The Internet@Schools track opened with a presentation on advocacy called Changing the Story: The California Campaign for Strong School Libraries. Jackie Siminitus, VP of Communication at the Calif. School Library Assoc., gave an overview of the work that went into setting up the campaign.
The “old story” was books and literacy; the “new story” is that technology is now a big part of school libraries. “We need to get outside of library land and tell that story,” she stressed.
Start-up activities have included logo design, podcasts, and a Cafe Press store that sells merchandise which brings in some money to help pay for promotion. The group invested in the PR Newswire service in order to have a professional platform to spread the word. They also built a campaign website at librarycampaign.csla.net.
One of the campaign’s main messages is that strong school libraries build strong students. Siminitus also discussed the importance of using the right words that fit the groups of decision-makers you’re trying to reach. School administrators and policymakers need to hear “digital” a lot (as in “digital literacy”) along with words like “job” and “career” in order to show that teacher-librarians are up-to-date and to help them connect the dots between K-12 libraries and future sucess for students.