Happy National Library Week and National Library Workers Day!
This week we celebrate contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use.
In two weeks, we celebrate the 38th Annual National Library Legislative Day. National Library Legislative Day is a way to let your voice be heard. Many changes in Congress now contribute to a new political climate in both the House and the Senate. New members need to hear from you and other constituents. The event will take place April 23 and 24 in Washington, D.C. Registration is simple and free at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/register-national-library-legislative-day. Please register by Monday, April 16, 2012. After you register, please contact your state’s National Library Legislative Day (NNLD) coordinator to let them know you are attending. Find your coordinator at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld/coordinators.
Can’t make it to D.C.? Organize a Contact Congress Party in your community!
Invite patrons and library supporters to your library on April 24th to contact their congresspersons’ offices and promote the value of libraries and librarians. Focus the party on one or more of the following communication tools: cell phones, email, postcards and/or Twitter. This could be a drop-in event, where patrons and supporters stop in at any time during the day to make the calls, emails, etc., or you can choose a particular time and have everyone gather at once. Please keep in mind that congressional offices usually close at 5:00 PM, EDT.
For more information on planning a â€œContact Congress Partyâ€ along with many other wonderful resources, may be found on the YALSA National Library Legislative Day Wiki, http://wikis.ala.org/yalsa/index.php/National_Library_Legislative_Day.
Register, stay informed and prepare to advocate for well-stocked, professionally staffed libraries. Save the date and vote for libraries! Thank you for all that you do and for being a frontline advocate for libraries.
YALSA has many resources to help you be an advocate for teens and teen services in your library. Are you aware of what YALSA has that can help you?
YALSA has a legislative committee. That’s us, writing these posts this week, to get you ready for the elections. We’re here to tell you where to find the information that you need so you can speak up for teen services.
YALSA has webinars. YALSA has even had a webinar on advocacy!Check the website for current information and find out what previous webinars YALSA has offered. If it is more than 2 months old, you can check the archives.
YALSA’s Professional Development Tools include many different things. I mention this page because of the extensive list of resources at the bottom of the page. These include white papers on hot topics such as the importance of teen literature. Important links, such as the YALSA advocacy toolkit are also included.
There’s also a link to the Legislative Advocacy Guide. This pdf document gives you steps to take to become aware of the issues and tells you how to get involved. It mentions listservs you can join to be informed about the upcoming topics, tells you how to find out who your representatives are, how to contact them, and gives tips for what to say to them. This is an excellent resource to help get you started.
YALSA’s wiki has a page about Advocating for Teen Services in Libraries.
The wiki has many resources as well, including the â€œSpeaking up for library services to teens: a guide to advocacyâ€ pdf. It is very text heavy, but contains many pointers for becoming an advocate.
The Advocacy Workbook is a true step-by-step, broken down guide on how to be an advocate. It gives advice and work space to develop your messages and keep track of the important issues.
Lastly, there is a pretty hefty ‘ list of links to other websites helpful for advocating for teen services.
As many of you know, it is exactly one week until Mid-Term Elections take place. All across the country, some new political candidates will move to the forefront, some will remain in positions of power, and some will be cast aside. As voters, it is our voices that will create this change.’ Now you may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with young adults and library service?
There’s a new bill that has been introduced in the Mississippi Senate that would affect teens’ use of social networking sites. The text of the proposed law would require owners of social networking sites to:
- obtain written permission from parents or guardians of users under age 16,
- give parents access to profile pages at all times,
- “adopt and implement procedures to utilize independently obtainable information to confirm the accuracy of personal identification information collected from members and the parents or guardians”
So if I want to let my teenager have a MySpace, I would have to agree to let MySpace verify her information, and my own, through a third party? Hmmm …
Interestingly, blogs, photo sharing sites, email, instant messaging, chat rooms, and commerical sites are not included in the bill.
Violation of the proposed law would be a felony, with up to 2 years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine. This bill definitely bears close watching. If any Mississippi librarians are reading the blog, it would be interesting to know how they and the teens in their state are reacting to this legislation.
~Maureen Ambrosino, YALSA Legislation Committee