When I recently found out that the Escondido City Council was once again discussing closing the East Valley Branch Library it broke my heart. This is my home base - where I started out my career as a professional librarian and the location that has grown and flourished over the last four years under my tutelage despite crippling staff layoffs and budget cuts. This is also where I run the majority of my programs and where my biggest tween/teen following is based.
I broke the news to my Crafty C.A.T.S. (Community Action Teen Service) volunteer group first, and their response was both immediate and impassioned.
"What?!? They can't do that! Where will I go after school?"
"I walk here and there's no way I can get a ride across town because my parents both work."
"We have to do something! Can we stand outside and hand out fliers?"
As I listened to them vent their outrage and confusion and plot ways to save their branch, someone piped up...
"When is the next City Council meeting? We should all get up and speak about why they can't shut this library down!"
They took this idea and ran with it...all the way to City Council. If you think teens don't care about the work that you do or that they're not willing to stand up for what they believe in you're wrong, and I have the video to prove it! (click on March 23, 2011, select Item 14, and forward to 4:11:33)
We'll have to see what impact (if any) their stories have on City Council's decision, but no matter what happens I'm SO proud of these young women for having the courage and tenacity to face their fears of public speaking and have their voices heard!