned a parapro in my elementary media center, but with budget cuts, she has duties outside the media center every day after 10:30. Our school would show that we have a full-time media specialist and a full-time parapro, but the reality is that we have a 0.3 media parapro.” or “My media center always got at least the 90% of the full allotment for materials, but now my principal says it’s needed for other things like copy paper and test-prep books, so I should work hard for a successful book fair. My cost-center budget is $500 for this year.”
As always, I will not identify you, your school, or even your district. I will only report only the school level (elementary, middle, or high) and the region of the state.
PLEASE help us advocate for our programs state-wide. You may e-mail your confidential story to firstname.lastname@example.org
We just completed a great GLMA Summer Institute at Callaway Gardens yesterday; thanks to Susan Grigsby for coordinating it all and to everyone who presented (or helped with the logistics).
During the Institute, Judy Serritella, Coordinator of Library Media Services for the Georgia DOE, gave an update on GALILEO funding. THANKS to your efforts (with those of the public and academic librarians in the state) not only was the funding maintained for this year, but some additional monies were added. ProQuest agreed to reinstate SIRS for the amount added, so all schools will have SIRS access again next year!
Again, THANKS for all the contacts you made in the “Save GALILEO” effort this winter. Now we need you to take just a moment and write another e-mail – to thank those legislators you contacted for their support of GALILEO and request their continued acknowledgment of the tremendous value of this resource. Please do contact your local legislator – who’s likely getting fewer e-mails since the General Assembly’s not in session – but also please send a similar note to the members of the House and Senate Education Committees. (I’ve listed their names and e-mail addresses at the end of this e-mail.)
The second update is on the State Education Finance Study Commission (established by HB 192), charged with evaluating education funding at the state level, which has potential for great impact on media centers. We will seek to have representation on ad hoc committees as provided in the law to provide input on funding needs for our programs. The first commission meeting will be held on June 30, 2011; the law calls for interim recommendations to be completed by September 30, 2011, and for completion of proposed legislation for interim recommendations by December 31, 2011. If you are interested and able to attend on Thursday, June 30th, please contact me or Michelle Crider (email@example.com) so we can coordinate our efforts. Having a number of media specialists who make the effort during the summer to attend this initial meeting should help us in our effort to get a seat on one of the ad hoc committees, so please consider attending for some part of the day!
Advocacy Chair, GLMA
Excerpts from HB 192:
20-2-331 (c) The commission may engage additional ad hoc nonvoting members as needed to address certain issues in subcommittee. This may include, but not be limited to, input from various personnel experienced in the Quality Basic Education Formula, such as counselors,? media specialists, ?.
20-2-332 (1) (d) (D) Review other areas within the QBE Act that relate to or impact school funding, such as maximum class sizes and expenditure controls, and whether local school systems should continue to be given flexibility in these areas (expenditure controls include our media materials allotments…)
Senate Appropriations Education Subcommittee Members:
Sen. Bill Heath, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Tommie Williams, Vice Chair email@example.com
Sen. John Bulloch firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Jack Murphy email@example.com
Sen. Chip Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Horacena Tate email@example.com
Sen. Jack Hill, Senate Appropriations Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Sen. Fran Millar, Senate Education Committee Chair email@example.com
House Appropriations Education Subcommittee Members:
Rep. Tom Dickson, Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Rick Austin, Secretary email@example.com
Rep. Amos Amerson firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Kathy Ashe email@example.com
Rep. Amy Carter firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. David Casas email@example.com
Rep. Brooks Coleman firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jan Jones email@example.com
Rep. Margaret Kaiser firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Howard Maxwell email@example.com
Rep. Jay Neal firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Terry England, House Appropriations Chair email@example.com
Not so long ago, data were hard to come by. As our society has become more and more infused with technology, data aren’t nearly as scarce as they used to be. In school libraries, we have circulation statistics, site hits, classes taught, and the list goes on and on. There is no doubt that these data help us when we need to justify our programs to administrators and others. We can also use data to see trends, identify problems, and herald successes.
In between the infographics, statistics, and charts, lately I’ve noticed the call for stories. Stories are one of the main ways that we learn from and share with one another. Numbers can be informative, but they are all the more compelling when accompanied by a well-told story of a successful learning experience made possible by the school library.
April is School Library Month. AASL has adopted “Create Your Own Story” as the 2011 School Library Month theme. Students can use the library to find and tell stories, and we can tell our library’s stories as well.
If you’re not sure how to tell your library’s story, there are a number of resources that might help you think about how to start developing a collection of stories about your library. Starting March 15, AASL is offering a free series about creating strategic stories to gain support for libraries. I also learn a lot about the power of effective stories from resources like StoryCorps, not to mention friendships with professional storytellers including Linda Martin and Stephanie Jones.
There are many ways to begin collecting stories, or add to the collection you’ve already started. You might grab a flip video camera for an interview. Record photographic evidence of student learning and audio record accompanying reflections. Encourage digital storytelling.
Of course, librarians can’t be the only ones telling positive stories about school library programs. When programs are in trouble, parents and other community members need to speak out on our behalf. Keep an email file with comments from parents and community members who have been enriched by your program. Include a “press” page on your website with links to local news stories about projects that include your school library. If a crisis comes, you have ready resources to share efficiently.
Unfortunately, outside of the library community, there are too few people telling positive stories about what school libraries do.
I’ve seen calls for positive examples that aim to stretch beyond our usual conversations. This is one way projects like the Learning4Life video contest and PC Sweeney’s Great Librarian Write Out! can inspire us to share stories in different ways and places.
As School Library Month approaches, take time to cultivate your library’s own story as you enhance student learning and storytelling. Find interesting ways and unexpected places to tell that story.
Department of Language and Literacy Education
The University of Georgia