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Page history last edited by Judi Moreillon 11 years, 9 months ago


Marketing and Advocacy: Targeting Principals, Classroom Teachers, Specialists, and Educational Decision-makers


What is the difference between marketing and advocacy? How is the course project a marketing and advocacy assignment?


Marketing and Advocacy


Some people believe the lines between marketing and advocacy are blurred. Others believe there are significant distinctions between the two.

These are my definitions and examples, subject to change, of course…


Marketing involves conducting research in order to determine the priorities of a specific audience. After conducting research, the “message” is then targeted to the perceived needs of the audience for the work. For example, a school librarian could survey classroom teachers in her building and discover that many teachers feel the need to upgrade their skills with particular technology tools. Since she is particularly expert and current in this area, the school librarian could craft a message—via a public service announcement attached to the school library Web site, a brochure, a flyer, a bookmark, or other marketing tool—to reach out to teachers to invite them to a workshop or one-on-one training in the technology tools teachers identified as being most important for their learning. As the Wikipedia says, “Marketing is used to create customers” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing).


Well, so does advocacy…  but it originates in a different way. Advocacy involves “influencing outcomes” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advocacy). A school librarian who advocates for the library program will do so first and foremost by facilitating a vibrant program that impacts student achievement and faculty development. He will be able to back up his claims with data and research that show the library program and the work of the school librarian are worthy of support from administrators, classroom teacher and specialist colleagues, families and the community at large. The school librarian can use the data he collects to advocate for increased staffing, additional resources and equipment, scheduling changes, or other programmatic initiatives. Ideally, he will have influenced the other stakeholders in the learning community to speak for the library rather than, or in addition to, doing so himself.


TWU Pioneer School Project


Marketing and advocacy go hand in hand. Both can and should be used to educate members of the learning community about the roles and responsibilities of the library program in student achievement and professional development for educators. In the TWU Pioneer School Project, LS5333: School Library Media Center and LS5443: Librarians as Instructional Partners graduate students have the opportunity to synthesize their learning in this course and create an “ideal school librarian and library program” in order to influence the thinking and practices of preservice and practicing classroom teachers, specialists, administrators, and educational decision-makers.


School librarians who daily practice effective school librarianship are in the very best position to impact others’ thinking regarding the roles and responsibilities of the librarian and the library program. Classroom teachers (Moreillon, 2007) and administrators (Levitov, 2010) will increase their value for the school library program if a school librarian shows them the benefits to student learning. Still, research also shows that university classes can make a difference. In a survey conducted in Kentucky by Alexander and Cary (2003), school administrators who participated in coursework in which school libraries were discussed rated the value of the school library higher than those who did not. Preservice classroom teachers can also develop a value for school libraries through university coursework that teaches them about the potential benefits to students and to educators themselves of classroom-library collaboration for instruction (Moreillon, 2007).


This project, then, is an opportunity to positively predispose the learning community to value school library programs and the instructional partnership and leadership work of school librarians.





Alexander, L. & Cary, J. (2003, November-December). Education reform and the school library media specialist: Perceptions of principals. Knowledge Quest, 32(2), 10-13.


Levitov, D. (2010, February). Educating school administrators. School Library Monthly, 26(6), 45-47.


Moreillon, J.  (2007). Two heads are better than one: Influencing preservice classroom teachers’ understanding and practice of classroom-library collaboration. School Library Media Research 11. Online.


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