Last week, the School Librarians of Rhode Island (SLRI) Section of the Rhode Island Library Association published a one-minute trailer and a fifteen-minute video to promote the critical contributions school librarians make in today’s learning environments.
Both the trailer and the video are accessible on this page: “Overdue: The Value of School Librarians.” (Hurrah for the title, too!)
The goal of this short documentary-style advocacy film is to show the value of school librarians. The film, directed by Alex DeCiccio, follows five Rhode Island school librarians as they teach rural and urban students of all ages, collaborate with teachers, and take on vital leadership roles in their schools.
The SLRI has made the trailer and Creative Commons public license 4.0 film available to anyone who would like to share it with their own library stakeholders. The video was funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
From the landing page, SLRI has provided additional resources such as a sample letter to stakeholders, a screening and film discussion guide, and an advocacy letter template. You can also read about the project in their press release “Rhode Island School Librarians Recognized as Essential in the Short Documentary ‘Overdue: The Value of School Librarians.’”
Here are a couple excerpts:
In the film, Tasha White, a Providence elementary school library media specialist, says. “My goal is to make library as cool as gym class and recess.” Tasha’s principal Brent Kerman extolls library media centers as places “to learn twenty-first century skills” and school librarians as “key educators in raising up the culture of the entire school.”
Library media specialist Kristin Polseno who serves Mount St. Charles Academy says, “We live in a society where there is this ever-growing sea of information, and then somebody in a position to make decisions about education comes to the decision that a librarian is a luxury. That doesn’t add up for me.”
The film sets out to ask and answer this question: “When you think of a school librarian, what comes to mind? Shushing or a compassionate educator?” “Overdue: The Value of School Librarians” responds by pushing back against stereotypes that school libraries (and librarians) are quiet/shushers, boring, or non-essential.
The testimonials in the video do not pull punches. Librarians openly share the impact of their schedules, multiple school assignments, and the barriers they overcome to do their best work for the benefit of students, other educators, administrators, and families.
The video closes with a series of research-based statements about the critical contributions of school librarians to student learning and the tragic loss of school librarian positions nationwide.
The video makes a connection to one of my all-tie favorite quotes and a likely motto as we strive for social justice.
“Do the best you can do until you know better. When you know better, do better.” Maya Angelou
When we create and promote our one-way public relations messages, we intend for all school librarian advocates, including students, education colleagues, administrators, and families, to take up our cause. We need advocates to help us do the work we are passionate about and have trained to do—to make literacy learning opportunities accessible and equitable for every young person in our schools.
“Overdue” has hit its mark.
Check it out and share it widely!
“Principals Know: School Librarians Are the Heart of the School” crowdsourced by Yours Truly and Teresa Starrett
And then please, please, please advocate on!
Image Adapted from:
Tumisu. “Megaphone Loud Scream,” Pixabay.com. https://pixabay.com/illustrations/megaphone-loud-scream-loudspeaker-911858/