If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu – National Library Legislative Day 2018

I became a certified school librarian in 2006.  I spent my early years teaching in school libraries learning the job, honing my craft, attending professional development and reading copious amounts of children’s and young adult literature. The ongoing pursuit of these efforts was to improve my instructional practice, to get better and to grow as a librarian.

I spent countless hours reviewing journal articles about literacy, reading comprehension and instructional strategies. I read online posts from other librarians, reading teachers and classroom teachers. I studied best practices around research and inquiry. I pored over information literacy standards, reading standards and technology standards. I lurked on Twitter and compiled lists of relevant educational and library hashtags. I began posting some of my own educational content. I began teaching professional development coursework and presenting to my peers in-district and at conferences.

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National Library Legislative Day 2018

Colleagues-

Last week, Beth Yoke and I traveled to Washington DC to participate in National Library Legislative Day – a twoday advocacy event that brings hundreds of librarians, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their members of Congress and to rally support for library issues and policies. This year, the ALA Washington Office asked NLLD attendees to focus conversations with their Congressional representatives and their staffs on three key issues:

  1. Reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act
  2. Full funding for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL),for FY 2019
  3. Inviting representatives and their staff to visit their local libraries to see broadband access in action.

On Monday, after a full day of advocacy training, Beth and I attended a reception on Capitol Hill. Among the speakers were four teens who had been selected as the 2017 North Carolina Library Association Student Ambassadors. The teens spoke powerfully about how libraries have impacted their lives:

Libraries have personally impacted me in so many ways, including the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and gain service and leadership skills. Alizdair Sebastien Ray

 

The library is a place where you can forget about reality and be present in the moment, where you can meet new people and develop new interests through the diverse programs it offers. Angelina Bayrak

 

It’s the perfect place to contemplate how we should handle our situations. Christina Haley Williams

One of the teens, Sam Kostiuk, created a video to share his experiences with libraries. Click here to view it.

In addition to attending ALA events, on Tuesday and Wednesday Beth and I met with representatives from the Department of Education (with AASL & ALSC), IMLS, the Afterschool Alliance, and the American Youth Policy Forum. Beth also met with the National Center for Cultural Competence.  These meetings were productive and Beth has already begun to follow up on our conversations.

Thanks to all of the YALSA members who participated in NLLD either in person, virtually, or by coordinating events in their communities.  Your advocacy efforts make a difference!

While participating in NLLD is important, we know that for libraries to be successful in our efforts to ensure federal funds and support for libraries, we need sustained, year round advocacy efforts. Read these 10+ ways you can take action and take a deep dive into all of the free advocacy tools and resources YALSA has on the web site.

Make sure to also reach out to your members of Congress during District Days – the time when they are back in their home districts. Invite them to come for a visit to the library and show them how you serve teens. Schedule a meeting with them at their local office to strengthen relations. YALSA has all sorts of free resources and tips to help you with this on the wiki.

Consider involving teens in your advocacy efforts like the NC Library Association did!  Visit the Youth Activism through Community Engagement wiki page for resources to help you and the teens you work with engage with their communities and advocate for issues like funding for libraries.

By stepping up our advocacy efforts we can help make the world a better place for all teens!

-Sandra Hughes-Hassell
YALSA President 2017-2018

Preparing for National Library Legislative Day

I’m getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for National Library Legislative Day on May 7 and 8. And that means more than just watching reruns of Parks and Rec and Veep! It means taking the time to prepare for the conversations we will have with representatives to advocate for libraries. You don’t have to be in Washington in May to advocate for libraries, you can call and email your representatives, too!  Register via the ALA site (it’s free) and they’ll send you free resources so you can easily participate from home. Here are some great tips from a recent NLLD webinar:

Know Your Audience

Create a legislator profile for the person you are contacting. Know their committee assignments, their history on library support and funding and try to find a personal connection if you can (you both have young kids, you both went to University of Pawnee, they are the caretaker of an aging parent). Whether you are talking to your elected official or their staff, this shows that you took the time to prepare and you really care! Continue reading

Countdown to National Library Legislative Day

National Library Legislative Day is one month away. Are you ready for it?

On May 8, library staff and advocates from around the country will descend upon Capitol Hill to speak with our legislators about the impact of libraries on the communities and teens we serve. We are the experts on library services for and with teens and our legislators want to learn from us!

Most of us cannot make it to Washington DC, but do not fret!  You can participate in National Library Legislative Day in a variety of ways. Some members will meet with state and local legislators at state capitols, city halls, county seats, and on our home library turf. Others will engage with legislators through email and social media. You can (and are encouraged to) get teens and other library users involved too.

Successful advocacy happens year-round, but a concerted effort, like that on National Library Legislation Day, amplifies advocate voices. If you’ve never participated in Library advocacy before, National Library Legislation Day is a great time to start. If you are an advocacy-pro, set the example for our less-seasoned advocates. We would also love to hear from you and share your advocacy success stories and tips.

Anyone can participate in National Library Legislative Day, and YALSA has the tools to support you.

Here some quick start steps.

  1. Let ALA know you are participating. Don’t forget that anyone can participate! You do not need to travel to Washington DC.
  2. Check out YALSA’s National Library Legislation Day tools.
  3. Select which way(s) you will engage in advocacy on and around May 8.
  4. Tell your professional and personal networks what you’re up to. Encourage them to join you!
  5. Keep the momentum going! District Days are right around the corner and your local, state, and national legislators want and need to hear from you year-round.

What will I be doing on National Library Legislative Day? I’ll be engaging in advocacy at the most local level. May 8 also happens to be an election day in Ohio and I’m taking the day off of work to campaign at the polls in support of our local public library’s levy issue.

Comment below to let us know how you plan to celebrate and advocate on National Library Legislative Day!

 

Jennifer Korn is the manager of the Pleasant Ridge Branch of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Contact Your Senators & Ask Them to #FundLibraries!

In March ALA asked advocates to contact their Rep in the House to support library funding.  Now, it’s the Senate’s turn!  ALA is circulating one letter in support of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and one for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.  ALA is also maintaining a list of Senators who have signed.  Please take a moment to find out if your Senator has signed, and email their office via this quick form if not.  You can also Tweet or call. Then help spread the word by encouraging others to do the same!   It’s important that this a large, grassroots effort–Congress is only moved to action when they are inundated with calls, emails, Tweets, etc. from voters like you.

For other simple ways you can take action to support libraries and teens, read this earlier blog post.   And follow the action on social media via #FundLibraries.  Thank you!

-Beth Yoke

P.S. Stay up to date on federal funds for libraries via ALA’s District Dispatch blog

Contact Your Rep’s Office by 3/19 to Save Library Funding

We are coming up on the deadline for Congressional Representatives to sign this year’s letters in support of federal library funding.  As you probably know, the White House budget for the coming fiscal year removed all federal funds for libraries, so it’s up to us to tell Congress to put the funds back in.  Right now, one letter is circulating in support of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and one for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

As an update, we currently have 84 signatures on LSTA, and 49 for IAL. Last year, we were able to get over 140 signatures for both letters. We can do it again, but we need your help!

With the deadline coming up – March 19th! – I’d like to ask your help in getting the word out about this campaign. ALA is maintaining a list of Reps who have signed at ala.org/fundlibraries. Please take a moment today to find out if your Rep has signed, and email their office via this quick form if not.   You can also Tweet or call.  And then help us spread the word by encouraging others to do the same!   If they have signed, send them a quick thanks.

-Beth Yoke

P.S. Stay up to date on federal funds for libraries via ALA’s District Dispatch blog

ALSC’s Everyday Advocacy

Recently I made my way up to New York’s Capitol Building in Albany to “storm the castle” if you will with my fellow New York Library advocates. Every year, library workers and supporters travel caravan style from all over the state to share why libraries are important. We are at the ready with stats, numbers, stories, and anything else that can show our local representatives why we are essential to our communities and how we need them to stick up for our budget. Of course this is New York budget and only one day a year. While it is indeed powerful to see a building full of library supporters chanting “We! Love! Libraries!” in matching hats and hearing stories from representatives about how libraries have changed their lives this is only one rally in one state on one day, what can we do the other 364 days of the year?

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#FundLibraries: Advocacy Season is Upon Us & We Need YOU!

The proposed White House budget for FY19 that was released February 12, 2018 calls for eliminating federal funds for libraries and the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. Now it’s up to Congress to decide whether or not they want to change that.  ALA and YALSA need your help to ensure that IMLS and federal funds for libraries are saved, because without libraries teens will not have the resources and support they need to succeed in school and prepare for college, careers, and life.  Here’s what you can do right now:

  1. Send an email or Tweet to your members of Congress.  ALA has ready-to-use messages waiting for you in their Action Center.
  2. Sign up via the ALA site to receive action alerts so you can easily email or call the offices of your Congress members at critical times during the budget process between now and Sept.
  3. Read and subscribe to District Dispatch, the ALA Washington Office’s blog, to stay up to date on the issues.
  4. Encourage your library users to share their stories about what their local library means to them.  ALA will use these with their advocacy efforts.  Direct patrons to this quick and easy form.
  5. Brush up on your advocacy knowledge and skills by checking out the resources on ALA’s shiny, new ala.org/fund-libraries site and YALSA’s web site.
  6. Sign up to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 8, online, at your library, or in Washington DC, and check out YALSA’s NLLD resources.
  7. Connect with your members of Congress when they’re in their home districts to keep them informed about the many ways the library helps community members.  Congress is typically not in session the week of a national holiday, like Presidents’ Day.  Schedule a meeting at their local office, and/or invite them to your library.  YALSA has free resources and tips to make this an easy task!
  8. Join YALSA, or make a donation, because together we’re stronger.  YALSA’s the only national organization that focuses its support and advocacy on teen library services. Dues start at $63 per year.  Your support will build our capacity to advocate for teens and libraries.
  9. Encourage your patrons, advocates groups, friends, family, and colleagues to do the above as well.

Don’t know much about IMLS?  Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state or territory’s libraries and museums.  In FY17 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $156,103,000.  In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for.  In FY17 they awarded competitive grants to libraries and library-supporting institutions totaling more than $27,469,000.  Visit the IMLS site to see how much funding your state receives from them.

Want to take further action to support teens and libraries?  We salute you!  Check out the free online resources we have to make speaking up for teens and libraries easy.

Speaking up for teens & libraries during the federal budgeting process

Each year the federal budgeting process kicks off when the White House releases a draft budget.  This will happen sometime in February, and there’s talk that the FY19 draft budget may be released on February 12, 2018.  If you recall last year, the White House’s draft budget called for the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as well as all of the federally earmarked funds that the nation’s libraries depend on to provide critical services to their community.    However, a grassroots advocacy effort led Congress to keep funding for IMLS and libraries for FY18.

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Year-End Activities for Library Staff

Recently there was a discussion on the listserv for the Association of Rural and Small Libraries about what activities are good to undertake at the end of the year.  It seemed like a good topic for the YALSAblog, too, so I’ve adapted my answers to make them more focused on serving youth:

Reflecting on this year

  • Send thank you notes to volunteers, supporters, and anyone who gave a helping hand or moral support.
  • Do a post-mortem of your overall efforts to serve teens in 2017. What was successful? What failed and why?  What will you do differently next year?  For more about taking the time to reflect, read this article, Time to Reflect: why does it matter in the workplace?
  • Conduct a review library policies and procedures to see if they need updating. Some useful information is on the ALA site and YALSA’s wiki.
  • Conduct a review the teen pages on your school or library’s web site and social media sites to see what needs updating or improving. Check out ASCLA’s web accessibility resources.  Review content and style for inclusive language, professional content versus personal beliefs, and potential sexist, discriminatory, or similarly insensitive language or images.  Ensure graphics do not show people in stereotypical roles.

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