I found the WLMA leaders incredibly inspiring and courageous, especially those who went outside their comfort zones and discovered new talents and skills.
School librarians in the Evergreen State, like their counterparts across the United States, have faced and continue to face challenge including shrinking budgets, inaccurate perceptions of their profession and shifting education priorities.
WLMA took up the mantle of the Spokane Moms, those high-energy women who descended on Olympia in 2008 and wrestled a stop-gap appropriation to help schools keep librarians.
WLMA then worked to transform the teacher-librarian profession in Washington State and teacher-librarians’ approach to communicating their importance to student success.
Rebecca Miller, then School Library Journal managing editor, spotted this story in January at ALA’s mid-winter conference. (She’s now editorial director for both SLJ and Library Journal.)
I had thousands of words of notes from interviewing many people and wrestling the behemoth that my story had become was a tall order. Rebecca with LJ’s features editor News & Features Editor Meredith Schwartz and freelance editor/writer Sarah Bayliss made me look very good.
Since early June, I’ve been working full-time for a library system in the Pacific Northwest. Since there’s only so many hours in the day, I have limited time for freelance. That means this story will be my last big freelance project for a while.
Writing the WLMA story was a little bittersweet but also extremely motivating for me as a library professional.
WLMA's leaders and their supporters make great suggestions that can be applied by librarians anywhere to create their own DIY advocacy movement. WLMA leaders’ message of adaption and growth (both as individuals and as a profession) resonates with me.