Everyday advocates understand the nuts and bolts of internal and external advocacy as well as ways to “seed the ground” so that advocacy is likely to bear fruit. Here are some things to know as you embrace your advocacy role both within your library community and beyond it!
The Everyday Advocate mindset. Instead of viewing “advocate” as yet another role you have to take on, consider it the part you were born to play. When you think of advocacy at stage center of everything you do as a children’s librarian, the hard part is over. Remember, it all starts with you and the things you’re already doing for the youth and families you serve!
Your advocacy role within your organization. Do you need the approval of supervisors to contact elected officials, Library Board members, Friends of the Library, or the press? In what situations can you speak on the library’s behalf?
Legal or policy limitations on advocacy activities. What are the legal limitations on the kind of “lobbying” or “campaigning” you can do on the job as opposed to as a private citizen? What are your organization’s internal policies regarding formal lobbying or electioneering?
The value of creating allies throughout the staff. Everyday advocates create a positive attitude towards service to children among coworkers on a daily basis. They communicate the goals of children’s services as well as the details of upcoming activities and their anticipated impact. Everyday advocates explain why everyone is important in welcoming children and families to the library while welcoming input, assistance, and participation from their coworkers. And best of all, everyday advocates involve the entire staff in celebrating successes!