Bridging the Gap Between Us and “Them”

Wendy Newman

By Wendy Newman

Bridging the Gap Between Us and “Them”


The research on the value and impact of great school libraries is on our side, but “they” don’t seem to notice. Discouraging, right? Is it time to give up? Or time to reconsider how we work and how we advocate – time to stop spinning our wheels and get the most out of our effort? If ever an issue needed a knowledgeable, proficient, connected advocate, the future of school libraries is it. And that advocate is you! What’s important – to us, to “them”? (And who are “they” anyway?)

This session is about closing the gap between “us” and “them” by building relationships with all stakeholders to engage them in the body of research and evidence linking strong school library programs with student success.

How do we put our story together and get it on the agenda?

How do we make engagement and advocacy a way of life?


Wendy NewmanWendy Newman is an advocate for the transformative power of librarians and libraries in the communities they serve. She retired recently as Senior Fellow, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, after a long career in library administration. She has an extensive background in public, academic, and special librarianship as well as public policy advocacy on the local, provincial, and national fronts. After years as a volunteer trainer for CLA’s Library Advocacy Now! Program, she developed the first course in advocacy in an ALA-accredited program and adapted it to create the iSchool’s first MOOC, Library Advocacy Unshushed, which has had over 8,200 registrations.

She has written and spoken extensively on the future of libraries. A former President of the Canadian Library Association, Wendy Newman has been honoured with several awards, including the Ontario Public Library Association President’s Award for Exceptional Achievement, CLA’s Outstanding Service to Librarianship Award, and the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship from both CLA and ALA. She also holds a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for community service.