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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Represent!

Eau Claire teens advocating for strong school, public and university libraries
Yesterday was Wisconsin's Library Legislative Day, which I attended for the second time.  We took a bus from Eau Claire, and people got up at crazy hours so they could be at the bus stop by 6 am so we could drive to Madison. We had citizens, board members, Friends members, library directors and staff members, and a fabulous contingent of 6 teens on the bus.  They are members of the teen advisory board of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library and the Teen Literacy Initiative at Eau Claire Memorial High School.
Shaking hands with the staff

It was very heartening to see a group of teens so passionate about libraries that they were willing to miss a day of school, get up at 4:30 in the morning, and spend the whole day rushing from meeting to meeting.  It was also incredible to hear them talk in the meetings--as the day went on, they got more and more comfortable with their message, and several of them spoke eloquently and articulately about the impact libraries have had in their lives and their friends' lives.  I know that they enjoyed the chance to have an adventure like that, spending time in the capitol, and I know that it is a powerful thing for teens to be given a voice.  How exciting to get to witness it!  Congratulations to Ashley, the teen librarian at LEPMPL and Pam and Annis at the high school for trusting these teens to be terrific, and for creating the kind of environment where they understand that their voice matters.