YALSA is interested in starting a new Interest Group to discuss issues relating Advocacy. We aim to be a forum on exchanging ideas on how to advocate for young adult services (including collections, programs, staff and space) to other library staff, library administration, the local community, elected officials and other VIPs. An Advocacy Interest Group is a natural growth of the Advocacy Task Force established in 2007. Advocacy is an ongoing issue, and not one that can be completed in 3 years.

Members of a YALSA Interest Group can participate completely virtually using tools like ALA Connect. Interest groups can sponsor programs at conferences and submit articles for YALSA publications. To get the new group started, YALSA members need to show their interest by signing a petition. We need 15 signatures in order to submit a Request for Board Action to have the new group approved. If you are interested in participating in this new group send the following information: name, ALA member number, institution, email, address, and phone number to Beth Gallaway at informationgoddess29@gmail.com. Why an Advocacy Interest Group, now? Read on to find out.

YALSA’s mission statement has “advocate” as the first verb, and the mission further states that YALSA “stimulates and promotes the expansion of young adult service among professional associations and agencies at all levels.” YALSA’s strategic plan includes a vision that communities recognize Young Adult Librarians and Secondary School Library Media Specialists as “informational experts on serving teens,” and as “advocates for teens
in the community.” An Advocacy Interest Group can address these goals.

Telling the story of why our work is essential, and making sure elected officials and community VIPs are aware of the work we do with teens, is vital. Advocating for libraries is also been an opportunity to advocate for young adult services, and vice versa: learning to advocate for young adult services is good practice for getting more involved at the legislative level.

About Beth Gallaway

Beth Gallaway was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2006 for her work in advocating for videogames in libraries. She is an independent library trainer/consultant specializing in gaming, technology, and youth services, and is a YALSA certified Serving the Underserved (SUS) trainer.

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