About 10 days ago I was in Portland, OR co-facilitating a preconference at the Public Library Association (PLA) Conference. The title of the preconference was 360 Degrees of Teen Advocacy and my co-facilitator, Francisca Goldsmith, and I focused a good deal of our discussions with participants on how story plays an important part in successful advocacy efforts for teen library services.
Francisca talked with participants about what advocacy is and what is required in order to be a strong advocate for teens and library services. I talked about how technology such as Google Alerts, Twitter, Poll Anywhere, and Animoto can help in advocacy efforts. The group discussed the difference between advocacy and marketing and Francisca and I told our own teen advocacy stories.
Francisca and I each had several stories to tell, including stories of day-to-day advocacy and stories that highlighted that by regularly speaking up for teens with library administrators, colleagues, and community members, librarians can be successful teen advocates. There were also stories of how a long-term approach to advocacy which, includes working with community agencies and library administrators, can have a positive impact on the level of support available for teens.
Participants were asked to think about their own teen/library stories that they could use to advocate for teens and library services. Everyone at the preconference spent time in the session telling their stories to each other, getting feedback on how to improve their stories in order to be a more successful teen advocate, and revising their stories. The stories participants told varied and provided real-life examples of how a story can be used in advocacy efforts.
What stories do you have? Do you have a story about how you’ve been a successful teen advocate? Do you have a story about library programs and services that can be used in advocacy efforts? Let readers know in the comments.