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by YALSA category: Cause
Libraries have a strong track record of providing a variety of key services that meet the unique needs of teens. In fact, 87% of public libraries offer services and programs like career planning and computer skills that help prepare teens for the workforce.
In 2010, 50% of the nation’s 14-18 year-olds reported visiting a library to use a computer. The Joplin Public Library (MO) is just one of thousands that offers free wifi for students that need internet access but don’t have it at home. Libraries also provide computer training that helps teens use the Internet and digital media safely, effectively, and ethically. For example, the Bentonville Public Library (AR) offers free ACT prep classes to help local teens improve their test scores.
The Cornelia Crenshaw Branch Library (TN) works with Vance Middle School to improve teen literacy skills with fun, current reading materials. In fact, 97% of public libraries provide a dedicated section of their library to teen books and other teen materials. Librarians are trained experts who can match the right book to the right teen, whatever their reading level or interest may be, which is crucial to helping teens gain needed reading skills. A 2010 study from Dominican University demonstrated that students who participated in a public library summer reading program scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of the next school year than those students who did not participate.
YALSA has been helping and supporting libraries’ efforts to serve teens since 1957. We bring together key stakeholders from the areas of libraries, education, research, youth development and more to develop and deliver resources to libraries that expand their capacity to support teen learning and enrichment and to foster healthy communities. We work at a national level to inform and engage policy makers and elected officials about the important role libraries and librarians play in preparing teens to become engaged, productive citizens.
This year, YALSA is joining a call to action and celebrating a day dedicated to giving. For Giving Tuesday, YALSA’s goal is to raise $2,000 to send two library workers to Washington, DC to participate in the annual advocacy event called National Library Legislative Day which will be held May 6, 2014. Why focus on advocacy? If Congress doesn’t hear firsthand about the key role libraries play in helping teens learn digital literacy skills, stay safe afterschool, explore career options and more, then libraries could lose the very funding that helps the nation’s 42 million teens prepare for life after high school.
You can make a difference! Please participate in Giving Tuesday to help make sure that libraries have the support and funding they need to continue to give all teens a bright future. Take action and learn more at http://ow.ly/qKu45.
YALSA, a division of the nonprofit American Library Association, is a national association of librarians, library workers and advocates whose mission is to expand and strengthen library services for teens, aged 12-18. Through its member-driven advocacy, research, and professional development initiatives, YALSA builds the capacity of libraries and librarians to engage, serve and empower teens.