Right now is your opportunity to advocate for federal library funding (#saveIMLS) and speak up for teens! These “District Days” [the weeks when Congresspersons are home in their districts] are a unique opportunity to use summer programs and back to school efforts as a way for local representatives to see firsthand how libraries prepare teens for college, careers, and life.
What can you do over the next five weeks?
- Invite your local representative to your library and show them how you are serving teens. Adapt this sample invitation (.docx) from YALSA. Make sure to incorporate teen voices in the visit.
- Schedule a meeting with your representative and/or their staff in their local office. This is a great alternative for you, if you don’t work in a library (like me), if your summer programs have already wound down, or if your school library isn’t open yet. You can read on the YALSAblog about YALSA Executive Director Beth Yoke’s meeting with her representative and get tips for your own meeting. You can get additional ideas for preparing for your own meeting with your representative by also exploring the resources on the District Days page on YALSA’s wiki.
- Write a letter to the editor for your local newspaper urging your members of Congress to support library funding. Even better, encourage teens to write letters or op-ed pieces about their experiences with libraries.
- Invite friends to sign up for alerts and join the fight.
While we have made progress in the fight to save federal funding for libraries, the fight is far from over. As teen advocates we must continue to engage with our elected officials and remind them why federal funding is important to libraries and the teens they serve.
Make sure to share your District Days successes and challenges on Twitter with the #act4teens hashtag. Together, we can show Congress the power of libraries to create bright futures for all teens!
Sandra Hughes-Hassell, YALSA President