Celebrate Success! Advocating for Teens

Last month, YALSA members were asked to complete our annual membership survey.  We asked you mostly the same questions last year, too, because we, like you, want to show continuous improvement and to make data-driven decisions.  One question in the survey listed possible advocacy activities, and we were thrilled by your responses!  The #saveIMLS effort brought out the fantastic advocacy efforts of many in our profession at the national level.  But many of you are advocating for teens in your library and/or library system, too.  Here are some promising statistics that showed improvement from last year:

  • 40% of survey takers worked with coworkers, administration, and stakeholders to overcome barriers to teen services (up from 33%)
  • 64% of survey takers spoke up about teen issues in formal and formal settings (up from 61%)
  • 48% of survey takers implemented positive change in teen services by working with administration and coworkers (up from 46%)

The Advocacy Standing Board Committee (Chair Kate McNair, Derek Ivie, Heather Sparks, Sarah Hill) is hoping to capture some of your successes by hearing your stories–we want to know what you did! In the YALSA enews email, we’ll be asking for specific ideas about how you advocated.  It’s not all about contacting members of Congress–we want to hear about the time you helped your teens overcome a barrier in your library or about the time you advocated for teens to your library director or principal.

We’re trying to overcome barriers to advocate for teens, too.  One of our activities as a Board this year is to “become knowledgeable about Governors’ boards and the process for appointment to them.” How awesome would it be if all governors had at least one teen advocate from library services serving on their committees or boards?

As I researched how I would go about this in my state of Illinois, I realized that the process was as simple as completing an online form. Governor Bruce Rauner has a huge list of Boards, Commissions, Task Forces, and Councils.  I’m a certified English teacher, librarian and administrator and am now a community college librarian in a rural area, so I selected the councils where I thought I could do the most good for the teens in my community.  I volunteered for the following committees: Commission of Children and Youth, Illinois Community College Board, Education Commission of the States, Education Funding Advisory Board, State Board of Education, State Board of Higher Education, P-20 Council, and the Youth Development Council.  It would take a miracle to be appointed to some of those, but I figured it was worth a shot, right? I’ll keep you updated on if I actually am appointed–promise!

Do you have an example to share in the comments about when you spoke up for teens in or outside your library?

And don’t forget about our wiki of great resources about advocacy…..

 

About Sarah Hill

Sarah is the Information Services Librarian at Lake Land College, a rural community college in Illinois. She is happily serving as YALSA Immediate Past President. You can follow her on Twitter at @glibrarian.

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