Amplified: Speaking Up for Teens and Libraries

Hello YALSA land,

It’s been an exciting year getting to know more of you through the appointments process and I’m thrilled, honored, and to be frank, in a little disbelief that I will begin my term as your President on July 1st. Did you know that the incoming President actually gets a gavel? I can’t wait to cross-purpose it at Teen Advisory Board meetings.

Current President Jack Martin’s theme of Connect, Create, Collaborate has led to exciting partnerships, rich discussions, and forward thinking ideas about what it means to serve teens in the 21st century. I hope to carry some of that amazing momentum forward into my term with a theme which will focus solely on something that I know I’ve struggled with as a librarian, advocacy and activism.

I’ve been lucky enough to schedule some time with a few of YALSA’s advocacy experts (Heather Gruenthal, Jenna Nemec Loise, and Linda W. Braun) via the Google Hangout below to share the story of their respective journeys to becoming successful youth advocates and to inspire us, wherever we may be in our own.

According to the most recent PLDS survey, there was an almost 20% drop in the number of full-time staff dedicated to teen services in public libraries in the past four years. There was also an almost 7% drop in the number of school librarians from 2004-2011. We all know, deep into our cores, that teens need libraries and the holistic range of programs and services that teen librarians provide. A 20% and 7% drop? That’s more than a problem, it’s a call to action. My theme for the year is Amplified: Speaking Up for Teens and Libraries. I encourage each and every one of you to become a savvy advocate and to work with your colleagues, your teens, and your communities to do the same. Speak up. Reach out. Tell your story. We know that teens need libraries, but we need to work together on local, regional, and national levels to make sure that parents, elected officials, community partners, school districts, and administrators do too.

Luckily, YALSA and ALA have a treasure trove of new and forthcoming resources to help us along the road and I’ll be doing my best throughout this coming year to keep the conversation going. Let’s stand our ground.

There are a number of advocacy related activities happening in the next few weeks that others have pointed to, such as the Advocacy corner at ALA and the #yadvocacy video challenge issued last week.

More to come!

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