Category Archives: Advocacy

TL;DR Advocacy – Pop Up Library

We know that you are doing amazing things in your library and community and we want to hear about it! TL;DR is a fancy way of saying “Too Long;Didn’t Read” because no one has time to read every single detail of your life.

Tell us your advocacy story in 149 words or less and we’ll put it up for the world to see. This is a great opportunity to refine your next elevator pitch, and to inspire others to step up their advocacy game.

TLDR Advocacy

Today’s Boots on the Ground post comes from Shawna Lomonaco. She is a Youth and Fmaily Services Library Assistant II for a small library system in Virginia. She’s passionate about early literacy, hates giving other adults hugs (except on birthdays), and has a preteen at home who takes more pictures than the paparazzi.

Shawna and her fabulous British coworker Tom

Shawna and her fabulous British coworker Tom at a recent Pop Up Library

Our city has a small population, but is the largest in our area in terms of land. With only three branches, this has presented a challenge in meeting all of our community’s needs.  Something wonderful we have started this year is a Pop-Up Library.

Our Pop-Up Library is exactly how it sounds. We pack a mini library and “Pop-Up” throughout the community. We stuff our van with books, tables, chairs, laptop, Ipad, and activities for children including chalk and bubbles. We set up at different scheduled locations, such as farmer’s markets, festivals, and even grocery stores.

Our target audience is anyone and everyone! This has proven to be a great way to reach our rural areas. I enjoy seeing children get excited about the library, but what I really love about our Pop-Up Library is that it reminds adults that we still exist and are as awesome as ever!


Advocacy Toolbox – Everyday Advocacy

Is everyone ready to add to their Advocacy Toolbox? Your tools should help you advocate for yourself, your library, or simply increase your knowledge on a topic. This one should definitely go to the top of your toolbox.


Have you all been to this website? GO IMMEDIATELY! Right now.


The site Everyday Advocacy is an initiative from the Association for Library Service to Children all about advocacy! It started a year ago and the amount of resources on the site is outrageous. This initiative was started to help youth librarians be more informed about advocacy and its potential in their profession.

If you’re looking to become more involved in advocacy and you’re just not sure where to start then this website is made for you. It explains the different types of advocacy, how you can realistically become an advocate, and gives some really great information about how to best share your message. There’s even a whole page dedicated to using statistics effectively! 

Check out this website if you’re looking for extremely useful advice, or if you are simply trying become more familiar with advocacy in general.

Advocacy Toolbox – Bringing Books to Life

Welcome to the first “Advocacy Toolbox” post. There are amazing things happening right now in the land of research and advocacy. We know it can be hard to keep up with everything though!

These posts will highlight an item to add to your own advocacy toolbox. Your tools should help you advocate for yourself, your library, or simply increase your knowledge of a topic. If you want more detailed information about the topic just click through to the linked article.


Bringing Books to Life
By Jamie Chamberlin
Monitor Staff
October 2012, Vol 43, No. 9
Print version: page 40

5 things to take away from this article


  • Simply reading text on a page is not enough to support early literacy.
  • Readers must show enthusiasm and ask open-ended questions for children to gain skills.
  • Parents and teachers often need coaching about how to ask questions as they read to a group.
  • Selecting a developmentally appropriate title is hard! Parents and teachers need help
  • When teachers asked open-ended questions and focused on describing how words related to the child’s life, the children’s vocabulary grew more than when a teacher simply read a book.

So what does this mean for you? All of the “strategies” they are teaching the parents and teachers are things we do in storytime! We model for our parents and show them great books every week. This is a great article to share with managers, directors, or coworkers who don’t quite understand why storytimes are so important to a community.



TL;DR Advocacy – Library Sneakers

Welcome to the first ever Storytime Underground “TL;DR Advocacy” post. We know that you are doing amazing things in your library and community. We want to know about it but no one has time to read every single detail of your life. TL;DR is a fancy way of saying “Too Long;Didn’t Read”.

Tell us your advocacy story in 149 words or less and we’ll put it up for the world to see. This is a great opportunity to refine your next elevator pitch, and to inspire others to step up their advocacy game. It can be a huge movement (Storytime Underground) or something small (the post below), we want to hear them all!

TLDR Advocacy

Today’s Boots on the Ground post comes from Brooke Rasche, who is a joint chief of Storytime Underground and works at La Crosse Public Library. 

This winter, our library began providing a field trip adventure for kindergartners. Sneaker Tote Bag
We call them our Library Sneakers!

While we are talking to the children we stress that this is THEIR library. We tell them throughout the tour how we want them to visit us often, because this is their library and they share it with the entire community. We provide an incentive for them to return by offering a tote bag for their first visit back.

The best results we have seen from these tours are the parents that come into the library with their children for the first time. They usually say, “She’s been talking about the library since she came on the tour and said we HAD to come this week.” By empowering our kindergartners to be advocates for the library, they are passing the message on to their adults in a way we never could!

Know anyone Moving and Shaking?

Liz Burns got me fired up about this today.

Part of our mission here at the Underground is promotion. We believe that youth services doesn’t get enough recognition within the profession, and we want to change that. Mostly we do it grassroots style, but here is a chance to do it at the institutional level.

Tomorrow, nominations are due for LJ’s annual Movers and Shakers award. It has gone to some badass YS librarians in the past (hey Kirbs!) and we would like to see that continue. You have like, 24+ hours still to nominate, and in the words of another Cory, there are 24 usable hours in every day.

Don’t know who to nominate, or for what? Below, find some picks from the joint chiefs.

Cory’s suggestions:

AMY KOESTER. Many librarians are doing amazing things with STEAM programming, and writing amazing things about it, but I can’t think of anyone in the country who is both doing as much programming and writing as much useful material about the subject as Amy is.

JULIE JURGENS. There’s been lots of talk about rock star librarians, but Julie is the real deal: both rock star and librarian. Her library insights are spot-on, and her dedication to making music accessible for all is beyond admirable.

SARA BRYCE. If you want constant innovation in middle grade programming and some of the smartest writing out there about parent and child behavior management in the library, Bryce Don’t Play is indispensable.

KENDRA JONES. Giving Amy’s STEAM writing/programming crown a fabulous contender. Helping start a Guerrilla Storytime revolution. Large amounts of making it work.

Kendra’s suggestions:

THE CREW AT FLANNEL FRIDAY. Flannel Friday is one of the best things to ever happen to the Internet, if you’re a Children’s Librarian, and the team behind it is a dream team. Melissa Depper (a 2013 Mover & Shaker), Annie Clark, and Anna Haase Krueger are all three doing phenomenal things for the profession separately, and together they are unstoppable.

THE CREW AT JBRARY: Have you ever read a storytime description and thought, “I don’t think you CAN sing that to the tune of Frere Jacques?” Of course you have. And that is the niche Jbrary so brilliantly fills. BUT ALSO booklists. If Jbrary and Flannel Friday had a baby, it would be THE COMPLETE RESOURCE OF EVERY STORYTIME IDEA YOU EVER NEEDED.

Amy’s suggestions:

CORY ECKERT. Six months ago, the concepts of a Guerrilla Storytime and Storytime Underground DID NOT EXIST. Thanks to Cory’s vision, determination, and cojones, YS librarians have forums for grassroots advocacy so we can support each other as we support our communities.

ABBY JOHNSON. Keeping up on readers’ advisory for kids can be tough, especially if your staff doesn’t have much opportunity to read outside their comfort zones and share with each other. That’s why Abby’s “Reading Wildly” program for her staff is so stellar.

CEN CAMPBELL. New media is a topic in YS whether libraries want to admit it or not, and it’s Cen’s mission to make sure librarians are armed with information and skills to rock this new landscape for early literacy.

GO FORTH and NOMINATE. Let’s bombard LJ with so many insanely amazing YS librarians that they don’t know what’s hit them. They won’t pick everyone, but you can’t win if you don’t play.

Know of amazing YS librarians we didn’t mention? Add them to the comments.

Storytime Underground wants YOU to talk about Advocacy

Camo Uncle Sam

Storytime Underground is looking for a regular contributor who can manage and share content on the site on the topic of advocacy. All contributors should be willing and able to participate in periodic meetings via Google Hangout. Desired duties include:

  • Write and share regular posts (two to three times per month) on the topic of advocacy, including:
    • Writing posts with tips and plans for advocacy to library customers, library staff, library stakeholders, and community members
    • Sharing, with some description as to their importance and relevance, studies, blog posts, and content from any source that can contribute to early literacy/storytime advocacy efforts
  • Share advocacy posts via social media
  • Collaborate with the other Storytime Underground content coordinators to expand SU content beyond the current audience

If you’re interested in becoming a regular Storytime Underground contributor on the topic of advocacy, please send us an e-mail with your name, contact info, and ideas for promoting advocacy to the Storytime Underground community. We’re at storytimeunderground (at) gmail (dot) com, and we hope to hear from you soon.

*above image modified according to Creative Commons licensing restrictions; original image by openclipart user liftarn

The Call to Arms


For the past 6 months, since Julie Jurgens made her fateful — and fantastic — post, Ego, Thy Name is Librarianship the library corner of the internet has been talking about the fact that youth services librarians often get less respect and attention from and by professionals and professional organizations, although public library circulation and program numbers are often built on our backs. That alone is a good reason, a great reason, to support youth services programs and librarians. If you want other reasons, we’ve linked to some pretty telling studies on our advocacy page.


When the idea of Guerrilla Storytime took off, I advocated that we hold it in the UnCommons (for non-ALA goers, this is a public networking space in the middle of the ALA action) instead of in a closed space because I think we need to get out of the echo chamber. In the UnCommons, there would be all kinds of librarians who got to see that when we plan a storytime, we do it with intention, educational merit, and a lot of training (and sweating). We don’t just read books out loud to little kids (which is hard enough, dude, 40 3 year olds? You try keeping their attention). We are frontline early literacy warriors.


Guerrilla Storytime was a start, a fantastic way to integrate cross-training and advocacy while getting people enthusiastic and cultivating professional relationships. It wasn’t enough. I wanted to put together a group of passionate youth services librarians committed to advocating loudly by whatever means necessary, within the profession, for the importance of our work. I know ALSC does wonderful work, but I see a need for a different kind of advocacy, support and training, and I’m interested in starting something more grassroots. Something with more ability to color outside the lines.


To this end, my extraordinary co-bloggers and I have put together this website as a home base for the Storytime Underground, a place for Storytime Guerrillas around the world to gather, meet, plan, train, advocate for each other and support each other. On this site you will find a calendar to help facilitate the planning of Guerrilla Storytimes, an advice column for difficult storytime questions, tagged literacy resources with discussions of how and why they help children learn, archives of past projects and more. If you want to get involved with any or all of it, we will embrace you (probably literally). The only enlistment requirements are passion and a good wiggle song.


We are already changing the world. Let’s do the best possible job of it we can. Let’s make sure everybody knows about it.


Welcome to the Storytime Underground.


%d bloggers like this: