This monthly feature, sponsored by the Legislative Committee, highlights the advocacy work of passionate individuals on behalf of teens in libraries. From lobbying government to protecting intellectual freedom, library staff support teens in a variety of ways. This month, meet Anna Hartmann who has helped create a teen-centered space and teen-oriented programming where little existed before.

Meet YALSA Advocate of the Month Anna Hartmann who serves as the Teen Services Librarian at the Council Bluffs Public Library in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Since arriving at the library 2 ‘½ years ago, Anna has helped oversee the creation and opening of a dedicated space in the library for teens, Teen Central. Additionally, she offers between 12 and 15 programs per month exclusively for patrons in grades 6 through 12. Anna partners with several local advocacy groups and community organizations in order to get the word out about the services the library offers and the importance of working as a community to support youth of all ages.

“It’s hard for me to get through a week without someone telling me that don’t know how I “do it,” says Anna. She believes a good relationship with teen patrons is crucial for successful young adult services. “They are so creative and funny and interesting. And yes, they can also be frustrating and crazy-making, but who isn’t sometimes?” Anna firmly believes that teens deserve to be treated with the same fairness and respect as every other library patron. She advocates on behalf of her teens to her coworkers and the community every day, stressing the importance of teen-centered events and programming. “I will defend to the ends of the Earth teens’ right to be in the library and use the space in equal manner to any other library patron.”