Vermont Department of Libraries

August 24, 2011

“Turning the Page”: Free Advocacy Course

Filed under: @publics, Continuing Education — vtdeptlib @ 5:15 pm

The Public Library Association (PLA) is offering their celebrated “Turning the Page” advocacy training in a free guided online series of classes. This program is made possible nationwide by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The online course lasts 6 weeks and includes a weekly webinar facilitated by the PLA. During the 6 weeks, students will build their own Advocacy Work Plan. This is a wonderful opportunity for library staff, trustees and community supporters. Registration for the next session opens September 15.

DOL Consultant Michael Roche and a group of Vermont librarians, trustees and Friends participated in the original “live” version of this training in St. Louis, Missouri and reported that it was a fantastic experience. Now all interested Vermonters are able to take the course online – at no cost.

  • What is advocacy? For the purposes of this training, advocacy includes “building strategic partnerships with local groups, developing effective approaches that demonstrate and communicate a library’s value, and delivering messages about the importance of libraries.”
  • Why is this important for Vermont? Vermont continues to face many serious economic and societal challenges and our libraries provide essential services to citizens and help build strong communities. In order for libraries to thrive in a time of budget cuts and competing spending priorities, we must be more effective in communicating the value of our libraries. Through the work of citizen advocacy we can ensure that our libraries are adequately funded and staffed to offer services that promote and support economic and workforce development, basic literacy and digital literacy, an informed citizenry, personal and cultural enrichment and life-long learning, and use of e-Government and other online information resources.
  • Who should participate? “Turning the Page” is open to ANYONE and we especially encourage librarians, trustees and Friends of the Library to take advantage of this opportunity. During the next year DOL will work to build a statewide library advocacy network. This course is a good base for developing this network and for further discussions and programs to strengthen our libraries through advocacy activities.
  • What should you do? If you are a library staff member, trustee, Friend, or a community supporter who wants quality library service and healthy communities, we invite you to work the “Turning the Page” course into your schedule.

The PLA online course is available for free in a facilitated manner three times:

  • Week of October 31- Week of December 12, 2011
  • Week of March 19- Week of April 23, 2012
  • Week of June 25-Week of August 6, 2012

In addition to the facilited series, a self-paced series is available at any time to members of the American Library Association (ALA) at:

Note: The PLA estimates participants will want to spend about 3 hours per week on the course over the 6 week period. The Department of Libraries hopes to see at least one person from every Vermont public library complete this course.


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