We’re only ten days in to the 28 Days of Advocacy and already you’ve read many inspiring posts on how to be an advocate for libraries and teen services.’ I hope that many readers have emailed, phoned, or written an elected representative to seek support for libraries.’ However, I know that it can be intimidating to do those things.’ Fear not!’ There are other ways to be an advocate and you might already be doing them.’ I’m talking about everyday advocacy.’ What can you do in your daily life to promote and seek support for teens and libraries? In a word, TALK.
- Talk to your patrons, teachers, and parents about the work you do.’ Don’t be afraid to pat yourself on the back and state clearly how important the work you do is. Believe me, you are not going to overstate the importance of libraries.
- Do you know who your town’s elected officials are? Do they have library cards and use the library? Greet them when the come in.’ Give them a spontaneous tour of your teen area.’ Show them and tell them about what your library offers the town’s youth.
- Invite your local paper’s photographer to library events so that pictures and articles about what you do can be more widely seen.’ You probably already use your local paper to promote upcoming events, ask the paper to follow up by covering those events!
- Be an advocate among your own staff.’ Is the whole staff on board with idea of equitable services for teens, or are there complaints and rumblings about it? Don’t stand for it! Make sure everyone on staff is respectful and courteous to all library patrons, which includes teens.
These steps might seem simple, but remember that it is not only important to promote the value of libraries to our elected officials, but also to voters. So you might start small, but just start speaking up!