Children and Youth Voice, Youth Involvement, Youth Engagement, Youth Organizing and Youth Participation in Libraries


INTRODUCTION: A startling development has taken place in communities across the nation: more and more adults are waking to the reality that if they want to 'save' their communities, they have to engage young people. This is exactly what is happening in libraries, where young peoples' participation has often been stigmatized and neglected. That is starting to change.


POINT TO PONDER:  “The more we increase the active participation and partnership with young people, the better we serve them. … And the more comprehensively we work with them as service partners, the more we increase our public value to the entire community.” - Carmen Martinez, director of the Oakland Public Library, as quoted by Wendy Lesko here.


RESOURCES: These organizations can help you learn more about young people's participation in libraries.


Youth Adult Library Services Association - The mission of the Young Adult Services Division is to advocate, promote and strengthen service to young adults as part of the continuum of total library service, and to support those who provide service to this population.


Public Libraries as Partners in Youth Development - PLPYD encourages public libraries to listen to youth, to take seriously the recommendation that libraries become cooler, to create innovative youth jobs and to work together to realize both the mission of the library and the personal and educational goals of young people.


Voice of Youth Advocates - VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates) is a bimonthly journal addressing librarians, educators, and other professionals who work with young adults. The only magazine devoted exclusively to the informational needs of teenagers, it was founded in 1978 by librarians and renowned intellectual freedom advocates Dorothy M. Broderick and Mary K. Chelton "to identify the social myths that keep us from serving young people and replace them with knowledge." Broderick retired in early 1997, when Cathi Dunn MacRae became editor after twenty years as a young adult librarian in public libraries.


American Library Association: Intellectual Freedom for Young People - A webpage that includes basic intellectual freedom principles, links to the fundamental principles of American and international libraries, and links to pages to help you understand why censoring the Internet is the same as censoring a book. Includes hot topics in intellectual freedom and a Q&A section.


Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) - Young adults promote their participation in the creation and development of library activities, programs and publications, thus insuring the relevance of these products and services to the population we serve.


The Freechild Project Section Investigating Youth Involvement


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