From the Editor
By now you probably know Everyday Advocacy as a grassroots effort that starts with you and the incredible things you’re already doing for the youth and families you serve. With a dynamic collection of resources empowering you to take action, Everyday Advocacy is meant to be hyperlocal and easy to implement. It’s an exciting initiative that helps you learn, share, and make a difference in your own library community.
What you might not realize is how Everyday Advocacy can be a part of your engagement within the larger ALA community, too.
As a division of the American Library Association (known internally as “Big ALA”), ALSC empowers members to bring a strong youth voice to all library issues, policies, and legislation being discussed by ALA and its divisions, chapters, and round tables. As an Everyday Advocate, you can absolutely be informed, engage with your community, speak out, get inspired, and share your advocacy story at the Big ALA level.
Right now you’ve got two outstanding opportunities to bring a strong youth voice to the larger world of ALA. Read this issue of Everyday Advocacy Matters to find out how you can (1) help an ALA Council working group shape a resolution on gun violence introduced at the 2016 Annual Conference in Orlando; and (2) volunteer to serve on ALA, ALA Council, and ALA Joint Committees for 2017-18 term appointments.
When you engage with Big ALA and speak out on library issues affecting youth (which are all issues), you’re doing more than help direct the work of our professional association. You’re taking a stand for the children, caregivers, students, teachers, and families you serve in your very own library community.
This fall, be as bold, vibrant, and crisp as the changing leaves and cooler breezes coming to your town or city. Take your first step into the world of Big ALA and proudly show our colleagues what Everyday Advocacy means to you.
Jenna Nemec-Loise, Member Content Editor
ALSC Everyday Advocacy Website & Electronic Newsletter
If you’re new to Everyday Advocacy or just want a refresher, you’re in luck! Each issue of Everyday Advocacy Matters helps you dig into the initiative’s five tenets—Be Informed, Engage with Your Community, Speak Out, Get Inspired, and Share Your Advocacy Story—by directing you back to the great content on the Everyday Advocacy website.
This issue invites you to dip your toes into writing elevator speeches with this excerpt from Speak Out section:
Elevator speeches are brief opportunities—maybe one minute or less—to pique the interest of anyone whose ear you’d like to bend about libraries.
When you’ve got great elevator speeches in your toolkit, you’re ready to snap up an advocacy opportunity wherever it presents itself—the library, the coffee shop, the park, the alderman’s office, or quite naturally, the elevator.
The goal of your elevator speeches shouldn’t be to tell listeners everything you want them to know about libraries. Instead, your speeches should answer the questions, “What do you do, and why is it important?”
Ultimately, you want your listeners to say, “Tell me more!” or ask, “How do you do that?”
By using value-based language (VBL), you can create action-oriented elevator speeches that shift the emphasis away from the programs or services you provide and onto the youth and families you impact. What better way to express how what you do makes an everyday difference and changes lives?
Here’s a VBL template for writing awesome elevator speeches:
I help [insert target audience] [insert verb phrase] at the library so that [insert proven/expected positive outcome for target audience].
Example 1 (Storytime): I help parents and caregivers promote kindergarten readiness at the library so their young children can start school ready to learn.
Example 2 (Summer Reading): I help youth and families read, discover, and create at the library so they can become critical thinkers and lifelong learners.
Example 3 (Volunteer Program): I help kids increase their civic engagement at the library so they came become global citizens who vote on the issues that matter to them.
Check out the awesome elevator speech infographic created by the ALSC Public Awareness Committee for more details and great visuals!
Check out these recent ALSC blog posts for the latest from Priority Group I:
Advocacy and Legislation Committee
Africa S. Hands, Co-Chairperson
Kendra Lu Jones, Co-Chairperson
Early Childhood Programs and Services
Brooke E. Newberry, Chairperson
Bruce Stewart Farrar, Co-Chairperson
Laura M. Jenkins, Co-Chairperson
Library Service to Special Population Children and Their Caregivers
Lesley Mason, Chairperson
Christy Estrovitz, Chairperson
School-Age Programs and Services
Robbin Ellis Friedman, Chairperson
We need your strong youth voice on ALA, ALA Council, and ALA Joint Committees!
ALA President-Elect Jim Neal (at left) encourages all ALA members to serve on a variety of committees to gain leadership training, networking opportunities, and experience in working on specific association topics. Everyday Advocates, this has you written all over it!
Serving on “Big ALA” committees can be a transformative experience. Imagine how much you can learn about ALA governance and how working closely with colleagues from other ALA divisions can both shape and bolster your advocacy efforts.
The online committee volunteer form closes on Friday, November 4, 2016. To volunteer, please complete and submit the form electronically (be sure to select "ALA" in the drop-down menu on the main form).
Please review the entire ALA press release about this opportunity at and submit your volunteer form today!
ALA Council is seeing your feedback on the most recent draft of “Gun Violence Affecting Libraries, Library Workers, and Library Patrons,” a highly important resolution that fundamentally impacts the children and families we serve through libraries.
Your questions, comments, and feedback are critical to the further development of this resolution and making sure the youth voice is represented. The ALSC Division Councilor is always happy convey your feedback on issues such as these, but this is a unique opportunity for you and other Everyday Advocates to share that feedback directly.
The deadline for sharing your questions, comments, and/or concerns on this resolution is Friday, October 21. Check out the full resolution draft and make your comments via ALA Connect today. Don’t miss this chance to speak out for the youth and families in your library community!
From May 1-2, 2017, Everyday Advocates from around the country will gather in Washington, DC, to talk libraries and library-related issues with national legislators. Start making plans now to join in on this high-impact, high-energy event that makes a difference for youth and families.
Ask your supervisor, library administrator, or principal about attending National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in 2017. Make your case to be there by stating how federal legislation needs your support through the stories you can tell about your school or public library and the community you serve.
Don't wait! Budgets for 2017 are being prepared and finalized now. Be sure your NLLD attendance gets included! Registration for NLLD 17 opens soon.
Helen Bloch, Oakland Public Library Advocates
Have you ever considered using a storytime bell as an advocacy tool? I hadn’t either until we had a library advocacy booth at a book festival this summer. I was trying very hard to figure out a way to attract people to our booth, one of a great many and one situated in a slightly out-of-the-way location. After rejecting many complicated ideas, I decided that I would just bring the tried and true bell I have used for many, many years at the start and conclusion of my storytimes. A sign on the table of our booth announced, “Ring the Bell if you Love Oakland Public Library!” In order to collect stories from passersby, markers and signs that said “I Love OPL Because” were also provided. It worked like a charm.
Here’s what we did: As people walked by we asked them if they wanted to ring the bell. When they did, we all whooped with joy. We then asked people to fill out a sign explaining why they loved the library and took their photos. People were attracted to the ringing and the whooping and came to see what was going on. More than one person remarked that they had come over because it sounded like such fun. We tweeted the photos, the comments were archived, and the actual paper signs saved. The signs are slated to be made into a very long “library love” banner.
We were able to tell lots of people the story of our library, distribute free bookmarks and buttons publicizing the library, and sell lots of t-shirts advocating for more library services. It was great fun for volunteers and the public, a concrete way to demonstrate that our library was not a place where we went around “shushing” people, and a very effective and inexpensive way to publicize our cause.
Chelsea Paige, Dickinson County (Mich.) Library
Chelsea Paige, Young Adult/Public Relations Specialist, jumped on one of our September Take Action Tuesday challenges. She writes, “Here are some photos of our three displays at the Main branch of the Dickinson County [Mich.] Library for Banned Books Week 2016.”
Thank you for sharing these photos, Chelsea, and showcasing your Everyday Advocacy efforts!
Wait, isn’t Teen Read Week (TRW) a YALSA thing? You bet it is! It’s also a great time to connect with your colleagues serving teens to find out how they’re inspiring young adults to become readers and lifelong library users.
Although Teen Read Week just wrapped up, why not check out a few ideas to adapt in your work with the younger set? (Maybe there’s even a joint programming opportunity in your future.)
Everyday Advocacy is all about getting out there and trying new things, so catch the TRW 16 spirit this month!
Teen Read Week
National Friends of Libraries Week
Picture Book Month
International Games Day