University of TorontoX: LA101x: Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, evidence, action

Course Code: LA101x
Classes Start: 24 Feb 2014
Course Length: 6 weeks
Estimated effort: 4 to 5 hours / week


Knowledge of librarianship and library services is recommended, but not required.

Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, evidence, action

Library Advocacy Unshushed: Values, evidence, action

Learn how to be a powerful advocate for the values and future of libraries and librarianship. Be informed, strategic, courageous, passionate, and unshushed!

About this Course

How can we strengthen libraries and librarians in the advancement of knowledge, creativity, and literacy in the 21st century? Though libraries have been loved for over 3,600 years, their relevance in the digital age is being questioned, and their economic and social impacts are poorly understood. What is really essential about libraries and librarians, today and tomorrow? How can library members and all who support the mission of 21st-century librarianship raise the profile and support of these timeless values and services, and ensure universal access to the universe of ideas in all our communities? This course is based on what works. We’ll take an inspired, strategic, evidence-based approach to advocacy for the future of strong communities – cities, villages, universities and colleges, research and development centres, businesses, and not-for-profits.


The course will include:

  • Values and transformative impacts of libraries and librarianship.
  • Research on current perceptions of libraries and librarians.
  • Role of relationships in advocacy.
  • Principles of influence and their impact on advocacy.
  • Strategic thinking and planning in advocacy.
  • Effective communication: messages, messengers, and timing.


Ways to take this edX course:

Simply Audit this Course

Audit this course for free and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.


Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement.

Course Staff

  • Wendy Newman

    Wendy Newman

    Wendy Newman: Senior Fellow and Lecturer, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto has contributed in administrative, advocacy, consulting, and educational roles to libraries and the communities they serve, and to library associations in North America and beyond. As a public library director, she has led ground-breaking partnerships that build community capacity and advance economic and social strengths. A passionate advocate for libraries and librarianship in the public policy arena, she served on the National Broadband Task Force, the Blue Ribbon Panel on Smart Communities, and the Board of Directors of MediaSmarts. Her consulting practice has focused on strategic issues in librarianship. She is former president of the Canadian Library Association and a long-time member of the American Library Association. Among many awards for her work as a leader/advocate, Wendy has received the Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship from both the American and Canadian Library Associations, as well as recognition for achievement at the provincial/state and national levels. She received the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal for community service. A graduate of the University of Toronto, Wendy has developed and taught graduate level courses in advocacy and influence for two ALA-accredited programs. She is also the co-author of a forthcoming book on advocacy.
  • Gwen Harris

    Gwen Harris

    Gwen Harris is an instructor, an instructional designer, and an online course developer. She has worked for several years with the Faculty of Information and the iSchool Institute in developing and supporting online courses. Through the Institute she also teaches a popular online course on web search strategies. In addition to design and development of this MOOC, she’ll be assisting in the overall delivery of course. She holds master’s degrees in library and information science and business administration.

  • Carolyn Dineen

    Carolyn Dineen

    Carolyn Dineen is a student in the Master of Information program at the University of Toronto. She has a background in freelance writing and copy editing, and experience in academic and public libraries. She is interested in MOOCs and online learning.


Knowledge of librarianship and library services is recommended, but not required.


Is there a required textbook?

No. There will be readings that are openly available on the Internet.

Do I need work experience in a library?

No, though it’s helpful. It’s more important to understand the needs and aspirations of communities served by libraries.

I’m not a librarian but I care about libraries. Will this course still be valuable?

Yes! Community members are among the most influential advocates.

How is assessment done in this course?

There are no term papers or exams to write. Certificates are issued to those who have done the short quizzes and participated in online discussions in each of the sessions.