Materials to facilitate school library advocacy from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) including advocacy brochures, infographics, and toolkits; definitions developed by the AASL Advocacy Committee; information on school library specific legislation and the ongoing legislative efforts; and information on AASL sponsored events including Banned Websites Awareness Day and School Library Month.
A comprehensive collection of advocacy resources available from the American Library Association.
Browse by topic or search the collection for a specific issue.
Brochure created by the AASL Intellectual Freedom Committee available for download, duplication, and distribution. It describes why intellectual freedom is important in a school library program, the difference between selection and censorship, what to do before a challenge occurs, where to obtain assistance during a challenge, why schools filter and how it affects students intellectual freedom, and how the ALA Code of Ethics affects school librarians.
Use these one page handouts to educate school administration, teachers, and parents about AASL's National School Library Standards and the important role of school librarians: A Guide for Administrators: Your School Library in the Learning Community, Understanding the National School Library Standards; A Guide for Educators & Classroom Teachers: What School Library Standards Mean to Educators; Amplify the power of your teaching, support your curriculum, and help your learners to Think, Create, Share and Grow!; A Guide for Parents and Guardians: How Does the School Library Support Your Child? Tips to help support learning in school and at home.
AASL’s new integrated standards are designed to empower leaders to transform teaching and learning. The new National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries reflect an evolution of AASL Standards, building on philosophical foundations and familiar elements of previous standards while featuring the new streamlined AASL Standards Integrated Framework for learners, school librarians, and school libraries.
Three previously separate publications—AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner, Standards in Action, and Empowering Learners—are now framed within a single text, emphasizing the importance of all three standards sets while ensuring that standards-related activities are mutually reinforcing. The National School Library Standards enable school librarians to influence and lead in their schools, districts, and states and to develop plans that meet today’s educational landscape for learners, school librarians, and the school library. Among the innovations:
The AASL Standards Framework for Learners pamphlet presents the Integrated Framework (Learner, School Librarian, and School Library) featured within the National School Library Standards. This pamphlet is the ideal collaborative and advocacy piece to introduce your stakeholders to this student-focused segment at the heart of AASL’s standards. In addition to the framework for learners, this convenient pamphlet includes Common Beliefs reflecting current learning environments and professional best practices that form the foundation of the standards. Share the frame work for Learners at: District school board meetings; PTA/PTO meetings; and Teacher in-service days.
The Association of College and Research Libraries is committed to creating increased access to scholarly information; fostering cost-effective alternative means of publishing, especially those that take advantage of electronic information technologies; and encouraging scholars to assert greater control over scholarly communications. Resources include; Scholarly Communication Toolkit; ACRL RoadShow: "Scholarly Communication: From Understanding to Engagement"; discussion list and forum; and white papers.
The ALA Ecosystem Initiative is a multi-year effort to strengthen the library ecosystem through identification of shared priorities for action and unified messaging. Today, the effort is guided by the State Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Committee on Library Advocacy (COLA). The group's charge includes examining ALA's practices and policies to ensure alignment with and support for ecosystem best practices, as well as convening ongoing conversations and programming that support and connect ecosystem efforts.
A library ecosystem is the interconnected network of all types of libraries, library workers, volunteers, and associations that provide and facilitate library services for community members; families; K-20 learners; college and university communities; local, state and federal legislatures and government offices; businesses; nonprofits; and other organizations with specific information needs.
A patron of one library is the potential patron of any other library at a different time of life or location. No library exists independent of the library ecosystem. When we stand together in mutual support using common messaging themes that demonstrate this interconnectedness, every library is stronger.
In 2020, ALA's Ecosystem Task Force published the ONE VOICE toolkit to help library organizations assess and extend the strength of their ecosystems, and to identify and pursue priorities for advocacy and legislation. While written for ecosystems at the state level, the framework can apply to the library ecosystem at any level, and can include a wide range of library organizations such as friends groups and trustees, vendors, literacy groups, and all types of libraries and library organizations..
The toolkit is anchored by the Ecosystem Continuum, a rubric to help organizations examine the library environment with a focus on four strands that serve as pillars for a healthy ecosystem:
A group can start where they see themselves in the rubric, wherever they think they can get the most traction and best work together to build new or strengthen existing structures.
Laying the groundwork for the Ecosystem Continuum is an Implementation Guide that will support organizations and individual ecosystem builders no matter where they fall along the path towards a thriving and unified library ecosystem that is more impactful than its individual parts. The guide contains links to resources that support a focus on ecosystem development, from an assessment checklist to templates for building a shared agenda to visualization tools for those organizations or individuals that seek an extra boost in securing buy-in to make ecosystem efforts a priority. Some of those tools are shared here.
- Self-Assessment for State Ecosystem Continuum
- Ecosystem Agenda Building: Information Gathering (Template)
- State & Local Year-Round Advocacy Checklist
- Recording Progress Towards a Library Ecosystem (Example) (Template)
- Annual Assessment of Progress Towards Ecosystem Sustainability
- Strong Library Ecosystem Recipe (visualization tool)
ALA Library Ecosystem: Together We Make a Difference! [webinar]
presented by ALA's Ecosystem Subcommittee, December 7, 2021
The ALA Ecosystem Subcommittee of the Committee on Library Advocacy (COLA) builds awareness of why and how the Ecosystem Toolkit helps all types of libraries and their leadership/professional organizations build relationships for effective legislative and community advocacy. Subcommittee members Rachel Minkin (Michigan State University) and Dr. Michelle Robertson (University of Central Oklahoma) offer examples of how the Toolkit is being utilized in Oklahoma, Michigan, and Tennessee followed by a panel of speakers reflecting the impact of Ecosystem work.
Who Are the People In Your Ecosystem? [webinar]
presented by ALA's State Ecosystem Task Force, October 29, 2020
ALA's Statewide Ecosystem Task Force has spent the last year working together to create a toolkit for state associations and their partners. The resources are intended to help build an internal set of relationships among all types of libraries and all their leadership/professional organizations for the purpose of strengthening advocacy to a variety of audiences. Hear from individuals who are doing the work within their states to strengthen their ecosystem and get a quick tour of the Task Force’s new toolkit.
State ecosystem work
ALA Ecosystem Initiative & Toolkit for TASLA
presented to the Texas Association of School Library Administrators, May 2021
Building a Strong Michigan Library Ecosystem
presented during Michigan Library Advocacy Day, April 2021
Share Your Story
South Carolina Library Association, SC Association of School Librarians, and Friends of SC Libraries, Spring 2021
One Voice for Washington Libraries
Alki, the Washington Library Association Journal, March 2021 [p. 23]
Strengthening Our TLA Library Ecosystem
Texas Library Journal, Winter 2020
Building a Michigan Library Ecosystem
presented to Michigan Library Association by Ecosystem Task Force member Steven K. Bowers, November 18, 2020
ALA divisions spread the ecosystem word
From Silos to Ecosystems
College and Research Libraries News, June 2021
Moving Forward to Build a Strong Library Ecosystem
AASL's Knowledge Quest, December 29, 2020
Join the ecosystem conversation
The ecosystem conversation continues. Join us on ALA Connect.
To view the archive of ecosystem initiative work prior to publication of the ONE VOICE toolkit, please visit: ala.org/advocacy/state-ecosystem-initiative-archive.
For additional information contact Ecosystem Subcommittee chair Sara Kelly Johns:
The ALA Literacy Clearinghouse brings together resources from across the American Library Association that promote literacy across the lifespan. Topics include: Family Literacy, Adolescent Literacy, Digital Literacy, Information Literacy, ALA Member Groups & Divisions, Early Childhood Literacy, Adult Literacy, Literacy for English learners, ALA Literacy Publications, Select Literacy Policies & Statements.
ALA affirms that publicly funded libraries should remain directly accountable to the public they serve. Therefore, ALA opposes the shifting of policy making and management oversight of library services from the public to the private for-profit sector.
On August 18, 2021, the American Library Association (ALA) Executive Board issued a statement opposing initiatives to censor information resources, curricula, and programs addressing racial injustice, Black American history, and diversity education. The full statement follows:
The American Library Association is committed to upholding our core values, which include equitable access to knowledge, social justice, and intellectual freedom. As members of a profession committed to free and equitable access to information and the pursuit of truth, we stand firm in opposing any effort to suppress knowledge, to label “controversial” views, or dictate what is orthodox in history, politics, or belief.
At present, efforts to censor any consideration or discussion of racism, slavery, Black American history, and related issues and concerns in our schools, colleges, and universities pose a real and present threat to libraries’ ability to fulfill their role as trusted community institutions that provide factual and accurate information that reflects the breadth of the American experience about these topics.
A commitment to intellectual freedom and social justice requires that libraries not only protect the truth from suppression, but also prevent its distortion. Consequently, the American Library Association has joined other educational institutions and civil liberties organizations in opposing any legislative proposal or local initiative intended to ban instruction, consideration, or discussion about the role of racism in the history of the United States or how systemic racism manifests itself in our schools, workplaces, and government agencies.
ALA member leaders and staff pledge to join with library workers, libraries, and state and regional library associations to oppose any proposal to censor information resources, curricula, or programs addressing racial injustice, Black American history, and diversity education. We commit to supporting libraries, library workers, schools, and universities facing these challenges and developing tools that will prepare library workers to defend their collections, counter falsehoods, and engage their communities in important conversations about racial injustice and empowering everyone to fully participate in our democratic society.
For information or for any inquiries please write the Office for Intellectual Freedom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocacy for children's librarians is anything but a quiet affair! Visit the Association for Library Service to Children's Everyday Advocacy website to get inspired and learn how to be the voice of your library. Tips for creating an elevator speech, crafting your message, using print and electronic media, conducting one-on-one meetings with local stakeholders and policymakers or group advocacy efforts that capture state and national attention.
Banned Books Week is an annual event, usually the last week in September, that brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — to draw national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restricted in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom offers ideas for how to get involved, free downloads, and display ideas.
Choose Privacy Week is the American Library Association’s annual, week-long event that promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians’ unique role in protecting privacy in the library and in society as a whole. The initiative encourages libraries to be champions of privacy rights in the digital age and highlights ways libraries can protect the privacy of their patrons and educate users to think critically and make informed choices about their privacy. The Choose Privacy Week website hosts a blog providing news and thought leadership about privacy and surveillance issues and serves as a clearinghouse for resources for librarians who are working to improve privacy practices and programs in their libraries.
This free guide will take the mystery out of advocacy, provide you with an organized step-by-step approach, and allow you to develop a set of strategies that will motivate your community to pressure funders to support the library or in the case of a referendum or bond issue - to vote "yes."
Every community, whether it’s a town, an organization, or an educational institution, has local notables (and maybe some genuine celebrities) who can step forward and speak out personally and passionately in support of the library. How can you interest your local notables in advocating for your library? What can you expect from them, and what should they expect from you? How do you use their name, face and reputation most effectively? This toolkit will provide you with ten steps to help you.
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