I admire those librarians who have a willingness to try something new, but I wanted to tell them:
don’t hesitate to use good ideas. If you don’t ask now, you risk the possibility of worrying about it for sometime. I think it would be better to ask now, explain all the good reasons, and be told no, than to hope for months, doing projects to lead up to its approval, and then be let down after the anticipation.
If your library says no to MySpace, then you can offer to do something less intimidating projects such as start a blog on blogger, which in comparison maybe something the library is willing to do now.
If you want support you can point your library to some of the many Myspace library pages that have over 100 friends. Authors, Teens, College Students, Librarians, and other professionals are on Myspace. If your patrons use it, then why not have a presence there. You could ask the patrons, and use their quotes to convince the administration.
I know change can be scary, but if we do nothing for fear it won’t be accepted, we miss the chance to change things in the future. Talking to your administrators will make them think about how the library needs to change in the future. You would plant a seed for future change, and that could be worth everything.
Lay the groundwork today to have what you want in the future. If you have a well thought out and appropriate reason, then any good administration will help you find a way to meet the needs you observe.
We cannot be silent for our patrons. We may be the only one expressing their interests, especially when we work with teens.
Posted by Jami Schwarzwalder
I think what this boils down to is the importance of YA librarians – librarians working with teens – being advocates for their teen users. Seeds need to be planted. Ideas need to be stated. If we don’t talk about what should be done and present steps for getting there then we won’t ever make any progress. Throw out the ideas and see where they land. Start with mind-sized bites and educate those around you to why you do what you do. It’s a process but progress can be made.
One of the things I’ve had great success with when trying to sell new ideas and gain support for programs and services that challenge traditions, is to connect the ideas to the developmental assets. I found that by saying that by providing this service to teens we are able to help meet specific teen development needs, the ideas have a stronger foundation on which others can grab onto. If you don’t know the developmental assets check them out on the Search Institute’s website.
Also, watch for YALSA’s upcoming work in advocay trainings. Announcements will be forthcoming, I think.