The YALSA Advocacy Task Force promotes resources that support librarians to act for teens in their libraries and communities. Each month we focus on one YALSA Advocacy Benchmark and this month’s benchmark is “implementing change working with administration and colleagues”.

Most librarians that serve youth are motivated and inspired by our teens to advocate for positive systemic change. But another motivation that drives me of late is the belief that everyone that works in the library has the capacity to be a good grown-up for teens and they have a significant part to play in serving youth in libraries. This idea is not new, but freshly sparked in my mind by a training session presented by the Search Institute about their research regarding the 40 Developmental Assets for Adolescents. These assets identify what youth need for healthy growth and development into caring and responsible adults. Libraries already support many of these assets and they are perfectly connected to our work with youth.

Implementing internal change involves building trust and inclusion with administration, colleagues, and all library staff.  There are different approaches depending on the culture and organization of your library branch or larger library system. As a front line librarian, I internally advocated daily by reporting out to staff, my branch manager, and my youth services manager by sharing stories, photos, reporting stats, promoting youth events internally, and enlisting their help with projects and programs.

At the same time, our library system’s Youth Services Manager internally advocates for teens by reporting out and working with administrators, management, as well as other internal library departments. She also directs our youth services goals and desired outcomes so that they align locally with our library system’s strategic plan as well as with YALSA’s Core Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth.

Implementing positive change for teens by working with administration and with colleagues is vital to meaningful and sustainable teen services. It is begins with a conversation with the people you work and the professional network and support of YALSA.

Lisa Lechuga is Youth Collections Librarian at the Kitsap Regional Library.


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