Library Advocacy Resources

Suggestions for promoting the importance of school libraries to state legislators and local communities.

OASL Library Advocacy Toolkit

OASL School Library Advocacy Video and Resources

San Jose State University Advocacy Resources

American Library Association Advocacy Resources

Oregon Study

What can you do to be pro-active? Write to your state senator and representative before the session opens in January. On the local level, ask loyal library supporters to contact district decision-makers.

Since the school finance decisions are in the hands of the state legislature, start now by contacting your two officials. If you don't know the names of your senator and representative, look at your voter's registration card for the district numbers, call the Secretary of the Oregon State Senate (503) 986-1851 and Oregon House of Representatives (503) 986-1870 for their names and addresses.

Tips for letter writing: Be respectful, positive and polite. State your concern in the first paragraph. Let them know that you're a constituent. Use local, specific examples. Focus your comments on students and their learning, not on yourself or your job. Assume they know nothing about school libraries or what your job includes. Write as an individual, using your home address. Do not use school letterhead. This is a personal letter from a voter, not official school business.

A sample letter:

Dear Representative Jones,

Congratulations on your recent re-election to represent our district. I am a teacher/librarian at Central High School in Central City and I am very concerned about school funding and the effects on our students.

As I help students in grades 9-12 find information for class assignments, I teach them how to use the Internet, reference works on CD-ROM and in print, and newspapers and magazines in print and electronic forms. These search skills are vital to their success in college and the workplace.

Since the passage of Measure 5, many students in Oregon have lost the help of a teacher/librarian due to staff reductions. With the added impact of Measure 47, I'm worried that our students will not get the help they need. This is especially critical for students who do not have a computer at home.

I encourage you and your colleagues to find stable school funding so Oregon's students can have the opportunities they deserve.

Best wishes for a good legislative session. Thank you in advance for all your work.

home address

On the local level, ask your most active teachers, parents and older students to write letters of support to school board members or district administrators. Ask them to use specific examples of how school library services have impacted teaching or learning. Administrators need to know why library programs make a difference in the classroom and why they are basic, not extra.

You might prepare a list of names and addresses of administrators and board members to give to potential letter-writers. Without getting into too much gloom and doom, tell them that depending on the legislature's action, programs might be cut as they have been in other districts.

Don't be shy. Ask. The kids deserve the services you provide. Things won't happen unless you write letters yourself and ask others to do the same.

For more information, contact OASL Advocacy Committee Chair: [email protected]