Issues and advocacy

It's more important than ever for youth librarians to be informed about current issues in the field and to be able to advocate effectively on behalf of libraries with administrators, trustees, legislators, and other stakeholders.

ALSC can help by providing tools and information, and by advocating on the national level through participation in ALA's National Library Legislative Days.



Access to library materials should not be restricted for any reason. Unfortunately, children and teens suffer when policies are put in place that hinder their access to all types of information. Several sections of the ALA Web site pertain to access and intellectual freedom and revolve around The Library Bill of Rights. Sections of importance to children and those who serve them are:

Access to Library Resources and Services for Minors
Access for Children and Young Adults to Nonprint Materials: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (Adopted by ALA Council, 1989/Amended, 2004)
Access to Electronic Information, Services, and Networks 
Access to Library Resources and Services Regardless of Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
ALSC and Equity of Access Presidential Initiative

"Giving Children Access to Print Materials Improves Reading Performance," June 2010
An article from Reading is Fundamental, highlighting the positive outcomes for children who have an abundance of materials from which to choose.

Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA)

In 2008, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act was passed as a way to protect children from the harmful effects of lead. One of the consequences of its passage was concerns raised about library books.

In-depth and up-to-date information from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
ALSC's last CPSIA Update -- 6/1/2009


Cornell University Copyright Information
Current copyright information for all ages.

What Youth Librarians Need to Know about Copyright
Information about copyright issues for children's librarians.

Early literacy

Every Child Ready to Read® @ your library®
A parent education initiative which stresses that early literacy begins with the primary adults in a child's life.

Intellectual freedom

Intellectual freedom is the right of all individuals to read, view, or listen to whatever materials they choose and to speak and write the beliefs and opinions they hold. Intellectual freedom is the basis of democracy and is the core concept upon which libraries are built.

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that these basic policies should guide their services, as outlined in the Library Bill of Rights.

ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom 
Established December 1, 1967, this office is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom. This site includes contact information for OIF staff. Do not hesitate to contact this office; the OIF works for you, as a paying member of ALA and its divisions!  Also of interest in this section is basic information, publications, policies, statements and guidelines which can be found in Intellectual Freedom.  

Introduction to YALSA's Intellectual Freedom Committee
Resources from the committee, available on the YALSA blog. 

Guidelines, policies, and other materials to help librarians and others deal with challenges can be found at:

Challenges to books and other library materials 
Coping with Challenges: Kids and Libraries 
Support for dealing with or reporting challenges to library materials

What You Can Do and How to Organize
Celebrate the freedom to read, seek ways to combat censorship, and join other advocates of intellectual freedom. 

Kids! Know Your Rights (PDF)
A publication created for children and young people, introducing concepts central to intellectual freedom and the library's role in protecting First Amendment Rights.

Expurgation of Library Materials
The expurgation of library materials is a violation of the Library Bill of Rights. Expurgation as defined by this interpretation includes any deletion, excision, alteration, editing, or obliteration of any part(s) of books or other library resources by the library, its agent, or its parent institution (if any). 

Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA)
Contains information for librarians implementing CIPA filtering at their libraries, including a legislative history of CIPA.

Especially for Young People and Their Parents
Online safety rules and suggestions for parents to help their children navigate the Internet safely, as well as privacy issues.

Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
Educational resources for parents and children.

Public awareness

Kids! @ your library
ALSC's 2006-2010 public awareness campaign generated a tool kit filled with resources to help librarians position their library as a valuable and important community center for kids and their families. Although the campaign is no longer active, many of the tool kit resources are still relevant and valuable and can be found here.

Summer reading

Summer reading is an integral part of most public libraries. But what's the importance of these programs? Find out more below.

Dominican University study on the impact of summer reading programs
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a three-year research study (2006-2009) to answer the question: do public library summer reading programs impact student achievement? 

The Importance of Summer Reading: Public Library Summer Reading Programs and Learning
This research paper and bibliography was created by the New York State Library and focuses on the advantages of reading over the summer months, access to books, time spent reading, and use of public libraries during the summer months.


Children are bombarded with choices about where to get their information. Librarians and parents can help them find the best materials by accessing some of the following resources, as well as informing them about the way children access the Internet.   

Technology Statement
ALSC's technology statement affirms its commitment in supporting children and parents in their use of technology.

Web Resources about the Internet & Technology

Navigating the 'Net with Your Kids (PDF) 
An informative PDF brochure for parents (downloadable).

Children and the Internet: Policies that Work
A collaborative electronic publication from ALSC and the Public Library Association


How can we support children and families in our daily work? Below are some great places to begin.

52 Ways to Make a Difference: Public Library Advocacy Throughout the Year is a master list of resources –many of which are for children and youth activities and events

The 2011-2012 Special Presidential Task Force on School Libraries provides data and advocacy content specific to threats to school library instructional programs.

Add It Up 
Research and statistics to help advocates make the case for libraries at every stage of youth development and education.  Talking points have been developed to focus on public libraries or school libraries.

ALA Advocacy Office
Find ways to become more involved in advocating for your library.

The ALSC Blog provides current information on children’s and youth issues as well as content on research and data and advocacy. Don’t miss the blog posting “Child Advocacy: What does ALSC do?”

The Advocacy Clearinghouse offers advocacy fact sheets, library facts, and advocacy content for by type of library.

ALA’s Advocacy University environment includes links to toolkits that include children and youth content as well as an advocacy toolkit for youth services.

ALA Washington Office 
The office provides a wealth of information on current legislative issues, and hosts the annual National Library Legislative Days. ALSC members and all library supporters are encouraged to participate through their state delegation; each year ALSC leaders call on Congressional committees, national partners, and others to help advance ALSC's mission and discuss legislation important to our members, such as Head Start, LSTA, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, and more.
“The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) is a collection of 22 Federal government agencies involved in research and activities related to children and families. The mission of the Forum is to foster coordination and collaboration and to enhance and improve consistency in the collection and reporting of Federal data on children and families. The Forum also aims to improve the reporting and dissemination of information on the status of children and families.

Children and Youth: Data and Statistics provides a global look at data but also includes a number of publications with significant data on investing in children and the need for attention to youth at risk.

Everyday Advocacy
A dynamic collection of resources empowering youth services librarians to take action. Think quick. Think easy-to-implement.  Think, “I can do this!”

Kids Count Data Center offers extensive data with a state-by-state access of general and specific content on children and youth.

Using Data to Improve Outcomes for Children, Youth and Families provides researches with general data on children as well as significant examples (for federal, state and local levels) of measurement and assessment.

Making a New Promise With Our Communities
Dr. R. David Lankes's (Syracuse University, Information School) presentation, “Making a New Promise to Our Communities,” focuses on libraries, advocacy and communities. David’s recent book, The Atlas of New Librarianship, was the winner of the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature.