School Library Association of Victoria Reference Group invites you to contribute
Seven successful strategies to develop your advocacy toolkit article was a good reminder about the need we all have to advocate for our profession and our school libraries. Strategy: 3 capture killer statistics would be my least favourite strategy. Statistics is always a tricky one. This year I have undertaken a 2 week statistical analysis of our library activities. My library team collected data on all aspects of our operation from bookings and borrowings to patrons etc. Some of the gathering of the statistics can be time consuming but the outcome is worthwhile. Thinks about how you are going to utilize the statistics before you start gathering them. I am always wary as in my experience statistics can be manipulated by others for their own purposes. However statistics do show the volume of activity in the library. This may not be enough to impress school leadership when they have issues on their agenda. I believe when dealing with statistics you really have to be able to talk about them confidently. Statistics are not my forte. I asked a colleague who enjoys statistics to work with me on the analysis and preparation for the presentation of the data. This was a great help in getting the data well organised and presented. It also helped me to become very familiar with the data. My suggestion would be to give Strategy 2 a go even if it is not your strength. Harness your personal learning network and utilise Strategy 7: Leverage the network. This is my favourite strategy. Active participation in our professional associations is the key to our continued strength in advocacy. We need to act with collegiality. Get the networking happening. It couldn’t be a better time to do it than right now.
Statistics can be powerful and also dangerous, I agree Christine. It is how we use them once we have gathered them is most important.
I also agree that our networking, our sense of collegiality is important. An advocacy tool we should foster and suppport.
Following on from this is, and much of what you said, is the danger of us remaining within the constraints of these networks - thinking we are advocating for our profession when in fact we are often only talking to ourselves. Pushing our message out to other stakeholders, other decision makers, in meaningful ways is, I think, one of greatest challenges. Perhaps it has always been so.