Advocacy to EveryONE by Sue Subel

  In the spring of this year, right before my retirement, I was asked to work with the Communications Strategic Committee on advocacy.  Before getting started, I took some time to think about advocacy and what it means. For this I went to Merriam-Webster online and searched for the word “advocate” as I feel it is each individual that must be an advocate. Merriam-Webster has three different definitions, the third I found to best reflect our individual roles as an advocate: “one who supports or promotes the interests of a cause or group”. Yes, the definition uses the word, “one”. I believe that our organization must urge everyONEof our members to advocate. Be An Advocate
How do we go about this task? I think it starts with 
WHOwe are. Why? I am convinced that WHOwe are is still one of our biggest stumbling blocks. So, the first thing I suggest we do is to make it very CLEARthat we ARElicensedand certifiedby the Ohio Department of Education as Library Media Specialists K-12. How do we do this? Simple, frame your ODE license and hang it in your library. Better yet, make a nice copy (preferably in color, though our license isn’t very colorful!) and hang it in your library window (or door) as well. Why? Sadly, our school libraries are either NOT being sttaffed, or are now being staffed by non-certified personnel and too many of our parents and teachers do not know the difference. That’s just not acceptable. Along with proudly “hanging your shingle” always have  a copy of the course requirements for licensure as a School Library Media Specialist handy. Better yet, hang these documents alongside of your license! I sent a copy of the licensure requirements to one of our board members in the spring to promote better understanding of our educational training. Dr. Meghan Harper has graciously provided these documents from the SLIS program at Kent State University. There are three documents that define how to 1) obtain the MLIS degree, 2) obtain the SLMS certification (those who already have a Master’s might choose this option), and: 3) obtain a degree in education as well as, the MLIS. (These are attached.)
I hope this first step in becoming an advocate will be one that is easy to fulfill. I have other ideas that I will share in future posts. With everyONEparticipating I know we can make a difference by clearly defining who we are, what we do, and why we are so crucial to student achievement!
BeAnAdvocate: Suggestion #1: Frame and hang your Ohio Department of Education license in your school library. Keep the KSU course requirements close at hand or hang the document along with your license! Also,in your email signature, why not add information about your license?
            5 Year Professional License OW1001103
            Kindergarten-Elementary (K-8) Library Media/Reading K-12
Read: SLJ March 2018 article by Keith Curry Lance “School Librarian, Where Art Thou?”This article should, I hope, embolden you and provide the impetus for you to Be An Advocate. (The charts in this article are telling, you might want to keep copies of these as well!)
Documents:  KSU_MLIS_Dual_Lic
Coming Next: Article by Thomas M. Hyland, Associate Professor, Librarian & Library Instruction Coordinator, Lakeland Community College