Empowering Librarians: Youth Council Caucus

“What do you say to a Librarian that might not feel empowered to advocate for library services to their legislators or local community?” Rhonda Puntney Gould, ALSC Division Councilor who led the Youth Council Caucus meeting asked this difficult question this morning.

We’ll get to a few of the suggestions at the end of this post.

Youth Council Caucus is made up of ALA Councilors who are also members of one of ALA’s youth divisions; AASL, ALSC, and YALSA. To be a member of the YCC, you need to be on ALA Council and a Youth Division member. To attend a meeting, being an ALA member is all that is needed. Because issues involving youth often overlap divisions, it makes sense that there is a forum to come together for these discussions.

Topics addressed during the meeting included:

Youth Division Updates

YALSA: Nick Buron, YALSA ALA Councilor shared that the division is exploring more ways to connect with members not able to attend conference in person while keeping in mind to still be supportive of the association of ALA. He also made note of the November 2012 Young Adult Literature Symposium in St. Louis.

ALSC: Rhonda noted that the 2012 ALSC National Institute will be held in September in Indianapolis.

AASL: Sara Kelly Johns, AASL ALA Councilor shared that the 2012 Fall Forum will be held in October in Greenville, SC with Henry Jenkins as the keynote.

There was also some discussion around the Whitehouse.gov School Library petition and some of the difficulties people have had in setting up an account to be able to vote. ALA has released a press release regarding the petition. A wiki has been set up for resources on petitioning the government including a lesson plan to be used with students.

Sara also noted that the SKILLS Act has been introduced in both the House and Senate.

Sara advised to keep the accreditation issue with AASL/ALA and NCATE on our radars as it’s likely to come up again during ALA Annual in June.

Lastly, in regards to updates on AASL, an attendee reminded us that ALA President Molly Raphael has developed a 2011-2012 Special Presidential Task Force on School Libraries.

Note: During ALA Council after the YCC meeting, Council passed a resolution to add a non-voting representative from the AASL Educators of School Librarians Section to the Committee on Education.

State Youth-related News Shared by Attendees:

New York:A newly created Senate Select Committee on Libraries was formed.

Tennessee: Rules on Teacher Evaluations is creating frustration.

Alaska: Alaska Association of School Librarians working on getting the Public School Library Collection Development grant funded.

Arizona: Books removed from classes in Tuscon schools after Mexican-American studies classes were suspended.

Wisconsin: Wisconsin legislators have been contacted regarding absence of libraries mentioned in the Lead to Read Task Force report.

So, what do you say to a Librarian that might not feel empowered to advocate? That we are early learning specialists and have expertise in selecting literature and using digital media that many legislators and community members do not have. While it might be easier said than done, it’s important to keep up our advocacy efforts. Another issue we might want to keep on our radars is eBook Lending where ALA announced at this conference they will be meeting with publishers at the end of this month to discuss issues around policies regarding this medium.

Feel free to share what is going on in your state in regards to youth related news as well as any suggestions for resolutions around youth-related issues you think the YCC should consider taking on. Discussion can also be found on ALA Connect and is open to members to join.

About Kelly Czarnecki

Kelly Czarnecki is a Teen Librarian at ImaginOn with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. She is a member of the YALSA blog advisory board.
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