It’s time for District Days once again, which are when congressional representatives return home to their districts on recess. The recess this year is from August 1-September 6. This is the time representatives will have office hours at their local offices, attend town hall meetings, and meet with constituents to speak with and listen to them.
As an advocate for libraries and teens, this is an opportunity to show your representatives why libraries are a valuable asset to their constituents and districts. District Days provide you the ability to let your voice as a librarian or library worker be heard before the representatives head back to Washington, D.C.
Need help getting started? Check out the great resources on the District Days wiki and look for posts on the YALSAblog throughout August for information on how to participate by the Legislation Committee. One simple way is to make sure you use this #act4teens hashtag when you promote your District Days activities.
Some things to keep in mind, as you start to prepare for District Days.
- Keep it simple. You don’t have to create an event just for your congressional representative to attend. Invite them to a teen program, such as a summer learning wrap up party or Back to School night.
- Include the event details. Date, time, location, whether or not press will be invited, a description of the event, plus estimated attendance and who will be attending the event.
- Provide information about your library. Key statistics, demographics, etc. but keep it concise.
- Make sure to publicize the event! Send information to local news outlets along with using social media.
- Follow up after the invitation is sent. Call them a week after it’s sent, if you haven’t heard back from them.
- If they can’t make it, then try going to them. Contact their local office to schedule an appointment, while they are at home in their district.
- Send a thank you note. Once the event is over, don’t forget to thank your representative for taking the time to visit your library!
For additional advocacy resources, visit www.ala.org/yalsa/advocacy
Staci Terrell is the Children’s Services Manager at Anderson Public Library in Anderson, Indiana and is the current chair of the YALSA Legislation Committee.