Today, if you are an ALA member, you received an email from Kristin Murphy about how our legislative bodies are adjourning for district work periods and how they are holding town hall meetings to find out what is important to their constituents. What better time for libraries and librarians to get out there and make their cases known!

Go to these meetings, bring with you your teen groups, your parents, your volunteers.’  Have them make signs or bring pictures showing how much libraries mean to them.’  Let them talk about how much the library in their community is helping them and how the budget cuts are hurting them.’  The voices of the people in numbers are the most powerful things a legislator can hear.

If you can’t go to them, get them to come to you! Here are some program suggestions:

  • Invite your politician to be involved in a teen book discussion group or be the mediator for an orchestrated debate.
  • Have a meet your local representative day for teens
  • Create Your Own Facebook/Myspace Page: Have teens host a workshop teaching others, including and most importantly, your legislative guests, how to set-up and operate one of these social networking sites.
  • Getting Started on Twitter.’  Teens can help your political guests learn what Twitter is, see an active/live demonstration of the tecnhnology and assist them in setting up their own accounts and using them right there at the session.
  • Booktalking, Your Senator, and You!: Host a booktalking competition with an IFlip camera and show and encourage both teens and your visitors to book talk their favorite books on camera.’  Then show how these videos (with permission) can be uploaded to a website.
  • Host a Gaming Party and feature a competition amongst elected officials versus teens. This could be video games or board games
  • Breakfast and Books with your local representative.’  Have teens and your elected leaders make breakfast and discuss books together.
  • These are just some ideas to get your local elected officials to see what libraries are doing and how much they are needed.’  If you have some ideas, please suggest them through the comments! If we don’t start beeping our horns, we are going to keep getting cut off.’  Let your officials know you exist by getting your community involved! This district session is a wonderful opportunity to let them know that We Love Our Libraries!!!!

    About Krista McKenzie

    I am a Children's Specialist at the Ruth Enlow Library in Garrett County, Maryland. I work with kids from the ages of 0 to 18 and am also a reference librarian. In addition, I am member of the YALSA Legislative Committee, and the Children's Services Division of the Maryland Library Association.

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