Last month library supporters were called on to contact their Rep in the House. Now it’s the Senate’s turn! Please email, Tweet and/or call the offices of your two U.S. Senators and ask them to sign on to the “dear appropriator” letters for two critical pieces of library funding: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Please share this widely and encourage your colleagues, coworkers, friends and family to contact the offices of their Senators as well. This is an extremely tough budget year, and without huge grassroots support (i.e. thousands of voters contacting Congress), the nation’s libraries will lose this critical funding. The deadline to sign the letter is May 19.
- Go here to contact your Senators’ offices: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home –ready to use messages are waiting for you!
- Check up on your Senators after you contact them. Use ALA’s easy tracking tool to find out if your Senators signed the letters. Then thank them if they did, or contact them again if they haven’t yet done so.
- To learn more about the issue, read this ALA blog post.
Thank you for all that you do to support teens and libraries and don’t forget we have everything you need to be a part of National Library Legislative Day, May 2, on the wiki as well as 10 other ways you can take action right now to support libraries!
P.S. If you’ve been trying by phone to reach your Senator and the lines are busy, try Resistbot instead
April 3rd was the deadline for Representatives in the House to sign on to ALA’s “dear appropriator” letters for two funding streams for libraries: the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). In all, 146 Members of the House signed on to support IAL, and 144 Members signed on to back LSTA. Last year, just 124 members supported IAL, and only 88 supported LSTA, so the increased support is a good sign. Thank you to everyone who contacted their House Reps! If you haven’t done so already, please shoot them an email or a Tweet to thank them. Check this chart to see if your Rep signed one or both letters. Continue reading
Because the White House’s budget proposes eliminating all federal funds for libraries, YALSA’s Board of Directors has re-opened the travel stipend application in order to send an additional member to Washington DC to advocate for teens and libraries. The stipend, funded by Friends of YALSA, will enable one qualified recipient to receive up to $1,000 to attend ALA’s 2017 National Library Legislative Day, in Washington, DC, May 1-2, 2017. Apply online by April 10, 2017. Applicants will be notified the week of April 17, 2017. The Board is specifically seeking applicants from states other than Pennsylvania and Texas, as those are the two states being represented by other YALSA NLLD travel stipend winners.
P.S. for other ways to stand up for teens and libraries, read this earlier YALSAblog post
In order to continue to raise awareness about the critical role that the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) plays in supporting teens through libraries, we encourage you to consider sending a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. We’ve created a sample letter that you can adapt. As an alternative, you might ask a teen patron or a library supporter to adapt and send the letter. Why are letters to the editor important? The Congressional Management Foundation says that this is an effective strategy for reaching your member of Congress and raising awareness about an issue that’s important to you. Congressional staffers monitor news outlets looking for articles and letters that mention their member of Congress and share the item with them, because the opinions of voters influence a Congress member’s position on an issue. For additional details about why it’s critical to advocate for IMLS, and to find out further ways you can take action, read these blog posts: March 16, and March 20
The White House budget that was released March 16 calls for eliminating 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. ALA and YALSA need your help to ensure that IMLS is 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:
- Sign on to this Thunderclap: Fight for Libraries (deadline is May 1)
- Participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 2. Use the resources on YALSA’s wiki
- Contact the offices of your two U.S. Senators by May 19 and ask them to support library funding
- Meet with your Congress members May 27 – June 4 when they’re back at home because Congress is taking a recess
- Adapt this sample letter to the editor and send it to your local paper
- Use the sample messages in this document to contact the offices of your members of Congress
- Share your photo or story via this form of how support from IMLS has enabled you and your library to help the teens in your community. YALSA will use this information to advocate against the elimination of IMLS
- Sign up via this web page to receive updates on the #SaveIMLS effort
- Join YALSA, or make a donation, because together we’re stronger. YALSA’s the only organization that supports and advocates for teen services. Dues start at $61 per year. Your support will build our capacity to advocate for teens and libraries
- Add this #SaveIMLS Twibbon to your social media graphics & put a similar message in your email signature
- Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do the above as well
- Are you a daughter or son of Donald Trump? Then please ask him to rescind his proposal to eliminate IMLS and all federal funds earmarked for libraries. Many thanks!
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’s libraries and museums. In FY14 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $154,800,000. In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for. In FY14 they awarded 594 grants (from 1,299 applications) totaling more than $54,700,000. 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.
YouthTruth, a national nonprofit, that “harnesses student perceptions to help educators accelerate improvements in their K-12 schools and classrooms,” recently conducted a survey about school culture that answers the question: “How do students feel about the culture of their schools?” YouthTruth surveyed 80,000 students, grades five through 12 from 2013 – 2016; this was an anonymous survey across 24 states in a partnership with public schools. The results of the survey brought four major elements to light, but library staff can also use these results to make their library spaces more culturally positive.
The first alarming fact is that only one in every three students would say their school is culturally positive. Only 30 percent of high school students believe their school is culturally positive, while 37 percent of middle school students believe this. There are many ways the library can make their spaces culturally positive, especially if your library is located in a diverse community. Library staff can provide information, displays, book lists, and programs about cultures. Periodically, my branch offers a program to teen and adult customers called Discover Another Culture. For this, a volunteer from a specific country comes in to share about their culture. In November, the library held a program about Japan; library customers not only learned about Japan, but learned how to make origami too. There are a wealth of possibilities the library can utilize to make their spaces culturally positive to help fill in the gap that some schools are lacking.
The second fact found may not be alarming to too many. It states that students know they are less respectful to adults than adults are to them. From my experience, I would agree with this fact. Local high school teacher, Catherine Baker states:
“[Teens] think we are there to work for them, so it’s our job to be respectful and as helpful as we can possibly be to them. It’s our job to get them to pass, not the other way around.”
A bit over five years ago – October 2010 to be more exact – the YALSAblog began the Tweets of the Week feature. Now, five years later, it’s time to try something new. That means that starting later this month, the YALSAblog will unveil a new monthly feature, News of the Month. This monthly post will curate a few of the top stories that I and current Tweets of the Week blogger, Lisa Castellano, think are interesting. You’ll find links to new and interesting articles on the lives of teens, popular culture, technology, professional learning opportunities, and more in this new monthly post.
We won’t post any new Tweets of the Week this month. But, look for the new feature in just a few weeks.
If you have any questions about the new format, or would like to help us curate the content, feel free to get in touch with me or YALSA’s Blog Manager Crystle Martin.
A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between December 25 and January 30 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
The Illinois School Library Media Association (ISLMA) has issued a statement along with the Illinois Library Association and YALSA commending the students at DuSable High School for staging a successful read-in to protest the lay-off of their school librarian, and calls on Chicago Public Schools to reinstate school libraries in all schools across the city. The Chicago Teachers’ Union issued a recent report indicating that only 32% of CPS high schools have a school librarian on staff. In addition, the report reveals that schools whose student population is a majority African-American are disproportionately impacted by the cuts. To read the full press release from ISLMA.