The group Students Need Libraries in HISD (Houston) has worked to encourage librarians and other stakeholders to contact school board members with information to begin to build increased support for school libraries in the district. We can say that the word “library” has been spoken at formal meetings more often in the year since we have begun this effort than it was before; we can also say there is far to go in the process in a climate where much resistance remains. But a few board members are listening and noticing our persistence, even absorbing the documents we send along.
Co-founder Debbie Hall (retired HISD librarian) adapted some of Gloria Meraz’ (TLA Director of Communications) tip sheets for contacting legislators to offer HISD folks tips to contact our board members. The tips are posted here, as well as to www.studentsneedlibrariesinHISD.org and the Students Need Libraries Houston Facebook page.
Step up, Speak Out, Recruit Others; Repeat Often. That is the core message.
These are excellent resources for contacting any community leaders in support of school libraries. And we already know how important it is to remind the community often about the strength school libraries bring to student achievement. Just like when you contact legislators, tell stories with student accomplishments based on library resources, send photos, invite them to visit your library, and even take yourself on a field trip to their office. Heck - take students and parents along! What a civics lesson that could be.
Three easy steps: Step up, Speak Out, Recruit Others. Take them one step at a time - TASL is here to help.