Advocacy, Pleasure Reading

Be A Lead Reader.

I remember first learning about the statistics fellow student Julie Hong shared in her post, School Libraries Today, at the last California School Libraries Association conference and being equally shocked at what is happening in California, a state which encompasses the second largest school district in the country.  Two questions: where are our priorities and where is the advocacy effort that educates administrators and the frontline decision makers who are responsible for cutting these positions to move the funds to another need on campus?  Mr. Completo, one of of the supervising librarians I worked with during my TL fieldwork, posed another interesting question: is it possible that it all boils down to whether an administrator is a lover of reading herself that determines her level of support for the school library?  Do school libraries find more support from administrators, district representatives, and board members who have an ongoing love affair with reading and stories?  Wouldn’t that be a fascinating survey to tally?!  The East York – Scarborough Reading Association, made up of teachers, consultants, adminstrators, superintendents and resource personnel, dedicates their annual conference to just that: Reading for the Love of It!  They have been hosting the conference for more than forty years to enhance reading instruction by promoting a love of reading among educators including administrators.  Life as a Digital Dad blogger and elementary school principal, Adam Welcome, talks about the importance and power of school principals reading to kids.  He describes that it took him until third grade for reading to click and that was only because he discovered Roald Dahl.  It would be so cool to work for a principal like Adam who gets the importance of reading – wanna bet he’s got a librarian at his school?!  And there are numerous more articles and blog posts about how administrators can promote a culture of reading at her or his school, so the importance of their efforts is well recognized and likely these administrators are already on board with the library being a vital place for students on campus.  

So how can TLs convert the ones that don’t already love reading.  Here’s one tip from the Nerdy Book Club blogger: principals should instead of being “Lead Learner”, should be “Lead Reader”, because actions speak louder than words.  When she passed the torch to the new principal of her former school, instead of a lengthy list of instructions for her predeccessor, she left a reading list.  I say good going, Ms. Renwick!

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1 thought on “Be A Lead Reader.”

  1. This is really interesting. We know from advocacy research that if funders like libraries they get funded (likability). This is why building relationships is so important. But the idea of liking reading means liking libraries and therefore funding and supporting them is also an obvious connection to likability. I hadn’t made that leap but it makes a ton of sense. I think that leaves a hard question – how do you work with admins that aren’t readers? And a different but equally difficult and related question: if they like reading and therefore libraries how do you become a modern library, one beyond just books? I will be musing on this quite some time to come I am sure.

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