photo of lightningThere is a really important event coming up, and we’re looking for help from every librarian who works with teens. We know teens are too young to vote, so we need to speak up for them and with them, to our federal and state legislators. All it takes is a few minutes of your time – if we all speak loudly with one voice, the message will be heard!

National Library Legislative Day is coming up May 13 and 14. We hope YALSA members will turn out to support the event and talk to officials about the importance of libraries to our teenagers. It may seem intimidating or scary to attend an event like this, but be assured that our officials (or, in many cases, their aides) are very happy to see you and hear what you have to say. It’s very impressive to them to actually see us in their offices talking about issues that are important to us and to our teens.

If you aren’t able to go to Washington in May, there are many ways you can participate from wherever you are. Here are a few ideas of how you can help:

  • ALA has created a Virtual Library Legislative Day web page that includes publicity tips and ideas of what to do. Later this month it will be stocked with key messages, so you will know exactly what to say. You can call, write, email or fax your officials using these messages. Your teens can too!
  • The YALSA wiki has great information to help you, including a “find your legislator” locator, talking points, and a legislative advocacy guide.

The most important thing you can do to help is to do something! Writing a quick email to your legislator will take about five minutes and will send a powerful message that libraries are vital to teenagers. Let’s flood their email boxes with stories of how important library funding is to the next generation of taxpayers!

~Maureen Ambrosino, YALSA Legislation Committee
(thanks to Flickr user phatman for use of the photo!)

About Maureen Ambrosino

I was the chair of YALSA Legislation for 2008-2009, and was given the title of "raging library activist" by School Library Journal for my January 08 article on advocacy. When I'm not emailing legislators and rallying other librarians to email theirs, I am the Youth Services Consultant at Central Massachusetts Regional Library System in Shrewsbury, MA.

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