Using Data to Advocate for Library Budgets & Quality Materials

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Data can be a powerful tool in your library funding advocacy toolkit. In this piece, district librarian Jenny Takeda shares the results of a two-year district-wide collaboration to identify key metrics and approaches for sharing data with principals, walking us through the steps of data collection, preparation, and presentation.


I would love to set up a meeting to talk about doing even better in my library and budgeting for books.

We all dream of receiving requests like this one from a K-8 principal hoping to initiate a conversation about the school library. I was pleased when our library services team received several invitations from principals to meet with them individually. However, these principals only took this step after we’d made our presence known with presentations to school leaders with library data specific to their schools.

Advocating as district-level personnel for library budgets at the building level to support student needs and interests can make a difference, especially in those districts that do not have established library funding formulas or requirements. While it takes time to work with each person individually, there can be a snowball effect. As individual principals begin to enhance their budgets, this can lead to system-wide change as principals and district leaders frequently interact with and duplicate one another’s work…

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