By CSLF President, Tom Kaun
About ten years ago, at the height of the (then) crisis in California school library staffing, the CSLA Board decided that it might be a good idea to solicit some well-known children’s illustrators to design materials that could be used in the new “Save California School Libraries” campaign. Pat Nelson, of Mrs. Nelson’s Bookstore offered to invite author/illustrators that he knew. One of the first designs given to CSLA was by the amazing Brian Selznik: The image of a young boy carrying a banner with the words “Save California School Libraries” on it. CSLA member Jackie Siminitus, with encouragement from the Board, offered to upload the images to a new online service, CafePress. This allowed CSLA to get a small revenue stream while offering library advocates mugs, note cards, t-shirts and other products that promoted libraries and reading through the Library Advocacy Store.
Soon other illustrators including David Shannon, Gene Yuen, Naomi Howland, Aliki, Nancy Hayashi, Marianne Wallace, and Mary Anne Frazer contributed designs as well. All of them promoted school libraries or books and reading. The best part was that all the designs were donated to CSLA and could be made available in a number of different ways.
When Jackie retired from AT&T, she took classes in graphic design and began putting her own designs on the site as well. Her “Big-Eye Readers” were an instant hit and and a great way to engage middle school students (where she volunteered each morning) while practicing her new Adobe Illustrator design skills.
Recently the California School Library Foundation assumed responsibility for the Library Advocacy Store. Although Jackie no longer maintains the site, it still brings in about $200 annually for the Foundation. The store needs a new manager to promote and revitalize it. In the past few years, social media has blossomed, so promoting the Library Advocacy Store is much easier. Could it be you?
Some have suggested that one of the reasons they don’t sell more items from CafePress is that it’s more expensive than some other sites. Since the designs belong to CSLA/CSLF, they can be moved anyplace. CSLA/CSLF doesn’t need to continue the CafePress relationship since there is no obligation to them. Suggestions for a different digital location are welcome!
CSLA still needs to “Save California School Libraries.” We still need funding for scholarships and professional and para-professional development opportunities for our members. One way we can get the best outcome for all the work Jackie, Pat, and all those artists put into this project is to promote the library advocacy items for sale to the entire world. We know it’s possible. We just need that one special person to step up and help us out. Could it be you?
If you are at all interested, know someone who might be interested, or have suggestions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you. Could it be you?
Check out the Library Advocacy Store at <http://www.cafepress.com/csla>.
Note: If you have additional questions, members are encouraged
to contact Jackie@JackieDesigns.net