Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
by Lisa O
A good advocacy programme is dependent on effective communication. Not just good communication but effective. A message can be well written and even beautifully delivered. But it is only effective if the audience “gets” the message. To effectively influence our audience we need to “speak their language”.
Flickr image by: ThomasThomas
Si yo escribo este blog en castellano, ustedes mis lectores, probablemente no me entienden. Verdad? But when I write in our common language about our shared goals, I make myself understood to readers and hopefully advocate effectively for - Advocacy!
Of course, most of us communicate with our school community in the same language. (Although this brings up an interesting point for library staff in schools whose communities are not English speaking – see this earlier post on the Pasifika literacy team.)
The effectiveness of our efforts is enhanced by focusing on our audience’s goals; using their language and aligning our message to the outcomes in which they are interested.
What does this mean in practice?
We focus our advocacy messages on our community’s goals. Parents, boards, principals and teachers are primarily interested in their students’ achievement and literacy development.
So: “This year, the library has supported classroom literacy practice in a variety of ways. We have expanded loan limits to encourage more reading mileage. We have started a book club in the library which has attracted 25 students in years 7 and 8. Since making these changes we’ve seen a 25 percent increase in borrowing across the school and in line with the research evidence about the effects of reading mileage, our latest data shows that students’ reading scores have increased.”
“This year we established a digital citizenship programme based in the library in collaboration with our classroom teachers. Since we began, our students have developed a much better understanding about “cyber safety”. We’ve also had a significant improvement in positive online behaviour. Teachers are finding their students confidence and skill in using digital resources effectively has grown noticeably”
These types of narrative messages about services and students and their achievement is effective advocacy for the library. Our audience is primarily interested in learners. Their interest in the library is often limited to the way in which it supports the learners. Issues statistics are not their language.
Student reading success is!
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