Currently, there are many social issues that are happening not only in the United States, but across the globe. In this time, teens may look through school, or outside their school, for ways that they can help those in need during these trying times. One great way for teens to do this is to start a campaign, and one organization that has many fun, interesting campaigns is the Harry Potter Alliance.
The Harry Potter Alliance is a non-profit group that works on campaigns to bring social change and donations to those in need. Their motto is that “The Harry Potter Alliance turns fans into heroes,” and their campaigns allow their participants to live up to this idea. The vision of the group is to make a “creative and collaborative culture that solves the world’s problems.”
There are many different chapters to join or start. There are chapters that are affiliated with schools, communities, libraries, etc. There are chapters all over the world, working together to help those in needs. Being a part of the HPA is a great way to get teens active in their community. Starting a library chapter is a great way for teens to work together to make social changes, and give back to their community. It is also a great way for teens to meet other teens in their community, and is a positive outside school activity.
At my branch, we currently have a HPA chapter that is run by myself and another library staff member. We work on giving back to our community and helping teens be aware of social issues. We do this through campaigns and library programming. For instance, a few months ago, our HPA chapter, The Mecklenburg Marauders donated books to a teen who lost his personal library due to Hurricane Matthew. Our library also participated in the Wizard Rock the Vote during election time. Staff made posters for library customers of all ages to be aware of how to register to vote, where they could vote, and more.
Currently, they have a great, new resource that could be used for a teen program on teaching them about politics because it is in the forefront of our news. The HPA provided the Defense Against the Dark Arts manual, which has a few conversation starters and activities that are geared toward beginners learning about politics. This initiative has some great framework for a program that could help teens learn, and give them ideas about social change and justice. By having a Harry Potter theme, it also makes it more fun and engaging; it is a different way to teach teens from the way they learn in school.
Another new campaign that the HPA has introduced is the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them toolkit. This packet gives “wizard activists” ways to help teens fight against climate change. It gives information about environmental justice and ways teens can help by taking action. It is a great toolkit to use to get teens and the library more active in environmental changes. There are a lot of great ways teens can help with the issue of climate change at the library. Library staff could hold a discussion group for teens, teens could make and display art that embodies climate change ideas, teens could participate in a climate change project that would also help build STEM skills. One action that is highlighted is to educate your community. Along with making art to display, teens could design bookmarks, etc. that share information about climate change and donate them.
One value that the HPA lists is that “[they] believe that the weapon [they] have is love.” This is a great value that libraries can teach teens by giving back to their community and working together. For more ideas read about their success stories. These are a great way to get inspiration on having your library and teens working together to help those in need.
What has your library done to bring social change and teens together?