Types of Advocacy
Every day, opportunities to advocate abound. (Thus the name of our site!)
This site focuses on sharing the necessity for:
- Youth services in public libraries|
- Library services to kids and families
- Youth services librarians
Advocacy, at its most basic, is about relationships. The relationships impacting our work are internal and external. Internally, we develop relationships and persuade our bosses and administrators, boards and coworkers of the value of serving kids and families, our youth services programs, and our own expertise.
Externally, we harness our passion to convince parents, other community members, partner organizations, and policy makers to make favorable decisions affecting our work, kids and families, the library, and us as professionals.
Every day, we have interactions with users, friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, and bosses that have the power to advance or retreat our cause. Want to increase your effectiveness at everyday advocacy? Ask yourself these questions, grouped by audience--users; friends; coworkers; and bosses.
- Do I present myself as friendly and helpful 99-100% of the time?
- Do I continue developing my knowledge so that I can confidently serve my customers?
- Do I present myself professionally in all ways?
- When I can’t help a user, do I offer other avenues where he/she might pursue the question or need?
- Do I speak positively about other coworkers, other departments, and the library as a whole?
- When an opening arises, do I speak about the importance of my work and the library in the community?
- Do I speak positively about the library, my work, the young users and their families whom I serve?
- Do I talk about my work as being important to the community? Do I give examples?
- Do I talk about my work as being important to me?
- Do I bring up library services and programs that I think others listening might enjoy or find useful?
- Do I share funny and cute stories from the Children’s Department?
- Do I share the fun with coworkers, such as by parading costumed children through the library at Halloween, encouraging children to show other staff things they have made at library programs, or inviting coworkers to watch or help with a Toddler Time?
- Do I talk about our work as important to the library’s mission?
- Do I talk about my management responsibilities as well as my programming stories?
- Do I generally speak positively about my work and supportively of coworkers in other departments?
- Do I talk about our work as important to the library’s mission, with examples?
- Do I share relevant statistics, with context?
- Do I share testimonials that prove our work’s worth? Do I share these both orally and in writing?
- Do I effectively represent the library and my department at community events?
- Whenever you do any of the actions above, you are advocating. Big or small, decisions impacting the library – such as budget votes - are won not on the day of decision, but in the relationships built over time between library staff and the community.