Last week I had the opportunity to lunch, laugh and learn with some rock star librarians in Union County, North Carolina. After a tough year for librarians - a year in which we've all had to get used to a new reality in which our programs have been under funded, under staffed and, in some cases, under extreme threat, the librarians of Union County were upbeat, generous and open to new ideas. I was thrilled to be able to update my "Rock Star Advocacy" presentation to share with my new friends to the west and found myself energized by their enthusiastic response.
Over the last year, I've learned a lot about advocacy, not the least of which came from a lunch conversation I had last month with Vermont librarian Dan Greene. During our quick, but yummy, lunch between sessions Dan said something I will never forget: "when they come for your job, it's already too late."
Wow. Just wow.
That's not to say, of course, that if cuts start heading your way, you should just lie down and take them. I'm definitely not the kind of girl who goes down without a fight. However, I've come to believe that proactive advocacy is the most effective and powerful way that we can protect and grow the services we provide for kids. If we can, through stellar practice and compulsive sharing, prove to our communities and those who make decisions about funding and staffing that our kids need/deserve quality library programs, we'll never get to point where reactive advocacy is necessary. The fact of the matter is, in both tough and terrific times, people protect what they value. And if we're not seen as valuable, only WE can change it. We need to be GREAT and we need to be GREAT at sharing. The end.
Anyway, my heartfelt thanks goes out to my friend, and NCSLMA President Elect, April Dawkins for making me feel so welcome in her neck of the woods. I also had a great time visiting both April's and our mutual friend Deb Christensen's library. Both ladies have beautiful, lively, thriving spaces that gave me a major case of library envy! The highlight of the tour, though, may have been when I stumbled upon this little display in which my "Librarians Are Ready" poster was displayed next to Gwyneth Jones' and Joyce Valenza's poster "What Do TLs Teach." Seeing my work nestled against theirs was incredibly humbling and made me feel like a TRUE rock star!
Also, if I may be so bold as to acknowledge such a thing, my blog hit a bit of a milestone last week when it reached over 100,000 hits. Although I'm thoroughly convinced that at least 50,000 of those are just me, it's a huge thrill and an honor to think that this space has been visited even half the number of times my stat counter claims. Although it feels a little strange to focus on it, I also know that it's important to acknowledge milestones, so... thanks to all of you for helping me reach this one. My PLN rocks.
And, finally, speaking of PLNs, if you haven't yet taken the time to contribute to my PLN starter kit, please PLEASE do so now. I'm planning to keep the form open through June 15th to give folks a chance to get through the end of the school year before I start compiling the data. Don't let your voice be left out! Go here and share your suggestions with the world! The fruits of your labor will be revealed in mid June! Stay tuned!