In February the YALSA blog sponsored the 28 Days of Advocacy series of posts. Every day during that month blog readers had a chance to find out about a particular aspect of library and/or teen advocacy. The full collection of those posts is available in PDF.
Looking through the compilation of posts from the 28 Days project, it's clear that advocacy isn't something that a librarian practices during one day, one week, or one month of a year. It's an ongoing activity that can be integrated into all aspects of library work for, and with, teens.
- Every time you talk with a parent about what you are trying to accomplish with the library collection and why you have a variety of materials in the collection, you are advocating for the importance of the library supporting a wide-range of needs for a wide-range of teens.
- Whenever you market a program or service for teens to your administration, or the community at large, you have an opportunity to advocate for the importance of libraries giving teens the chance to gain developmental assets through the activities you sponsor.
- Any time you talk to members of the community about why teens need to be supported, and about how the library can get teens involved in programming and services, you are advocating for a recognition that teens are an important part of the community and the library is a necessary component for helping teens grow-up successfully.
I would bet that if you start to think about the activities you take part in every day as a part of your job, you'll realize that a lot of what you do, without even thinking about it, is advocating for teens and for library service for them. When you start thinking of yourself as a teen advocate, if you don't already, then you might find it easier to start expanding that role and getting more involved in community activities related to teens.
You might even want to start expanding that role by participating in National Library Legislative Day coming up in early May. You can read more about how to get involved on the ALA web site.