We’re only ten days in to the 28 Days of Advocacy and already you’ve read many inspiring posts on how to be an advocate for libraries and teen services.’ I hope that many readers have emailed, phoned, or written an elected representative to seek support for libraries.’ However, I know that it can be intimidating to do those things.’ Fear not!’ There are other ways to be an advocate and you might already be doing them.’ I’m talking about everyday advocacy.’ What can you do in your daily life to promote and seek support for teens and libraries? In a word, TALK. Continue reading
First, and I believe most importantly, a grass roots campaign for each state district/region is critical for state advocacy. What do our state legislators care about? Their constituents! Know what is going on in your own community and state districts then establish a coalition of important stakeholders (collaborative partnerships) to discuss issues and plan strategies for promoting library goals in your area.
Who are some of the important stakeholders? The list includes: public librarians, school librarians, academic librarians, professors who teach in library programs, museums who have library partnerships, and your state ALA affiliate as well as other professional associations such as a local education or parent associations. Your state ALS affilate can help to provide resources, training, and organize a collaborative joint effort for your entire library district. If your area does not currently have a collaborative, grass roots movement going on at this time, please take action now to begin this process because the economy shows no sign of getting better, and a group of “squeaky wheels” will get more attention than one lone voice. Continue reading
Does your organization have a teen services vision? If so, great! If not, it may be time to think about one.
A teen services vision can have a variety of applications including defining partnerships with community agencies and also solidifying teen services within your organization.’ If you have a teen services vision, drafted and agreed upon by teen services staff, you have a statement
- Act as a guide for teen services priority and decision-making.
- Act as a clear indicator that teen services staff speak with one voice and has a vision beyond the immediate work of teen services. Continue reading
There are so many ways for library advocates to make their voices heard these days– emailing their representatives, sending action alerts via text message, blogging to raise awareness within communities, calling a senator’s office–that writing a letter seems like an antiquated form of communication by comparison.’ However, it’s still one of the most effective ways to get your message across to representatives at all levels of government.
As we go out in our communities, it is often that we hear the old adage that change begins with a single person, which for our purposes is true- but wouldn’t be more conducive to our efforts to have more partners to help influence and impact our issues and agendas?
In our organizations, we all tend to lose sight of the fact that, although we seem to be fighting alone, that we aren’t- that the issues and problems that we face as individuals are the same across the board.’ Many organizations in our communities and across the United States are advocating for the same principles, for the same values, the same beliefs.’ We are all’ advocating for the benefit of our communities, our children.
Getting teens involved in advocacy efforts can be a great way to not only gain support for the library and teen services, but also support teen development. Teens acting as advocates fits perfectly with the 40 developmental assets as defined by the Search Institute. For example:
- Teens will feel empowered if they have a chance to help make change and garner support for their own library services. Imagine a group of teens getting together and developing a campaign for getting the word out to the community about why they need library services. Imagine how empowered they will feel by having their ideas discussed by movers and shakers where they live.’ Continue reading
Good Morning, YALSA!
I am pleased to be part of YALSA’s “28 Days of Advocacy” project.’ I want to congratulate the YALSA leadership for this initiative.
The YALSA initiative fits right in with my passion for libraries and for library advocacy.’ In fact, my presidential initiative for next year is member-driven, frontline advocacy.’ And, by that I mean — it is everybody’s business to advocate for libraries. Continue reading
To advocate: “speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.” Advocacy is an active process that takes place on multiple levels and for different audiences. Many of us are looking for what we can do to build support for our library services, programs, and patrons. Advocacy is relative to different levels of “community:”
- The national community: When we advocate on a national level, we “speak out” to support legislation that provides funding for our state library systems, education bills such as the SKILLs Act, or appeal for funding for professional research/grants such as provided by IMLS. We “urge” federal politicians to create and support pro library legislation face to face or with phone calls and emails.
For many librarians, one of the biggest obstacles to getting out there and advocating for their teens is simply not knowing what to say. You wouldn’t go out to build a house without tools, right? Right. Well, you wouldn’t go out to advocate for your teens without tools either. YALSA is here to help! There are a multitude of “toolkits” available online that will get you started and equip you with the facts and statistics that will make a great impression.
“Add It Up: Libraries Make the Difference in Youth Development and Education” was just released before Midwinter. This site is packed with talking points for services to patrons from birth to 18. The teen section has two separate entries, one for public libraries and one school libraries. Use these talking points, combined with stories from your own library, when communicating with elected officials to make a strong and vivid case. Continue reading
Welcome to the first post in a series that YALSA is sponsoring this month on the topic of advocacy. Throughout February, members of YALSA’s Advocacy Task Force and Legislation Committee (along with the ALA President and President Elect, YALSA Division members, and YALSA Executive Board Members) will post daily on topics related to advocating for teens and for libraries.
Topics on the advocacy schedule for this month include:
- ALA advocacy tools
- Why advocacy is important
- Everyday advocacy in the school library