Advocacy – capture killer statistics

Strategy 2: Capture killer statistics

Stating statistics can really get people to take some notice.

Recently, at an international conference in my closing remarks for a keynote speaker, I made the statement that 46% of Australians are illiterate. This certainly sent out a buzz amongst the delegates and during the morning break I had a number of folk asking me where this had come from.  The statistic comes from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Adult Literacy & Life Skills Survey, Summary Results, 2006. This statistic relates to prose literacy, which means 46% cannot read a timetable or a newspaper, or fill out a form.

One group, National Year of Reading 2012, have really leveraged this by putting a different spin on the statistic.  On their flyer (available from their website) they state:

“Can you read this?
Then you’re one of the 54% of Australians who are prose literate.  You’re in the majority – but only just.”

They have used the killer statistic to promote their 2012 event.

Australian has over 7,000 primary schools and under the P21 element of the Australian Government’s Building the Education Revolution, libraries were very popular projects.

(Data from Australian Government Building the Education Revolution Implementation Taskforce Interim Report, 6 August 2010)

What does this graph say about how much schools appreciate having a school library?  Does the school library become the “showcase real estate” of the school?  I wonder how many parents like to see the school library before they enrol their child?  Or how many dignitaries are taken to the school library as part of the school visit?

Based on the Australian Schools Census 2009 and the BER interim report this would mean that 40 to  45 percent of primary schools choose to have either a refurbished or new school library built under the Australian Government’s Building the Education Revolution.

It is also possible for you to capture killer statistics at your school that can make people take notice.

If you are using a booking system for your time or for the school library facilities this information can become very useful.  For example, if your time is booked by a classroom teacher and you multiply this by the number of students in that class, then effectively you are engaging with “x” number of students during their learning experience with you in the library.  Then, work that out for the week and you might even surprise yourself.  Do the same with the number of teachers you might work with during a week and work out the percentage of teachers across the whole school with whom you have collaborated in the development of classroom programs.

I love the quirky statistics that challenge me to think about how I could use the information in a different way.  For example, this one from the Sydney Morning Herald – “The number of fixed phone lines has remained at 10.7 million since June 2000, but the number of mobile connections has increased from eight million to 24.2 million over the same period.”

Now, with this growth of mobile devices I can link this into the need for schools to provide support for our young people to become responsible global digital citizens.  Here is an opportunity to promote what the school library does by way of developing policies for classroom and playground use for mobile devices or the library programs that help students develop positive digital behaviours and awareness of their digital footprint.

So what killer statistics have you been able to unearth?  I would really love to hear about your examples and how you have used these to advocate for your school library.

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What people say …

We have already used a lot of the information from the education webinars, most recently in a meeting with the Head of Teaching & Learning. I can't begin to tell you how useful the webinars and your website have been to date and will be to the future of our work.
Jan Kaye, WA.