For more than twenty years, school librarians have focused the largest portion of their advocacy efforts on individual principals, superintendents, and board members, struggling to convince them that libraries should be integral and institutionalized elements of K-12 education. It hasn’t worked.
Libraries and librarians remain frighteningly vulnerable to cuts, even elimination, in schools everywhere. These individualized field-based advocacy efforts may have forestalled greater disaster, but they have not and cannot by themselves make libraries and librarians secure in our schools.
To do that librarians need to widen their advocacy efforts and give priority to two new targets: (1) the educational administration (Ed Ad) professors who shape beginning administrators’ perceptions and values and (2) the professional associations that have a powerful influence on how administrators approach their work challenges once they are in the field. In effect, this widening represents a shift from battling for current school leaders’ support to preemptively conditioning the next generation of administrators to support libraries as they take up their new responsibilities.