Dr. Camila A. Alire
She started with a story about front line, on the spot, at a moment advocacy. This is not advocacy with elected officials, but with the people we come in contact with every day.
Do you understand who is in your entire community? If a percentage of your community isn’t using the library, that likely means you do not understand your community and their needs.
Everyday advocacy is showing people how the library can help them. It is also showing how people can easily advocate for the library with their larger community.
35% of NYS population is non-white. Of that 44% is African American, 23%Asian, 24% other races, etc. That 35% does not include Hispanic/Latinx.
If you include Latinx in the breakdown, 44% of the NYS population is Hispanic/Latinx.
NYS college students: 53% white, 47% minority students.
NYS public schools: 45%white, 55% minority students.
If the non-white members of your community are not coming to the library, can you bring the library to them? Can you make the library staff reflect the demographics of the community by making it preferred that new hires represent your minority communities?
Everyday advocacy is telling people what you support and why. It helping people understand and learn about those things you are supporting.
Understanding these percentages is important because we believe in equity of service. We need to work with all of our communities, not just a certain segment.
The five common excuses people frequently make about engaging in advocacy:
- I’m too shy. It could be that people aren’t shy, but that doing this work isn’t comfortable. Begin with someone you’re comfortable with.
- I don’t know what to say. Start by talking about your passion.
- I don’t have any interaction with the library’s non-users, including those from non-white backgrounds. Fine...advocacy to those who you have exposure to, which might be teachers, principals, library leadership, etc. The more you talk to people, they more you are able to inform and persuade them.
- There are people who already do this. Not really. They are doing it at a different level and with different people.
- I can’t make a difference. Yes, one on one you can. Yes, your one action will help.
- The growth rate of the white and non-white groups was missing. Could she share it? While she knows the growth rate is high, she did not have that data for NYS. The growth rate has tremendous implications for the next 10+ years.
- Why does our reflection not reflect our communities? Are there states which are solving this problem? Some LIS programs are engaged in specific recruitment efforts. She advocates for outreach to find prospective LIS students.
- Someone made a comment about translating library card applications into non-English languages.
- One person commented that another under served population is our veteran population. Alire said that what she said today can be applied to any under served population.
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