Friday, May 1, 2009

Advocating for Stimulus Dollars - 4/30 webcast by Capstone

On on Thursday, April 30, Capstone Press hosted a 1/2 hour webcast on "5 Steps to Advocate for Stimulus Dollars for Your Library". The program is archived and handouts are on their website and other websites including the ALA "Know Your Stimulus" site that they referenced. This post has some highlights and links. Kudos to Capstone Press for offering the webcast and supporting material.

5-Step Program:
1- Become informed. Become informed about the stimulus package and what funding and visibility opportunities are available. Think BIG. Money is going to school superintendents. You need a LOUD VOICE. Here are some pots of money:
  • $53.5 BILLION in state stabilization funding. This can be used for school libraries, such as materials budget and positions. NOTE: The state of Illinois chose to use 100% of their share for education.
  • $13 BILLION for Title I schools. Over two years.
  • $650 Million for NCLB EETT (Education Technology) grants for Fall 2009. This is primarily for middle schools.
2- Determine your target. You must show positive impact on student achievement. Identify your school's top priorities or "hot spots" and describe how the school library addresses the priorities.
  • Title I -- learn the estimated allocation for your district. Learn how much is for schoolwide vs specific students. focus on library resources to support these students, implement research-based programs, and include parent involvement.
  • IDEA programs. Identify decision makers (principals, district library and curriculum directors) and influencers (superintendents, school board members). Be proactive -- how can your library goals meet the goals of decision makers?
3- Gather Your Facts. PROVE that strong school libraries increase student achievement by citing data-driven facts. For example about 20 state studies show that more reading, more access, more books increases student achievement. Also USE LOCAL INFORMATION. Back up a statement like "Every dollar invested in the school library pays off in higher student achievement."

4- Make a Plan. Your plan must demonstrate value and have no reoccurring costs. (Caution: funding staff is a reoccurring cost, so focus on other costs.)
  • Set a goal. Be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely). Use budget estimates such as $20/book average. Reinforce the statement that your proposal has a positive impact on student achievement.
  • Make your Pitch. Practice. Set up a specific appointment with your principal. Consider leave-behinds. Be positive. Follow-up.
5- Be LOUD.

NOW is the time to ACT. You need to act LOCALLY. Read up on the stimulus dollars and the guidelines from ALA, Capstone Press, and others. You need to create a proposal for your specific school or districtwide library program. No one else will do this for you (unless you have or create a library or Friends of the Library team).

Go for it! - Jackie Siminitus

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