by Sharon Gullett
As we mentioned in our last post, we are nearing the next Texas library legislative session. Now is the time to speak up for Texas libraries. Of course, you should contact your legislator, but you can also increase the visibility of your library program by participating in Texas Library Snapshot Day.
Several years ago most Texas libraries faced budget cuts, and some librarians even lost their jobs. The whole library community was outraged that any legislator would dare cut funding to the bastions of free speech and thought. Had they not read the Library Bill of Rights? There is no better way to convince legislators what we do than to offer them a snapshot in words and images of a single day in the lives of libraries across the state - especially school libraries.
Sure, it takes a little time to plan for the activity, but once planned your students can do all the work. It occurs to me that Snapshot Day could become a “library lesson.” We teach about data collection, but you can do it with a real life application. You can designate official student photographers, data collectors, and number crunchers to fill out the short TLA report. Then you can use this work for a local advocacy effort by asking another group of students to compile the information into a Flipgrid, a Prezi, Google Slides, Thinglinks, Animoto, or at least a dozen other Web 2.0 tools and send the presentation to your Principal, Curriculum Director and/or Superintendent.
For information about the Texas Library Snapshot Day on October 31 (or any other October day), please check out www.texaslibrarysnapshotday.org for helpful resources (e.g., a sample press release, customer/student input forms, instructions for submitting final data and uploading photographs, video/photo permissions form, tips for using the information, and much more!).
Early in the 20th century, a popular advertisement said, “Every picture tells a story.” And don’t we know every picture is worth a thousand words? It’s time to tell the story of your campus library and its value to the students, teachers, and the community. A Library Snapshot can write volumes for advocacy. It is only through the involvement of librarians, media specialists and library staff that we can complete the portrait of Texas school libraries. Let's raise a thousand voices in advocacy!
Sharon Gullett is a library consultant, an adjunct faculty at TAMC-Commerce, and a co-founder of #txlchat as well as an active member of TASL.