In what ways are people leveraging TTW as an opportunity to do some advocating for library services for/with teens?  Inviting an elected official to attend a TTW event?  Recruiting a library advocate to write a letter to the editor?  Asking your school board to officially declare March 9 - 15 Teen Tech Week?  Other?  Share your ideas here!

Tags: TTW, advocacy

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Now is the time to start publicizing for Teen Tech Week! If you haven't already done so, reach out to local media sources. The easiest thing to do is have them list your programs in their events section. You may also want to write something short that will inform readers/listeners about the programs in more details. Think beyond the general information of what the program is and when it will occur. You might want to include possible outcomes, ex: "Library To Teach Teens How to Better Use Technology. In a series of programs, the library will teach teens how to interact with the global community through technology and how to be good digital citizens." Tell your community why these programs are important, don't leave it to them to figure it out. 

When advocating for teens, it's important that you go where they are. Reach out to both teens and adults that work with them. For this, you can talk to the local schools and see if they would be willing to let you hang a poster in the library, or advertise in any of the school's publications such as the paper, newsletter, or daily announcements. As Teen Tech Week approaches, now is also a good time to see if you can go into the schools and tell the students about your planned programs. The closer to Teen Tech Week that you can get into the schools, the better. You can also reach out to specific teachers that may be interested in letting their students know about your programs. While you have these lines of communication open with other adults in the teens lives, let them know what types of outcomes your programs provide for teens. Not only is the library a fun, safe place for teens to be, but they will come out of the TTW programs with real world skills, new interests, and a new confidence in their abilities. 

Just like any kind of programming, advocacy efforts should have a specific goal in mind. Spend some time thinking about what outcomes you would like to see from your efforts. A few ideas that will help you get started:

  • Higher attendance at programs
  • Have more library patrons aware of the programs being offered
  • More funding for programs 
  • More collaboration between the public and school libraries
  • Build a relationship between your library and elected officials

Once you have an idea of what you would like to accomplish with your advocacy, you can start to tailor your message to the proper audience. Think about what information your audience will need in order to make decisions that will benefit your library. Gather statistics, personal statements from patrons, pictures, and any other evidence of the impact you are currently having and combine that with your (logical) projects of the additional impact you could have with more resources. ALA and YALSA both have great resources for advocacy that will help you design your advocacy campaign. 

In the fall of 2012, YALSA published 10 Quick tips for Advocacy that will get you started with your efforts.

ALA has an entire Library Advocate's Handbook to guide you through your efforts. 

It's Teen Tech Week! Make sure that you (or a volunteer) take tons of pictures at your events and get testimonials from the teens that participate! Testimonials can be written, typed, emailed, or recorded (audio or video). Have teens talk about what they liked, what they learned, and how they would love more programs like these throughout the year. 

If you didn't have quite enough technology for all the teens, keep a record of it. Statistics like that are great to bring to your library/school board, director/principal, and Friends/PTA groups when asking for money. 


Connect teens to technology and art at your library this March with YALSA! #TTW16

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