Young activists and the public library
For Immediate Release
American Library Association
CHICAGO — Assisted by social media and other digital tools, today’s children and teens are energetic and active participants in a host of social causes, from climate change and gun control to voting rights and racial equity. Public libraries can facilitate their activism by providing trustworthy information and creating opportunities for young people to develop leadership and participation skills. In her new book “Young Activists and the Public Library: Facilitating Democracy,” published by ALA Editions, Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) past president Virginia A. Walter demonstrates how libraries can foster greater civic literacy and civic engagement in young patrons. Using a research-based approach that incorporates case studies and interviews with young people and librarians, she:
- offers a solid rationale for why libraries should get involved, discussing the ways in which youth activism can be supported by core values of librarianship;
- provides an overview of key areas of activism, such as environmental awareness, school safety, and immigration rights;
- highlights teen advisory boards and community service opportunities that provide outlets for teen leadership, also suggesting ways to extend these activities to younger children;
- includes real-world examples of programs and initiatives that can be adapted for a variety of institutions; and
- shares an extensive list of additional resources, spotlighting informative and inspirational books to share with young patrons that are also ideal for book talks and storytimes.
Walter has retired from her work as a full-time tenured professor at the UCLA Department of Information Studies. However, she continues to teach classes and advise students at UCLA and is an active library consultant and trainer, who has been invited to speak at many domestic and international venues. She is the author of many journal articles, nine monographs, and two books for young people. She has an MLS from UC Berkeley and a PhD in public administration from the University of Southern California.
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