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.

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By now, you’ve probably seen the Librarians Do Gaga video from the University of Washington that went viral two weeks ago,’  and the Who Ya Gonna Call? video that featured Ghostbusters in the NYPL Reading Room in mid-May. Here’s one that may not be on your radar: “Bleeding Libraries,” a school library advocacy video that examines the plight of the school library when funding is lost and the doors are closed. I asked Laura K. Graff, the visionary behind the video, to share how it came about. Check out the video, then get her take after the jump.

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District Days (August 9-September 12, 2010) is a window of opportunity to get your elected officials who may be home from Washington DC to come to your library and see firsthand how busy, productive, valuable and life-changing the school or public library is.

Although August seems far away, chances are that your late summer/early fall calendar is in final planning stages, if not already complete, and VIPs who are in demand need a long lead time. So how do you get started in contacting elected officials to invite them to your library for a site visit? Some tips on contacting legislators–or any VIPs–to invite them to the library, follow.

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posted on behalf of Robyn Vittek, YALSA Advocacy Task Force

So, our library needs to pass a levy on May 4. When I say needs, I mean must, can’t-fail, vital, OMG! I get so nervous with all the articles in the paper and on the newspaper website. Comments like “No one uses the library anymore anyway. I’m not voting for that!” follow the online articles.

Yet, there are some days that I look around our building, when every computer is full, parents are helping kids get books for that report (due tomorrow!), story time is being announced over the P.A. and I’m watching our TAB kids paint windows and decorate the teen area, and think, “Have those commenters ever set foot in a library? I’d love for them to stop in today and see just how many people ‘no one’ is!”’  Well, now there’s a way we can make that happen! ALA is promoting Library Snapshot Day, which is an initiative to let elected officials, the press, and even Internet trolls know just how many people use your library.
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Reserve your spot today for “Advocating in a Tough Economy: An Advocacy Institute Workshop” during ALA’s 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Advanced registration is economically priced at $50 for the half-day program and will be available until May 14, 2010.

Learn how to better advocate for your library throughout this recession, and get the facts on frontline advocacy, the newest initiative from ALA President Camila Alire. Breakout sessions will focus on maintaining your budget, working with decision-makers, tips for a successful campaign and fundraising, and melding tradition and social networking to create positive messaging.

The program will take place from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 25, at the Grand Hyatt Washington. For more information and to register, please visit, http://www.ala.org/advocacyinstitute.

Advocating in a Tough Economy: An Advocacy Institute Workshop is co-sponsored by the Delaware Library Association, the Maryland Library Association, the Virginia Library Association, and the Washington, D.C. Library Association. It is organized by the Advocacy Training Subcommittee of the ALA Committee on Library Advocacy, in conjunction with the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), the ALA Chapter Relations Office, and the ALA Office of Government Relations.

Remember counting down to the last day of school? I loved class, but that didn’t stop me from counting down after April vacation, the last break before the long summer one.

Although your elected officials work tirelessly for you throughout the year, Congress has a summer recess, too. This recess, which falls from August 9-September 12 in 2010, is commonly referred to as District Days because representatives usually return home to their districts.
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As the Boston Public Library struggles to come up with a 3 million dollar shortfall by June 2010, proposals include cutting hours and closing branches. BPL president Amy Ryan appeared on WBUR Saturday March 13, 2010 for a short interview, which included calls from the public. One caller expressed his worry over the loss of what he called “a babysitting service,” noting that the branch was filled with youth in the after school hours, and wondering where they would all go. While his primary concern that he didn’t want teens out on the street came from a fear that hanging around in the neighborhood would potentially (negatively) affect his business, mine is that kids who don’t have a place to go and something to do are more likely to get into trouble. Ryan addressed this by talking about potential partnerships and trying to be creative with staffing at peak hours. I’m wondering: do strong library services serve to reduce or even prevent youth crime? Luckily, Advocacy Task Force Member Ma’lis Wendt has done some sleuthing.

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What’s ROI? Return on Investment, or, spending a little, and getting a lot back. ROI = bang for your buck!

In tough budget times, libraries look for ways to stretch their dollars, and strive to maintain the level of services patrons expect. Board, card and/or video gaming is an excellent low budget investment, because hardware, software and equipment can be utilized for multiple age groups and styles of play. Read More →