Youth Activism through Community Engagement is the theme for Sandra Hughes-Hassell's 2017-2018 YALSA Presidential year. The theme reflects a number of the paradigm shifts identified in YALSA’s Future’s Report and promotes teen involvement in their communities, thus building teens’ leadership skills and amplifying their voices. The theme strongly aligns with YALSA’s vision, mission, and impact statements by supporting library staff in working with teens to address the unique challenges they face in their communities and creating opportunities for teens’ personal growth, academic success, and career development. The theme also demonstrates YALSA’s commitment to an asset-based and youth-centered approach to the transformation of libraries and teen services, and will help library staff focus on developing many of the teen outcomes described in the Reimagined Library Services for and with Teens infographic.
But, perhaps most importantly, this theme acknowledges that teens are experts on the issues facing them and their communities because they are living the issues. This is especially true for youth who are experiencing marginalization due to racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, ableism, or other forms of oppression. Teens want to make a difference in their communities but often lack the skills to take action. Library staff have the ability and the responsibility to help teens develop the skills they need to become agents of positive change in their schools and communities. Learn more about Sandra's theme and related activities via this YALSAblog post and check out the Youth Activism through Community Engagement wiki page.
Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell is a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of North Carolina. Her term as YALSA President runs from June 26, 2017 through June 25, 2018. She can be reached at email@example.com or via @Bridge2Lit on Twitter.