Friday, March 25, 2011
How to make a parent's day AND advocate for your library in one simple step
Sometimes a simple idea is best. It's great to have a ton of ideas, but we're busy. And overwhelmed. And maybe stressed. So if we could simplify, I'm betting no one would object.
Yesterday one of our wise librarians shared with me that as things get increasingly harried and fragmented, she copes with these multiple demands by streamlining. She consciously steps back, identifies what is most important in her library, and then focuses on one or two things. And because she is wonderful, these one or two things involve helping kids love reading and learning. When she loses focus, she asks herself if the task at hand relates to her priorities.
In an earlier post I listed ten ideas to advocate for our libraries. In an effort to channel the advice of my smart friend, I'd like to feature one idea that several of our fabulous librarians have implemented.
Make one positive parent call a day.
It takes only a couple of minutes. Choose a student that you've had a special interaction with that day or one that may need a little affirmation. The nervous flutter of calling a parent will dissipate once you find out how amazing it feels to make a parent's day. And calling home isn't just for the little ones. There's no age limit on feeling good.
The librarian I mentioned has recently started calling a parent each day with terrific results. She left a voicemail for one parent at work telling the mom what a great kid her son is and how fun it is to work with him. The mom called the librarian back and said, "I just wanted to hear you say those nice things about my son one more time. Would you tell me again?"
"The Mind of a Researcher: Keith Curry Lance," is a great article from the April 2010 issue of Teacher Librarian about the critical role of a librarian. After 20 years of gathering data on the effectiveness of school libraries, Lance notes that the message still isn't being heard. Why? Lance feels that when we advocate for our own programs, it often sounds self-serving.
And who does Lance believe are our best advocates? Parents.
So today I challenge you to adopt the simple idea of making one positive parent phone call each day. In this small act of kindness you will make the day of a parent and advocate for your library in one simple step.
And one small action can be powerful.
If you call one parent a day x 180 days of school, that's 180 parents firmly in your corner. We have 49 librarians in our district. If each one would call one parent per day x 180 days, we would have 8,820 parents supporting our library program by the end of the year.
And if every school librarian called one parent every day...
Pass the word.