Remember counting down to the last day of school? I loved class, but that didn’t stop me from counting down after April vacation, the last break before the long summer one.

Although your elected officials work tirelessly for you throughout the year, Congress has a summer recess, too. This recess, which falls from August 9-September 12 in 2010, is commonly referred to as District Days because representatives usually return home to their districts.
District Days coincides with the conclusion of public library summer reading programs, and the beginning of each new school year. District Days are an ideal time for librarians serving teens to take advantage of local proximity and incorporate advocacy efforts into your summer lineup.

District Days activities might include:

  • a library open house in a school or public library
  • a member of Congress serving as a judge for a teen contest
  • inviting your senator or representative to join you at school before classes start to prep the library before the school school begins.

All of these events are an opportunity to demonstrate to your representatives the positive impact that libraries have on young people in their district, and a chance to advocate for the needs of your library, and its young adult members.

Resources to help you with the planning process will be archived at the YALSA wiki at http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/District_Days — feel free to add your own ideas in this space!

The Advocacy Task Force and Legislative Committee will be highlighting District Days at the Annual Conference in DC. Don’t forget to save a spot in your conference planner for YALSA’s Membership Meeting on Monday June 28; in lieu of a President’s Program, we’ll be focusing on District Days and sharing tools to prep members for the Day on Hill, which takes place the following day on Tuesday June 29. That might be an ideal time to extend an invitation to visit your library over the summer. The program will  explore ideas for planning your own District Days, learn tips for interacting with officials and hear talking points about teens and libraries to share with officials and stakeholders.

Between now and then, and beyond, more information about District Days will be forthcoming here on the YALSA blog – watch for posts headed “District Days 101″ and tagged “District Days” in coming weeks.

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

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