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Sharing a video advocacy strategy

You’ve likely been following the happy story of the Spokane moms and their successful grassroots movement to secure school libraries for the learners in their state. The Fund Our Future Washington campaign has now spread to Oregon.  It is clear that action matters, especially when it is initiated by our most important stakeholders.

Our Pennsylvania situation is a story of serious inequities. While my suburban library program is supported and appreciated by our community, the same is not necessarily true a few blocks away across the city border and in many areas across our fine state. 

Deb Kachel, our organization’s Legislative Chair, tells me:

in Philadelphia, 75% of the city’s 265 public schools do NOT have a librarian or a library; only 64 have librarians for 2007-08; there were 83 in 2006-07.

A group of us, including (we hope) parents, will be hosting a legislative breakfast prior to our PSLA conference at the end of next month. 

I’ve been working on a video/slideshow in the style of (but not nearly as cool and animated) Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod’s  Did You Know? to get the first half of the message out in five minutes. It occurred to me that the video might be useful for other efforts, so I thought I’d share.

For our Pennsylvania meeting

Alternate version with fewer PA references

I still have time to play with this and I welcome your suggestions!

The second half of my presentation is not yet complete, but I promise to share it when it is.  I thought I could illustrate the equity issues and the value of school library programs by channeling Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.  I can show images of what happens in our library, in both its physical and virtual forms, and discuss what our community, our own Bedford Falls, would look like if our library never existed.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. pgoerner says:

    OMG- Joyce thank you so much! You can’t believe how much we need this in Colorado. My district lost at least 2.5 library staff this week, and probably more to come. I’m sharing this out ASAP!!

  2. I love love love the content of the video…I would worry that it is a little long for your intended audience. Especially since part 2 of your presentation has the potential to really knock their socks off- I am impressed with your idea and the way you are planning to illustrate it will be so valuable to these people who really have no idea what is involved in operating a successful school library media center. It is only my opinion that you may lose the legislatures with the length of part one. And I run the risk of being blasted by all with this comment only because I believe what you are doing is so important for our entire profession and it is extremely important that any presentation tied to your name is better than top drawer. People listen to you; you have the ability to influence legislatures and create positive change within our profession. So thanks for that!

    I can’t wait to see part 2-

  3. Excellent. Joyce, like you don’t have enough to do, but, can you post this to TeacherTube so I can get the embed code to put in a district blog to be used for a presentation / plea to district administrators about library media services in April? Our district just issued a “pink slip” to one of our six elementary library media specialists, the goal – cut costs; the theory – have one LMS cover the two smallest schools; the result – the two smallest schools are the two “high risk population” schools, thus inequity.

  4. Your presentation is so powerful. Are you able to differentially sequence the timing to allow a bit more time for the more content heavy slides? I lost some of your message when those slides passed quickly by.

  5. joycevalenza says:

    Thank you all for your suggestions. I will play with the timing and with shortening the show. For now, if you want to play with the slides, I’ve posted them on SlideShare:

  6. Kim Ackerman says:

    Thank you, Joyce! What a great idea. I’ve sent this version to librarian friends who are losing their jobs or their staffing.
    One suggestion – some of the slides move too fast for easy reading. Can’t wait to see your final version.

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