The fall issue of YALS focuses on advocacy with four articles featuring helpful, hands-on tips for librarians who work with teens. On January 1st, 2013 why not make a resolution to make advocacy something you are active in throughout the year. Why not:
- Make a calendar of advocacy activities that you want to participate in? Write down an advocacy related activity for each week of the year or if that seems like too much to start with, make it one advocacy activity a month.
- Regularly talk with others about what they are doing to advocate for teen library services? You’ll get ideas on what you can do and maybe find out you are already advocating without even realizing it.
- Use social media – Twitter, Facebook, etc. – to help advocate for teen library services? Why not post at least once a week on your social media presence something about why what you do with teens in libraries is important to teens and the community? Use an advocacy hashtag, like #yaadvocacy, to help organize your posts.
- Find ways to become comfortable as a teen library services advocate? I know that it can be hard to stand up and speak out for the value of what you do. Perhaps you need to practice what you want to say to others with colleagues or in front of a mirror. Perhaps you want to get started by advocating as a part of a larger group (ALA’s National Library Legislative Day is a great way to do that). Don’t put it off, figure out what will work for you to gain confidence and skills as a teen library services advocate and do what it takes.
Along with the fall 2012 issue of YALS, YALSA has a host of resources that can help you to succeed in your resolution to advocate for teen library services throughout 2013. These include:
- The YALSAblog includes regular articles that cover the topic of advocacy. Just use the category advocacy when visiting the blog and you’ll find articles on everything from legislative advocacy to teens as library advocates to using community partnerships as an advocacy tool.
- The Advocating for Teen Services wiki is not only a great resource for finding information on advocating for teen services, but also where you can post your own information and ideas.
- Being a Teen Library Services Advocate is a new title from YALSA and Neal-Schuman. Each chapter covers a different aspect of advocacy in teen services and includes information on what advocacy is, the difference between advocacy and marketing, advocating throughout the day, and developing advocacy campaigns.
- National Guidelines and white papers on a variety of teen library topics. These include white papers on the value of teen services, teen library spaces, and the whole library approach to young adult services. Guidelines cover competencies for librarians serving youth and teen space guidelines. These resources give you the background information and details you need to speak up for teen services in the library.
So, what’s holding you back? It’s January 1, 2013. Why not get started advocating throughout the year for teen library services? It’s a key way to make sure that libraries have what teens want and need. If you don’t do it, who will?
Check out the fall issue of YALS for more information on YALSA projects and on the issue’s theme – advocacy. If you are a YALSA member YALS is a perk of your membership dues. If not a member learn how to join, or learn how to subscribe.