On November 12, YALSA held a free webinar for members on the topic of Teen Services Amplified with Everyday Advocacy.' I facilitated this webinar, which drew over 40 engaged YALSA members in real time, and many more who have listened to the archived version. Because the topic of advocacy is such a big one, I wanted to focus on the ways any of us can use easily available resources, like YALSA's Advocacy Toolkit, to amplify our message that library services are important to teens and to communities.

After some quick definitions--talking about how marketing, advocacy, and lobbying differ, for example--we got into the heart of the matter by sharing examples of ways we can advocate on a daily basis. We started by talking about WHO we advocate with: administrators, co-workers, parents, community members. Attendees gave examples of times they had been able to show their bosses or co-workers how library programs and services were valuable to the teens in their communities.

We also talked about the HOW of advocacy:

  • focus on the value of programs and services
  • keep it simple
  • talk about needs, not just desires
  • stay positive
  • tell stories
  • listen, and find out what your audience cares about

Finally, I shared some of YALSA's great resources for advocacy, and encouraged members to take advantage of the advice, talking points, hints, and tools that YALSA has developed over the years. There's no need to re-invent the wheel when it comes to advocacy!

The archived version of the webinar is free to YALSA members, available on the YeLL (YALSA e-Learning Library) page.

Sarah Flowers

About Sarah Flowers

Sarah Flowers is a YALSA Past President and former Deputy County Librarian for the Santa Clara County (CA) Library. Currently she does writing and speaking on topics related to teen services and teaches online courses for California's Infopeople Project.

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