Connecting with stakeholders is my weakness. I remember back in library school we had a presenter come in and tell us that we had to be advocates. Librarianship wasn’t a field for the mousy, the shy. I almost left the room. I didn’t of course, but connecting and advocacy are the hardest part of my job. It just feels like showing off. “Hey, look at me!” This quote from the article Four Steps to Self Advocacy by Hannah Byrd Little really hit home with me.
“It is NOT narcissistic to promote your work as the school librarian.”
I also know that my self esteem clouds my vision of the work I do. Sure, I do the best I can, but it’s certainly nothing to talk about. Except that it is. It has to be. Because 500 kids depend on me, as their librarian, to instill a love of reading and develop their ability to be effective digital citizens. If I act like my work is nothing special, then why on earth should my admin feel the need to maintain the position? (insert epiphany)Advocacy is not about me as an individual, it’s about the work I do to make sure our students are “fully prepared and life ready.”
Heidi Neltner’s Stakeholder Connected Librarian Toolkit was a great source for new ideas and new uses of tools. I loved her suggestion to offer a “power lunch” in which she introduces a new tool in just 15 minutes. I especially liked the way she offered multiple time slots for teachers to choose from. Power lunch is probably not an option with my building schedule, but I could easily set aside small blocks of time throughout the week that would meet different teachers’ needs. It just never occurred to me to offer training in that manner!
I did start a monthly newsletter to build connections with my teachers this year. I use mailchimp because it provides a usage statistics that tell me who is opening the newsletter and what, if any, links they are clicking. This report has been eye opening as it gives me insight into whether I’m sharing information that is actually of interest. It occurs to me that I should consider adding school board members and district admin to the mailing list. There’s that little voice again, whispering, “Why would they care?” Shut up voice.