by Susi Grissom
NOTE: This blog manager is a day late for Library Virtual Action Day - but this post serves as a reminder that it is NEVER too late to contact your legislators about school libraries. They always need your enthusiastic support, as well as stories that illustrate in student terms the impact of our work.
In mid-January, Gloria Meraz, Director of Communications for TLA, distributed to all TLA members one of her famous TEXLINE updates, packed with information about library issues that will be impacted by the current Legislative Session (http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/Texline%20298.pdf). TASL TALKS would like to highlight the parts of this treasure trove of legislative detail that pertain specifically to school librarians, so that you and your colleagues can help with Texas library advocacy efforts.
- Sharing Digital Content – this is one of the two big “asks” for this legislative session. TLA is requesting $6.4 million to building digital collections through TexQuest (K-12 public schools and TexShare (pubic and college libraries). Anyone who has used the TexQuest resources this year knows what powerful learning tools this digital content provides. Find details about this issue at: http://www.txla.org/sites/tla/files/Advocate/84th_Library_Budget_Issues.pdf
- Advocacy Tools to Use – in an effort to equip school librarians to effectively work with decision-makers, Gloria has provided a toolkit chock full of resources. These include a 1-page handout of talking points to help us make our case on budget issues; a representative locator to help us easily find our legislators; a TLA Advocacy Primer that contains an impressive list of how-to’s that beginning through the most experienced advocates will find helpful.
- TLA Pre-Conference information -- a special opportunity open to anyone interested in honing their advocacy skills is Storming the Capitol – a TLA PreConference. With training provided in the morning and lunch included in the event registration, participants will visit the Capitol in teams on Tuesday, April 14, to meet with legislators about identified library issues. Badges of honor will be awarded for use throughout the TLA conference!
- Library Virtual Action Day -- put the previously mentioned advocacy tools to work on Thursday, February 12, by participating in TLA’s Library Virtual Action Day. Gloria outlines a number of doable, concrete tasks that you and your colleagues can complete to focus on library support in Austin and in your community.
- School Librarian Certification and State Standards – in the recent TEXLINE Gloria outlines recent state-level activity concerning school librarians, including a letter from TASL leadership to the State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC) on school librarian certification and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s work to begin the process of updating school library state standards.
Many thanks to Gloria for her continued work on behalf of school librarians and for her effort to educate us on advocacy steps we can implement to strengthen school libraries in the state of Texas. Let’s get to work!!