Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Public Awareness and Advocacy at #ALAAC

The Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee didn’t formally meet at ALA Annual in Chicago this year but there were many opportunities for public awareness and advocacy throughout the conference experience that I am rounding up here with links to ALSC bloggers fabulous write-ups.

  1. Advocate for mental health.

Mental health is important: in the workplace, in personal life and for your patrons. While there’s much debate on how much mental health services libraries should provide- there’s no question that mental health resources are important for all. 

View Lacy Wolfe’s blog about how graphic novels are “medicine” for mental health and Jaime Eastman’s blog posts about building joy and taking time for self care.

  1. Gain awareness, then advocate: through networking.

When meeting friends old and new at conference, I try to delve beyond the “how are you/ where do you work,” and ask more pointed questions like, “what challenges are you facing right now?” and “is there any way I can support you.” It can be hard to ask these questions when you want to keep the conversation light, but it also helps to hear what people are going through and connect on a deeper professional level. I learned about a colleague working to rewrite policy to be more inclusive for all youth, another colleague working to merge services  with less-wealthy libraries in order to share resources and a colleague advocating for better leave in the work place. It’s through these conversations we learn the unique situations are colleagues are facing and how we can strive to support them as a field.

  1. Fight the good fight (whatever that may be)

It’s no surprise that many sessions were about standing up against book bans, but that’s not the only issue in libraries right now. As mentioned above, everyone is fighting a different battle. We can work to advocate for our patrons and colleagues by educating ourselves on what is happening and making informed decisions. Christine Sturgeron blogged about fighting misinformation, while Lucy Wolfe wrote about authors discussing banned books. Jaime Eastman talked about thinking deeper and building a diverse team.

  1. Create a welcoming space

Another trend I saw this year was about transforming spaces, how you could intentionally make them better and create an early love of libraries and books. From there, looking only at the physical space but at the environment. Is this a place children and their caregivers feel safe and welcomed?

What issues did you learn about at ALA Annual that we can advocate for in our profession and community?

This post addresses the ALSC competencies I. Commitment to Client Group and V. Outreach and Advocacy.

Emily Mroczek is writing this blog post on behalf of the Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee. She can be reached at emilyrmroczek@gmail.com

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