Strategies for Opposing Cuts to School Library Programs
If you are dealing with cuts to your library program, please reach out through the VSLA listserv. We have your back!
Every situation is different, and you know your school community best. Listed below are some strategies that other librarians have found helpful. We hope you will find some that will be useful to you.
Get the word out!
You can email our advocacy team:
firstname.lastname@example.org -- Kate Davie at Blue Mountain Union School
email@example.com -- Susie Snow at Bristol Elementary School
We can lend a sympathetic ear and make connections with people who might be
able to lend a hand.
Figure out how the proposed cuts will affect your students' learning and build that info into an "Elevator Speech."
Here is a pattern for creating your Elevator Speech from the ALA:
This is one example:
Hi, I’m ________________________, your school librarian. Did you know that a recent Stanford University study found that students were not able to distinguish advertisements from news articles? School librarians are information literacy specialists and collaborate with teachers to ensure our Vermont students know how to find, evaluate and use information ethically. Please stop by the library and see our students’ work. I will send you an email ___________________ (when) with our library schedule. Thank you!
There are more examples here.
Share the most important effects of the proposed cuts with as many appropriate members of your school community as possible
Figure out where and when there are opportunities to meet with the decision makers
This can vary from a closed door meeting with one administrator to townwide public meetings.
Generally speaking, the larger the group, the better.
Figure out who your audience, or audiences, will be for the next step.
The VSLA advocacy committee can help you find colleagues to attend your meeting as backup.
Gather persuasive data and opinions
Some excellent sources are listed HERE.
Equity, which is an issue in which libraries excel, is of particular interest to the Vermont educational community at this time.
Make your case
According to a library-sympathetic administrator, the entity that school boards and administrators pay the most attention to (after money and lawyers, which you are unlikely to have access to) is groups of concerned parents and students. Recruiting your students and their parents to advocate for your program may be the most effective strategy at your disposal.
Your communications should be upbeat and focus on the services you deliver to your students.
Again, the VSLA advocacy committee can help you find colleagues to attend your meeting as backup.