To Whom Do We Advocate?
So you have some great stories about how early literacy and early literacy practices have made an impact in your library community, but with whom do you share these gold nuggets of information? The answer is the stakeholders in your library community, which includes the people who directly benefit from early literacy-based services as well as those who support and serve children, both inside and outside the library.
Children and their parents and caregivers as well as educators and child-care providers either benefit directly from early literacy services or directly affect the children and familes that do. So do extracurricular organizations that provide youth services. These are the groups that the Association for Library Services to Children calls "primary stakeholders," and we've blogged before about advocating for and promoting early literacy when these folks are in the library. There are also ways to reach them outside of the library, including presentations about the importance of early literacy at preschools, daycares, childcare centers, or maintaining a consistent presence at community events these groups attend.
ALSC defines "secondary stakeholders" as folks that also serve children and families but do not directly benefit from library services. These include politicians and policy-makers, government agencies that serve children and families,local businesses and cultural organizations that cater to children and families, library support groups, and philanthropists and other funders. Communicating to these parties about the importance of early literacy to young children and the vital role that the library plays in promoting and developing early literacy will help expand understanding within your greater community. When the time comes that support is needed for policies or funding around early literacy, you will have already laid the groundwork.