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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Support Libraries, Save the IMLS

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Earlier this week, the newest proposed federal budget was introduced and it included massive cuts to many services (see link below for a complete look at the budget in the Washington Post). Included in those potential cuts would be a complete elimination of the IMLS, the Institute of Museums and Library Services. The IMLS provides a variety of grants that provide quality and unique programs that serve local communities. TLTer Heather Booth tweeted at length in support of the IMLS by sharing a variety of projects that are funded by the IMLS. You can read those Storified tweets here: https://storify.com/TLT16/heather-booth-on-saveimls and see the many ways that the IMLS benefits local communities.

Trump budget cuts: U.S. federal funding 2018 – Washington Post

 

The ALA released a statement regarding the proposed elimination, which you can read here.

I spent some time tweeting about libraries, the 40 Developmental Assets and in support of the IMLS as well. You can read those Storified tweets here: https://storify.com/TLT16/support-libraries

Because I work at a library in Ohio, I see library budgets being attacked in several directions. In Ohio, public libraries receive state funding and Governor Kasich is proposing cuts to the state library funding at the state level. This is not the first time that Ohio libraries have been in this position and I am sure it won’t be the last. In 2010, the year after Thing 2 was born, I stood on the steps of the state legislature with The Teen as I shared how I had used library resources, including Inter Library Loan, to help better understand some of the health related problems my newborn baby had. I’m not just a fervent library supporter because I’m a librarian, but because I myself have used the vast resources of libraries at many times in my life to help navigate a crisis, to meet the special needs of my children, to help me cope with the loss of a pregnancy, and more.

In support of libraries, I spent the day today designing a variety of postcards to send to my representatives at all levels to share my love of libraries. If you would like, please feel free to download them and use them as well. Save them as an image and upload to Word, or another graphics program that you may use. Make sure they are 4×6 size to be postcard size; you can print 2 per page. Print on card stock so they can travel through the mail. jTo give them a personal touch, on the left side of your postcard on the back you can share your own stories. On the right, address and provide postcard postage. If you are interested in making your own, I use the postcard templates available in Canva to design mine. Please note, from everything I have heard calling your representatives is best, but I’m calling and sending postcards.

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Serving Full T.I.L.T. : Talking Up Teens

For our final piece in our Serving Full T.I.L.T. (Teens in Libraries Today) series, Eden Grey is talking about advocacy. Next week we’ll here from you.

Why is in-house advocacy important?

We all see advocacy at a national level, in social media blasts by ALA and YALSA, awareness campaigns by School Library Journal, fundraisers by the We Need Diverse Books group. What we don’t see as often are the ground-level, grassroots efforts to increase awareness about Teen Services and the needs of modern teens. Much like the Serving Full T.I.L.T. series, initiatives by a small number of librarians are just as important as national endeavors by organizations with million dollar budgets. The advocacy efforts of individuals in their own library systems and consortiums can have a very important impact on the awareness and support of Teen Services in libraries.

When should you actively be advocating?

Seizing the opportunity whenever it arises sounds good in theory, but isn’t so good in practice. As an advocate for Teen Services, you’ve got to choose your battles wisely. Not every department meeting and program planning session is a good time to talk up your teens and your outreach stats. Instead, here are some specific opportunities for actively talking up your service to teens:

Seize (almost) every opportunity for sharing a warm and fuzzy story. Don’t do it every day, but every few days if you see an opening to share something heartwarming one of your teens said, or a nice outcome from an outreach visit, go ahead and make it into a story. These stories should be shared most often with your supervisor and other administrative officials, but can also be shared with your other co-workers. Your boss will most likely share the stories with others, even with his or her boss, and word about your teens and how you serve them will get around.

Ask to have meetings with your supervisor that are just focused on your services to teens. Make it clear that you want to talk about how you’re doing, what your numbers are like, what’s working and what’s not, etc. Show your supervisor everything you’re doing, and why it’s important. These meetings are all about you – and the focus should stay that way if you make that clear from the outset. If you have a good supervisor, he or she will understand the purpose and meaning of these meetings. If that is not the case, take the meetings to the next level – maybe meet with a department head, branch manager, or even ask to speak to your director if you are not being heard by others. These meetings should happen at least twice a year, but don’t be afraid to ask for more frequent meetings if you feel the need to.

Techniques of In-House Advocacy

Numbers

It is so important to keep track of as many numbers as possible. Number of programs, program attendance, number of students, teachers, and librarians served at outreach, circulation of the YA collection, number of teens who use the board games in your teen area, teen volunteer hours, and the list could go on.

 Just recording the numbers isn’t enough. Put them in spreadsheets or tables and keep track of annual data.

Stories & Anecdotes

Heart-warming stories go a long way toward changing the perception of teens in libraries. If you have a good memory for stories and enjoy telling them in other aspects of your life, you’ll have no problem recording a bunch of anecdotes to tell your boss and coworkers. However, if you’re like me and are extremely awkward and hesitant when it comes to telling stories, here are some tips:

  1. Keep it short. Stick to the point or result of the story.

  2. Include names and other specific information.

  3. Jot down details of the story in your program reports or where you record your attendance or other numbers.

 For example, my regular group of teens has a couple of ringleaders that my coworkers are very familiar with. Nate and Maine are a little bit infamous at my library. However, when a new person shows up at programs, I can count on those boys to welcome them, show them the ropes, and introduce them to everyone. The new kid immediately feels welcome, and like part of the family. Whenever this happens I make sure to tell my boss about it – it shows just how caring, responsible, and kind my teens are. See also: Sharing Stories by Heather Booth.

Reports

If you don’t submit monthly reports to your supervisor, you should seriously consider asking them about it. While it may lead to your coworkers seriously resenting you, it will be worth it in the long run for everyone. Creating monthly reports of your programs and services shows just how much work you’re doing for Teen Services, and allows you to compare your work to previous months and years. Annual reports just aren’t enough when you’re dealing with the wide variety of tasks that Teen Services Librarians do.

 Turn the numbers you record into reports. Compare numbers from previous months and years. Ask how devoting time to one aspect of your job affects the results of other aspects: Has program attendance increased since you started working there? What about since you got into those new schools or classes? Has circulation gone up or down since you implemented those new programs?

 Take the answers to these questions and present them to your supervisor/s. Show them the clear-cut results of your hard work. If you submit a monthly report, include the tables of data and your conclusions. Those reports will be read by your supervisor’s boss, and most likely looked over by the library’s director as well.

 Public Relations

 Taking photos at programs and while teens are volunteering is also a great way to share a quick “anecdote,” and not only with your coworkers, but with the rest of the community as well. Recently my library’s head of PR sent out a reminder that she is always looking for stories. She keeps them in folders in her email, shares them with the library director, and uses them for community and media outreach. Sharing those stories with the media may lead to a local newspaper wanting to spotlight one of your teen programs or teen volunteers. Your library director may share stories from your outreach visits when he or she is at a committee or council meeting in the community. Having photos to go along with the stories means PR can share them on social media or the library’s website.

 Advocacy Takeaways

 Maintain a balance between talking up your teens and your own work, and just working hard. Take the right opportunities to share your work, and if those opportunities don’t arise on their own, ask for meetings with your boss.

 Don’t just record numbers every month; turn those numbers into meaningful data. Make reports tracking everything from program attendance to outreach numbers to board game and video game usage. Share those reports with your library’s administration whenever possible, and use the numbers to back up your own needs and use of time.

 Always be advocating. Seize the opportunity to talk up your teens to a grumpy coworker. Share information about your teen volunteer program to an overworked teacher or school librarian. Chat up people in the community about the library and the things you do for teens. Don’t assume that people know what you do at your job – enlighten them, whether they’re the cashier at the craft store or your weekly game night friends.

For more on advocacy, check out our various posts on advocacy under Professional Development

Serving Full T.I.L.T. (Teens in Libraries Today) series:

January 14 By the Numbers, making the case for teen services using basic demographic information (Karen Jensen)

January 21 Sarcasm, Spice and Everything Awesome: The Developing Teen (Rebecca Denham)

January 28 Teen Brain Science 101 (Heather Booth)

February 4 Asset Building 101, How using the 40 Developmental Assets can help us plan and evaluate teen programming (Karen Jensen)

February 11 Diverse teens, diverse needs (Eden Grey)

February 18 Sharing stories, how knowing and sharing the stories of our teens can help make the case (Heather Booth)

February 25 Empathy, remembering what it means to be a teen and how it makes us better teen services librarians (Karen Jensen)

March 4 A Teen Services 101 Infographic (Karen Jensen)

#becauseofapubliclibrary

The amazing folks at Ferguson Library (I’m a big fan!) recently started the hashtag #becauseofapubliclibrary. It turned out I had a lot of thoughts about what happens because of a public library. Please do hop on Twitter and look at lots of the great responses about what has happened because of a public library. Below I share some of my tweets with you, I also shared a few from YALSA and one from the awesome librarian Stephanie Wilkes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot: Portrait of a Library Today

I worked at the Marion Public Library in Marion, Ohio for 10 years. It was in many ways one of the best work experiences of my life. I loved the library, I loved the people, and I knew that we were doing great things for the community. It was also clear over those years how much libraries were struggling to stay afloat in the midst of financial crisis. In the times when our communities needed us most, we had to look at cutting staff, cutting services, and decreasing the amount of materials we purchased and the types of programs that we offered. But how much it was struggling was made clear to me in this recent article in the Marion Star, Books Rely on Budgets.

Some of the interesting facts presented in this piece including the following:

When I worked at MPL we had a staff of around 80 people, today the staff is 31 people.

When I worked at MPL we had the 1 main library and 4 branches, while I worked there they closed one of the branches. Some of the branches are now only open 1 day a week for very few hours.

When I worked at MPL our operating budget was close to $3 million dollars, in 2013 it received $1.85 million.

When I worked at MPL the book budget was around $450,000, this year’s book budget is $165,000.

The last few years I worked at MPL we went through staff lay offs twice. The first time 12 people we laid off, the second time an additional 5 people were laid off. It was one of the most stressful things I have ever experienced in a work environment. My friend, another 10 year employee, was laid off and it took her 3 years to find another job. In those 3 years she had to move out of her apartment and move in with family. She recently found a full-time job in a library, right as her sister whom she is living with was herself laid off from work.

Marion Public Library is a great library in a struggling community doing important things. They had 20 public computers when I worked there and they were constantly full as people looked for jobs, completed homework, and tried to use the many services that moved to online only.

And that budget is a devastating decrease in book purchasing power. That means that residents of Marion County, around 50,000, will have less access to materials. And in a town where the median income is around $25,000 a year, those resources matter a great deal. We keep telling people to get a good education and find a good job, but the reality is that we don’t support funding the services that communities need to help people make that happen. We don’t support our local schools and library systems, but our communities desperately need them. Our future depends on them.

Karen’s Guide to Working with Your Local Radio Station, adventures in creative marketing

For 7 or 8 years, I got to be on the local radio station every Friday morning. It was a glorious thing for me. So today I’m going to share with you how that relationship came to be and some of my tips for working with your local radio station. I highly recommend that if you have a local radio station, especially a smaller, independent station, that you reach out to them and find ways to work with them to promote your library.

I was really lucky in that our local radio station had great hosts and we developed great working relationships over time.  We developed a rhythm, but they always made sure to have a brief segment where we talked specifically about upcoming library programs.  All the rest we made up as we went along. It was exactly like the morning shows you hear as you drive to work, except I wasn’t as funny. I’m just not good at funny.

 

Here are my radio cohorts: Host Rob Whalen, Intern Paige Dunham and Intern Margaret Emily engaging in a cricket spitting contest. Emily is filming and narrating the video for live broadcast. From the WDCM Facebook page.

If you have a local radio station, make contact with them and offer to do a weekly show with them.  Be open to what they need.  Simply talking about books doesn’t necessarily make great radio.  So I stayed on top of current news and pop culture tidbits, and then when I found and opening I would swoop in and make that library tie in.  Are they talking about J-Lo joining the cast of American Idol?  Mention she is on the cover of this week’s People and you can come to the library and browse the magazine collection.  Are they talking about The Walking Dead?  Be sure and mention all the great zombie titles in your collection.  You have to be quick and stay on your toes. But you also have to remember that every single thing you say doesn’t have to be library related; simply by being there as a representative for the library you are getting the library recognition outside of it’s four walls in a creative way.

Keep in mind that your local radio station also may be available to do a remote broadcast; this is great if you have a big event coming up.  They do sometimes charge a fee to do a remote broadcast, so make sure and get all the details before hand.  A remote broadcast is a great idea for a SRC kick-off party, library anniversary celebration, or author event, just to name a few.  Be sure to meet with your broadcaster beforehand to discuss when they will do breakaways and arrange a variety of people for them to talk to during your event.  If possible, have prize giveaways.

When Working with Your Local Radio Station Keep in Mind: It’s Their Show and You are the Guest

WDCM Marion, Ohio was the radio station I worked with while at The Marion Public Library

They are running the show, so get the 411 beforehand.  There are things that you can not say and huge fines involved.  We all remember what happened with Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl.  You don’t want the on air equivalent of a wardrobe malfunction.  And you don’t want to offend your hosts. You are in their space so please try and respect it. Ask them point blank and establish clear boundaries: what can I not say?

Talk to your administrators to discuss their rules on that end, too.  You want to try and avoid talking politics or anything that will reflect poorly on the library.  You don’t have the same freedom that the radio host does.  It is really easy when it is just you and the radio host sitting in a room talking to forget that the microphone is there and people are listening. Let the radio hosts know ahead of time of specific topics that you aren’t allowed to discuss and make sure that you make your boundaries clear up front.

Make sure you have the personality for it.  If you are not the right fit, then this is not the right marketing vehicle for you.  That’s okay.  The radio station hosts will be able to tell right away if it will work or not.  Trust them, they know what they are doing.

If you can, try and make it a regularly occurring segment on a regular day of the week at a regular time.  If people know when and where to find you, they will tune in. As I mentioned I went every Friday morning like clockwork.

When Working with Your Local Radio Station Keep in Mind: The Ins and Out of a Radio Show are a Delicate Dance, Learn the Steps [Read more…]

Books, privilege, and how libraries are the only way some children will get to read a bedtime story tonight

Libraries are the Beating Heart of Our Communities

You may be aware, but Amazon is currently in some kind of a negotiation war with the publisher Hachette. There are a variety of  houses and authors who publish and are distributed by Hachette. Amazon has cut any price discounting for Hachette titles, they are delaying shipping, and there is no longer any way to pre-order titles that have an advance publication date.

So in the midst of this, last week several people took to Twitter and urged people to buy their books from a brick and mortar store, an Indie store even if possible. A few hashtags sprang up, I think perhaps #BuyHachette. I even Tweeted several times about this, recommending a few titles here and there.

Then yesterday, an article appeared on Book Riot reminding us all that for some people, a bricks and mortar store isn’t a real possibility. It maintained that if you had a bricks and mortar store in your community, or a car that you could afford to put gas in to drive to one, then you were speaking from a place of privilege. The post then when on to talk about how for many people, Amazon IS the only option to buy books for a variety of reasons.

But if you take it a step further, being able to buy books via the Internet is also coming from a place of privilege as well. In fact, being able to buy books at all means that you are coming from a place of privilege. If at the end of your paycheck you can afford to pay your basic bills, feed your family and buy extra things like books, you have it better than an estimated 20% of the population. Having a computer or device with Internet access in your home, also coming from a place of privilege.
Every time someone tweets about watching Game of Thrones, they are doing so from a place of privilege because that means they can afford cable with HBO even.When we talk about driving our cars, turning on our heat or air, going to the movie theater to see a movie and even going to the grocery store, we are doing so from a place of privilege from someone else’s point of view.
Having books in the home is a huge monetary issue for many people and there are a variety of social activists who work hard to raise funds and try and get books into the homes of families struggling with poverty. Some children will never own a book they can call their own. And if we want to raise a nation of readers and thinkers and innovators, having access to books is a powerful thing. Scholastic has a good discussion about how lack of access to books can be an issue for school readiness.
 

Which is why we need libraries. It is also why libraries need to do better jobs of reaching out to their local communities and reminding parents about the importance of regular trips to the library, reading together, and having books in the home. It’s why we need things like 1,000 books before Kindergarten. It’s why we need things like every child ready to read. It’s why we need things like YA librarians and youth programming.

My library, like many libraries around our nation, is currently researching how to better reach the needs of our growing homeless population. There are libraries employing social workers and job counselors and writing grants to provide food for children living in poverty this summer who will go without a free school lunch. Libraries help children have access to the Internet, complete homework assignments, and have access to books they would never get to read if their only options was to buy them. Some people don’t have the money to buy books period.

I work part-time. I struggle from paycheck to paycheck to buy groceries. The nearest local bookstore is an hour drive for me. To be completely honest, I don’t buy a lot of books. Not from the bookstore. Not from Amazon. Not online. Mostly, I check my books out from the library. Because every time I choose to buy a book, the money for it comes out of our food budget. It is the only place in the budget that has any wiggle room. Sometimes we make that sacrifice and we eat a few extra peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Usually it is so my kids can have a book they want, not me. Luckily, the Tween wants a lot of the same books that I do. But even knowing this, I know that for many of the patrons I serve, I am still coming from a place of privilege. I buy books more often than they will ever be able to consider buying a book.

So I buy books for the library. Not just the books I want, but the books that my patrons want . . . and need. Because for many of them, that is the only way they will ever get to read a book.

So yes, buy books. Buy them whenever and however you can. Support your local bookstore sometimes if you can. And if you believe in the importance of books and reading, support your local library as well. Libraries matter. For the 1 out of 5 children going to bed hungry each night, libraries are the only way they’ll get to read a bedtime story tonight.

Talk about Sex, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

 Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that may be
Let’s talk about sex

Let’s Talk about Sex, Salt ‘n’ Pepa

I confess. I am not a parent. I have no kids. Never had, never attempted, never will. I have nieces and nephews scattered across the country, and I am a psuedo-parent to the teens and kids that come into my library. I check homework and I will throw them back to school if they try to skip a day and show up at the library.

However, I don’t need to be having sex talks with them. I realize that I may be the person they’re most comfortable with, but in all honesty, I am not the proper person to be having this conversation. Yes, I am more than knowledgeable about how things work. Yes, I am a trusted adult, and unless there is something going on that needs reporting I will keep confidences, but this should be a parent’s duty, not mine.

Please let me tell you, your tween and teen know about sex. Really, they do. NO, the public or school librarian is not handing out the books to them to corrupt their minds, nor did the 5th grade teacher who separated the outward genders for “the talk” start all the swirling in their heads.  The sex ed course that you could have opted your kid out of did not do it either, even with the banana.



Nope, it goes with all the hormones and flirting and media and music and everything else they’re surrounded with (you had it too, don’t deny it), and it starts younger and younger. They’re hearing about it from their friends, from conversations at school, from TV and radio and commercials. And they’re coming away confused if you’re not talking to them.

Remember that scene in Kindergarten Cop?

I’ve been the recipient of that conversation.With the 5 year old. And getting a crying 9 year old to let me know that her period showed up unexpectedly, and we called her parent, while I tried to answer questions without overstepping boundaries that should be the parents’. And having a pair of 15 year olds beg me to take them to the local drug store to buy a pregnancy kit.

If you think your kids are going to be safe in whatever bubble wrap you keep them in, I hate to tell you that you might be wrong.

From the Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health (June 2013) from the Guttmacher Institute:

By age 15, the % of teens who are having sex starts doubling:
 


And while use of contraceptives is increasing with first time sex, it’s not nearly enough:


And yes, I heard that “lovely” statistic where teen pregnancy rates are going down due to Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant on MTV.  However, take a look at where the pregnancy rates are highest- the abstinence only taught states for the most part.


So what do you do?

TALK TO YOUR KID, PEOPLE. PLEASE?!?!?! And not just a one time, awkward conversation but a real dialogue about what happens.


http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204358004577032421571545382
Source: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052970204358004577032421571545382

If you need resources there are plenty out there, even based on your own personal viewpoint:

Important facts to go over no matter what:

  • You will love your child no matter what action they choose
  • Everyone goes through changes, and what those changes are, and that this is NORMAL
  • No means no, and they are allowed to fight to defend themselves
  • Touching is only right when it is consensual- doesn’t matter if it’s hugs, kisses, or more
  • Peer pressure can be hard to resist, but it is ok to resist it.
  • Never leaving drinks unattended at parties
  • They can talk to you about anything at any time and there will be no judgement

Recommended books to share with your tweens and teens:

    Sunday Reflections: Nameless Wonder

    Do you remember a librarian from your teen years? I do.  One had kind of mousy brown hair and wore patchwork vests, and led a group of us in a radio play in which I did the sound effects.  It was the first group of kids my age I spent time with after moving to a new town.

    Then there was the librarian at my high school who, while I was working on a personal social justice project, helped me get the full text of a bill that was working its way through the legislature.  She had it faxed to the school for me in this pre-Internet era.

    Another was a bearded fellow who helped me navigate the clunky databases I needed early on in college, and later was a quiet presence, waiting to offer a hand, as I worked on the computers with an elementary school girl I was tutoring.

    I don’t remember any of their names.

    While I don’t remember their names, what I do remember of them has certainly served me well.

    The first gave me a place in a group when I was new to town, painfully shy, and knew no one.

    The second showed me the power of information and libraries as a place of democracy, and went above and beyond to get more than the answer to the question I asked – she got the information I really needed.

    The third I remember mostly for his kindness and repeated, though never pushy, offers of help, suggesting simple adjustments that worked wonders despite my stubborn insistence that I would do it myself.

    While being someone’s favorite librarian is nice, what we do is more important and longer lasting than who we are.  

    In teen librarianship, we talk a lot about community building, relationship building, being the person that teens can turn to in times of need.  While not all of us have been the person to step in and find a crisis line, been supportive witnesses to a teen’s coming out, seen an insecure ten year old grow to a confident eighteen year old, most of us have been that person who found a teen a book she couldn’t wait for, or fixed a weird margin problem ten minutes before close so that a senior could print his last paper of the semester, or called out some homophobic language we overheard in the teen area.  And this can be just as important and transformative for our patrons – even if they don’t know our names.

    Don’t discount the work you do, just because you don’t share inside jokes with a TAB.  Don’t underestimate your importance just because you aren’t invited to graduation parties.  Don’t sell yourself short if the only way they know your name is if they look at your name tag.

    You serve your teens by ordering diverse books that they can find at their leisure, without pressure.  You serve them with welcoming gestures like relaxing and sharing a genuine smile when you see them walk in the door.  You serve them by making eye contact with them and directing your follow up questions to them instead of their parents as they stand together at the reference desk.  You serve them every day by demonstrating the most important tenants of our work: democratic, nonjudgmental access to information and the places where the information lives.  You serve them by treating them like the people that they are: people worthy of your respect and efforts.

    So wear your name tag, keep extending invitations to your programs, build relationships, connect with your community, and remember that your name is not the most important thing that they will learn about you.

    -Heather

    Saving Libraries from the Inside Out

    http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2012/08/libraries-are-beating-heart.html

    As I sit here and watch my Tween read it occurs to me, she sometimes says she wants to be a librarian when she grows up. It also occurs to me that I am not sure I can encourage her to follow that path because we are destroying the very things we love. As librarians retire and resign, more and more libraries are choosing not to hire full-time qualified librarians because of money. I know, it’s not just happening in libraries, but it IS happening in libraries. And that can be a bad thing. 

    Out of one side of our mouths we are saying libraries matter to our communities, but out of the other we are saying that they don’t matter enough to have qualified, experienced professionals in the right positions to make sure our libraries are actually being successful. A library isn’t just a warehouse for books, it is a living, breathing, organic entity that ebbs and flows to meet the needs of the people it serves – and it does this with staff. Programming, collection development – everything that happens inside the library happens because dedicated, hard working people make it happen. 

    Our libraries are just empty shells without the people inside making sure that every aspect of library service happens. Sometimes I think the very people who love libraries are slowly killing them from within by the staffing decisions they make. We don’t need ereaders and the Internet to kill libraries, we are doing it ourselves by minimizing the importance of a well educated, trained and passionate staff.  We are doing it by underpaying and under employing our staff and making the profession less desirable.

    I love being a librarian. I have served my community. I have seen the lives that I have changed for good. I understand the need for libraries and preach that message daily. I feel lucky to be fulfilling my life calling every day. But would I want my daughter to follow my path? I can honestly say I’m not sure, not until we can find a way to value our staff once again.

    So before we begin looking at outside factors that are negatively impacting the libraries we love, maybe we should begin by looking at the inside factors.  Do you have the right staff in place?  Are you adequately compensating them for their time and experience so that you can retain them? Are you giving them an environment in which they can successfully complete the goals that you have set out for them?  Do you want to help save libraries? Let’s start from the inside out. 

    Related:
    Advocacy and Marketing at TLT
    Teens @ Your Library 365
     

    Teens at Your Library 365: The 2014 Advocacy Project

    Every once in a while, an article pops up: “Libraries are dying.”

    Or you hear a comment, “Nobody uses the library anymore.”

    But many of us that actually work in libraries know that’s not true, for many libraries usage is actually up.

    Here’s one of the things that I think that are happening.  Those people writing those articles and making those comments, they have access to technology in a way that many of our every day library users don’t because they can afford it.  Just the other day someone said to me that we could get rid of our books in the library because everyone just uses their e-readers now.

    Source: PBS

    But in all honesty, the 70something percent of students in my school district that qualify for free and reduced lunch aren’t reading books on their e-readers because they don’t have them; they are too busy trying to eat.  When you have worked your way into a comfortable position where you have ready access to technology and can simply buy the books you want to read, it’s easy to forget that there are many other people in positions much different than yours.  This is part of the reason why my library is full of people using our computers to apply for jobs, using our resources to complete homework assignments, and checking out our books to read the high number of books they want to read.  Libraries provide access to all people, including the over 46 million people living in poverty who are trying to pull themselves up out of it.

    Save Big at Your Library

    But libraries are not just about serving those living below the poverty line.  Libraries are about serving everyone.  We are about creating learning environments, social environments, and new experiences.  We are about our local communities and the people that live in them.  We are about learning together, growing together, and thriving together.  We are about remembering our past, living in our present, and creating our future.

    http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2012/08/libraries-are-beating-heart.html

    With all this in mind, I present to you the 2014 Advocacy Project: Teens at Your Library 365.  In 2012, we led The 2012 Project, where we attempted to collect 2012 pictures of teens reading and using their libraries to make our message visual: teens use libraries.  In 2013 we presented The Year in the Life of a Library where we highlighted days throughout the year in the library.  This year, we want to show the diverse ways that libraries serve their communities by sharing our pictures, stories, reference questions and accolades.

    You are invited to participate, here’s how it will work.

    Our goal: Collect 365 pictures, stories, anecdotes, etc. about teens in the library that give a good representation of what libraries do and how teens use them.  In theory, we would get one picture or story a day of the year, but 365 in total is a good goal.

    You can participate: Tweet or Tumblr your picture, story, reference question, etc. with the hashtag #teensaturlib365

    #teensaturlib365

    Remember, we care about patron privacy so don’t use names – or use fake names like Jane and John Doe.