Please take five minutes to make your voice heard! We need you to contact your members of Congress and ask them to fund libraries.
Note: The deadline to sign these appropriations letters is much shorter than in previous years. The letter leaders in Congress need to hear from other Congressional Members by March 10. Your advocacy is needed now.
- Visit the #FundLibraries campaign page to see if your members of Congress have signed on to the effort.
- If not they have not signed, please email your officials and urge them to sign on to the Dear Appropriator Letters in the House and Senate.
If you want to take an additional step, call the office directly as listed here:
- Contact the House of Representatives operator at 202-225-3121 to speak to your Representative
- Ask them to sign the “Grijalva-Young LSTA letter.” They can contact Flavio Bravo at Flavio.firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-225-2435 to sign.
- Ask them to sign the “Johnson-Young-McGovern IAL Letter.” They can contact Nawaid Ladak at Nawaid.email@example.com or 202-225-8885 to sign.
- Contact the Senate operator at 202-224-3121 to speak to both of your Senators offices.
Please share this note with your colleagues, friends, family, and any other library lovers in your life and ask them to make these requests. We need Congress to hear us, loud and clear.
Direct any questions to Kevin Maher in the ALA Public Policy & Advocacy office, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The question of “Where will YALSA need to focus over the next five years so that it may best support its membership and, just as importantly, the youth they serve?” cannot be quickly determined. During the past several months, your YALSA board rebooted discussions regarding the strategic planning path. Board members embarked on a new road, now led by our experienced and seasoned President and our knowledgeable Executive Director.
As a starting point, the board has examined and discussed our current guiding documents (EDI plan, strategic plan, implementation plan, and more), evaluated other existing strategic plans, and delved deeper into conversations on future members’ values, needs, etc. We continue these discussions at ALA Midwinter during Board I scheduled for Saturday, January 25 at 1:00 pm in the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Room 304.
In addition to these discussions, the board will also undertake professional development training to better understand and facilitate the integration of the EDI plan with our future strategic plan (more on this soon). Board meetings are open to all and we invite you to join us and lend your input as we continue the strategic planning process.
Should you have any questions or wish to offer comments via email, please reach out to Todd Krueger, YALSA President, or to me, Amanda Barnhart, YALSA President-Elect.
YALSA members voted in the spring 2019 elections to change the number of directors-at-large from seven to six and to create an Ex-Officio Advocacy position. This position will be held by someone who is not yet a YALSA member, but advocates for teens in their role working for an institution, a non-profit, a for-profit venture, or as a volunteer, among other capacities. Current or former employment in a library is neither required nor is it a disqualification; however, the intent is to encourage a person with a perspective outside the library realm to join the Board. At the 2019 Annual meeting in Washington DC, the Board decided to fill this seat by an application process followed by Board appointment, similar to that of the ALA Liaison and Board Fellow processes.
Some of the rationale in creating this position included:
● The inclusion of an advocate who works beyond the library teen services space can bring a unique perspective and help broaden the organization’s outlook on serving youth
● A more diverse Board can strengthen its capacity by bringing in relevant skills or knowledge from beyond the library community
● By including advocates on the Board, YALSA is modeling the behavior it wants members to adopt at the local level in terms of reaching out into the community to forge partnerships that increase their ability to meet teen needs
This ex-officio Board member will serve a 1-year term, with the potential to renew for a second 1-year term. This person would begin service after the ALA Annual 2020 Conference in Chicago. A focus we are considering for this position is to be a point person for National Library Legislative Day (from 2021 on). No prior library experience or familiarity with libraries or YALSA is required for this position.
If you are interested in applying, or know of an excellent candidate for this position, please contact Letitia Smith in the YALSA office. If you have any questions about what this position may entail, eligibility or other procedural questions, feel free to contact me. While not exactly aligned, a template for service in this role can be found on the YALSA Board Fellow program page.
Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl
America’s libraries are committed to promoting literacy and a love of reading with diverse collections, programs and services for all ages. In an increasingly digital world, libraries are investing more in eBooks and downloadable media, and thousands of people discover and explore new and favorite authors through both digital and print collections.
But now one publisher has decided to limit readers’ access to new eBook titles. Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers will allow libraries to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release.
Libraries and readers alike cannot stay silent!
The American Library Association and libraries across the country are asking you to voice your opposition to Macmillan’s new policy by signing this petition and telling Macmillan CEO John Sargent that access to eBooks should not be delayed or denied. We must have #eBooksForAll!
Visit eBooksForAll.org to sign the petition and share the news widely.
As we continue to consider Teen Growth and Development, the first of the YALSA Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, particularly through the lens of equity, it’s critical that we realize just who the teens are that we serve both today and in the coming years. The below (left) image from the US Department of Health and Human Services website The Changing Face of America’s Adolescents shows that by approximately thirty years from today, there will have been a major race/ethnicity shift. This demographic shift was also outlined in YALSA’s landmark study The Future of Library Services for and with Teens: A Call to Action. As the faces that we serve in school and public libraries change, so must our actions in providing them with appropriate services. (To clarify a couple acronyms on the chart on the left, AIAN = American Indian / Alaskan Native, and HPI = Hawaiian / Pacific Islander.)
These figures are for the United States overall; your own community or service area’s population may be considerably different. But it’s a good starting point to consider the ways American society will change in the coming decades. It’s also interesting to note the chart on the right, below, that the teen population as an overall percentage of the US population is decreasing. This will be important to note when competing for funding and resources. With an aging population, an emphasis on care and assistance for those of an advanced age may eclipse that devoted to younger people. This will require continuing advocacy work for the needs of teens in your communities. Even though the net number of teens is estimated to grow from 42 to 45 million by 2050, the overall percentage will have decreased.
Thanks for your work for and with teens today and in the future!
Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl
YALSA’s new, month-long celebration will be named TeenTober and will take place every October. In June, a naming contest was held for the celebration and teens across the nation voted and selected “TeenTober” as their top choice. The winning name was submitted by Cailey Berkley from Franklin Avenue Library in Des Moines, IA.
TeenTober is a new, nationwide celebration hosted by libraries every October and aims to celebrate teens, promote year-round teen services and the innovative ways teen services helps teens learn new skills, and fuel their passions in and outside the library. TeenTober replaces YALSA’s previous Teen Read Week™ and Teen Tech Week™ celebrations, allowing libraries the flexibility to choose what to celebrate (digital literacy, reading, technology, writing, etc) and the length of time for each celebration.
Library staff are encouraged to utilize this new celebration to advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of year-round teen services in libraries. Digital marketing materials will be available for free download soon.
A special thank you goes out to the Teen Read Week/Teen Tech Week Taskforce members: Kelsey Socha (chair), Tegan Beese, Meaghan Darling, Megan Edwards, Shelley Ann Mastalerz, Jodi Silverman, and Kimberly Vasquez for all their work on helping create this new celebration.
This year’s Presidential theme of Striving for Equity using YALSA’s Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff, has provided a unique opportunity to examine the competencies and talk about some practical applications for both school and public library staff who work with teens. I’m hoping this post will provide you with some research and ideas to help you develop, practice, and transform your work regarding the first competency: Teen Growth and Development. If you haven’t already done so, please watch Linda Braun’s webinar on this topic!
While there are basic benchmarks that relate to teen development it is important to consider cultural differences that are unique to your community in order to best plan programs and evaluate library resources. The following bibliography is in no way a comprehensive list of resources available, rather, it is meant as a starting point to investigate ways you can meet the needs of your teens. Not all resources are library specific, these links are meant to not only provide ideas for immediate use, but also to provoke thought on this important topic. Please comment with any links that you think are relevant to this topic!
This post was written by Marijke Visser, Associate Director and Senior Policy Advocate in the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office
Library staff are community leaders everyday. They lead with humility, making space for and including diverse voices. Libraries are hyper-local, with programs and services that respond to community needs and priorities. Libraries are mission-driven and their value is collectively determined as they serve the entire community. These may not be “big ideas” to library staff, however, as I traveled from the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. to the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, I considered that the core values that library staff adhere to are also held up as essential by leaders across the United States, in addressing national and global social, economic, and political challenges.
At the Festival, themes of empathy, equity and inclusion, innovation, collaboration, social responsibility, and community engagement were woven across plenary and concurrent sessions in tracts as diverse as Hope Made Visible, American Renewal, Economic Progress, Conservatism, Next World Order, and Art of the Story. Throughout the Festival, speakers and attendees were prompted to consider how successful local initiatives can and should inform national and global policies. Attendees, leaders from non-profit organizations, foundations, businesses, government, philanthropy, and associations, like ALA, were also challenged to consider what kind of leader we might each be. This challenge highlighted the fact that all of us have a voice and can play a leadership role where we work and in our communities. A final common theme in the sessions I attended explicitly connected leadership, community engagement, storytelling, and advocacy.
This post was first published on the ALSC Blog on April 23, 2019
Jillian Woychowski is the Library Media Specialist at West Haven High School and a member of the ALA Interdivisional Committee for School and Public Library Cooperation
Kymberlee Powe is the Head of Children’s and Teen Library Services at the West Haven Public Library
I am very lucky as a school librarian to work so well with my public librarians. Our city’s children’s and teen services librarian has held card drives and visits me on a regular basis. We’ve coordinated getting materials for each other and worked together on summer reading. We also share the experience of serving on our state book award committee. I served on the High School Level 2018 Nutmeg Committee and Kym just wrapped serving on the Middle Grades Nutmeg Committee for 2020 (see nutmegaward.org). Being on the committee for a state book is a serious time commitment, requiring reading 75-150 books and monthly meetings to discuss them. For both of us, making sure our students were represented in the eventual nominees was very important.
Kym comes to West Haven High School once a week to hold a book club with students in our Program for Accelerated Credit-recovery in Education (PACE) program. Students in PACE “have had difficulty succeeding in the regular setting. The program offers credit recovery and and intensive support system so that these students can learn the appropriate skills and behaviors needed to be successful in school and beyond. The program takes a unique outside-the-box approach to teaching and learning in order to re-engage students in their own education, with a focus on college and career readiness” (Program of Studies, whhs.whschools.org). Students receive 90 minutes each of Language Arts and Mathematics a day, along with contemporary issues and environmental education to give students an awareness of their own community. Technological literacy rounds out their curriculum.
This March, Kym and I sat down for a conversation with two PACE students to talk about being an urban librarian and the challenges for equity, diversity, and inclusion in potential award-winning literature.
The White House budget proposal for FY2020 has, for a third time, proposed elimination of federal funding for libraries. This year’s “Dear Appropriator” letters have finished in the House. We are now urging Senators to preserve more than $210 million in federal library funding.
One letter asks members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other asks the Committee to fully fund the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. The more signatures we have, the better the chance that the appropriators will protect funding for LSTA and IAL programs.
Senators Jack Reed (RI) and Susan Collins (ME) are leading this year’s LSTA and IAL letters and the deadline is April 5. Want to see if your representative has signed already? Check our appropriations letter tracker. Email your Senators now!