In March 2013, staff members of the Youth Services department at the Kansas City Public Library took a group of teens on a field trip to the Missouri State Capital in Jefferson City.’  This trip was just one of many that have come from a partnership between the Kansas City Public Library and Truman Medical Center (Kansas City, MO).’  Not only are teens able to expand their knowledge of places in the Missouri area, but they are getting an opportunity to see different things that may affect their lives.’  Teens are experiencing a host of activities that are enriching, educational, and fun.’  The impact of these trips is obvious to us as librarians – we are hoping to create lifelong learners.’  To those outside of our profession, we must advocate for teens, libraries, and the magical experiences in between.

Crystal Faris, the Director of Teen Services at the Kansas City Public Library, took the time to answer a few questions about the teen trips and the effect on teen programming at the library.

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Frequently I talk with librarians about advocacy in teen services. We talk about what it means to be an advocate. We talk about how to get started in advocacy efforts. We talk about how to find time to advocate. We talk about a lot more related to speaking up and out about teen services to a variety of audiences including colleagues, community members, and government officials.

I recently realized that for some librarians there is a concern that if they talk with government officials – legislators and such – in order to advocate for teen services, that they might actually be lobbying. And, for some, lobbying is not allowed within their job description. This got me thinking, what is the difference between advocacy and lobbying? Read More →