Advocacy and activism is a goal in the association's 2016 - 2018 Strategic Plan. The 2012 PLDS Survey indicated that only 1 in 3 public libraries has a young adult specialist on staff. Recent studies from the NCES indicate that only 79% of secondary schools employ a school librarian. Ongoing advocacy efforts can help ensure that all teens have access to great libraries! Why advocate? Because you are the voice for the teens! Help ensure that 100% of libraries have the staff, budget and resources needed to serve the nation's 42+ million teens. Share your advocacy ideas, successes and challenges with us on Twitter by using the #act4teens hashtag.
What You Can Do
Tools to Get You Started
- YALSA's 2017 Advocacy Toolkit (PDF)
- YALSA's Advocacy Benchmarks by Activity (PDF)
- YALSA's Advocacy Benchmarks by Category (PDF)
- YALSA's Advocacy Benchmarks Infographic (PDF)
- 15 tips for how you can speak up for teens (4 minute video)
If you have 5 minutes or less...
- Spread the word: share this brief video with library supervisors, school principals, elected officials, policy makers and other local VIPs, or link to it from your site. Send them this Fact Sheet from IMLS "How Library Programs Benefit Teens" (.pdf)
- Inform: share this report or its executive summary and infographic (.pdf) with library supervisors, school principals, elected officials, policy makers and other local VIPs, or link to it from your site
- Share: tell YALSA how you & your library help teens via this quick online form.
- Participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day. It's quick and easy!
- Nominate yourself or someone else to be featured as YALSA's Advocate of the month via this online form.
If you have 15 minutes...
- Share news & Information with Policy Makers:
- email or snail mail this Issue Brief: Libraries Help Keep Teens Safe Online (.pdf) as well as this one Issue Brief: Teens Need Libraries (.pdf)
- send them a newspaper clipping about a past library event
- send them an invitation to an upcoming library event
- add them to your newsletter mailing list
- print fill out, and mail a postcard to your members of Congress
If you have an hour...
- Give a presentation to your coworkers or colleagues at a library workshop or conference. YALSA has created a presentation on advocacy that you are welcome to download and use. It's called Dipping Your Toe in the Advocacy Pool.
- Speak up at staff meetings & community events: use free Advocacy Toolkit (.pdf).
- Reach out to Local VIPs to educate them about the great things your library does for teens. Use this free online toolkit to help you.
- Send a resolution in support of libraries to an elected official in your state and ask them to sponsor it in the state legislature. Everything you need is in this MS Word document. Or send this resolution (MS Word) in support of school libraries.
- Engage supporters: print out these postcards and have library advocates fill them out and mail them to your members of Congress
If you have lots of time...
- Start a Teen Friends of the Library Group with free resources from UFL, including this online tip sheet.
- Attend National Library Legislative Day in Washington DC with your state delegation, or brief your state delegation on teen services issues and give them YALSA handouts, including talking points and key legislative issues. In the past teen services issues have not been well represented at Legislative Day simply because not many teen services or secondary school librarians have taken an active role. Request free materials via this online form.
- Attend your state library legislative day (check your state library association's web site for dates and details) and distribute YALSA materials and talking points. Request free materials via this online form.
- Invite your elected officials to your library as part of District Days, or any other time during the year. Adapt this sample invitation letter (.docx) and these press materials (.docx).
- Build your skills: take the free, self-paced online training from PLA, Turning the Page
- ALA's Fund Libraries site
- ALA's National Policy Agenda for Libraries
- Blog posts about advocacy issues and tips on the YALSAblog.
- Fight for Libraries (from ALA)
- Go to Advocacy University, a web space full of free resources from the American Library Association.
- Visit the advocacy page on YALSA's wiki to find and share links to great free resources.
- Watch this free 60 minute YALSA webinar, VIPs: Why You Need them for Advocacy
- Read this Legislative Advocacy Guide (.pdf)
- For school library focused resources, visit AASL's web site.
- National Library Legislative Day Priorities
- 2017 Legislative Day Talking Points (.pdf)
- Tip Sheet (.pdf) for getting teens involved in National Library Legislative Day (from the Harry Potter Alliance)
- Free e-training from the Public Library Association
- ALA is running a public awareness campaign called Libraries Transform
- Press release calling on Chicago Public Schools to reinstate school librarians
- Sample Messages about IMLS (.docx)
- Sample Letter to the Editor about IMLS (.docx)
- IMLS and YALSA (.pdf)
- YALSA videos (search videos for advocacy related topics)
- On-demand webinars (search webinars for advocacy related topics)