Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates

April 24 & May 8, 2018

Live Interactive Sessions on Tuesdays from 2–4 PM ET: April 24 & May 8
Bridged with Homework, Online Workshops, Resources, and Discussions.
Certificate of Completion Provided

Also available On-Demand! Can’t make a live session? All sessions will be available to you ‘on demand’ following the initial broadcast.

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Empowering Teens

We frequently tell teenagers that they are the future. It’s not true. Teens can be leaders in their communities and schools today. There are examples across the country of young people changing the world with their bravery and passion.

Teens want to make a difference and be advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them have an impact now – on their communities and schools – as well as develop the skills, confidence and approaches that will enable them to advocate throughout their lives.

In addition to the live speaker sessions, you’ll work in small groups with facilitators experienced in producing compelling teen programming to complete assignments, share resources, and engage in active discussion boards that will ignite your thinking and fuel your efforts at your library.

When you attend this interactive online course, you’ll learn from experienced leaders how to:

  • Extend your outreach to young people and help them engage in advocacy
  • Collaborate with teens to develop social justice programs in the library and community
  • Partner with local and national organizations to build teen-centric programs
  • Identify resources that will help you establish teen programs built around civic engagement
  • Use best practices to create and sustain lifelong library users, advocates, and leaders

Online Course Features

  • Instructor-led online courses feature personalized interaction over three weeks
  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live webcast (with recordings available afterward)
  • Homework assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums
  • Articles, videos and other resources
  • Access all course content for 6 months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses

Group discounts are available!

Register in groups for a unique team-building experience and get everyone working together. Contact us to learn more.

Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Project-Based Learning

Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats, and workshop practical ideas in groups, with guidance from an advisor, to plan ideas for increasing teen activism in your community.

Who should take this course?

Public and school librarians working with young adults.


Guest speakers share their experience in presentations, delivered live via webcast (with recordings available afterward); you can join in the conversation via instant message chat for Q&A.


Facilitators provide one-on-one, written feedback to your assignments. They also answer questions, provide resources, and guide peer group discussion.

Course Schedule

WEEK 1: Tuesday, April 24, 2018

SESSION 1: Opening Keynote: How Teens Can Make a Difference

2:00-2:30 PM ET

In this stirring opening session of Empowering Teens, you’ll hear what inspires teens to act in their communities and how library programming can support their efforts. You’ll come away with practical ideas for stoking the passions of your teen patrons rooted in their authentic interests and aspirations to influence change.


Diana Haneski
Diana Haneski
, Librarian/Media Specialist, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (FL)

SESSION 2: Protecting Students’ Rights

2:30-2:45 PM ET

Do you know what rights your teen patrons have when they protest? Find out during this essential session presented by the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC), creators of the useful “First Amendment Rights for Student Protesters” resource. You’ll learn how you can support students in their quest to make change in their community while protecting their rights.


Abena S. Hutchful
Abena S. Hutchful
, Youth Free Expression Program, National Coalition Against Censorship


2:45-3:00 PM ET

SESSION 3: Building Teen-Driven Social Justice and Community Programs

3:00-4:00 PM ET

How do you use young people’s passions and interests to implement a teen-driven campaign that will benefit not only the library, but also the community at large? Speakers will share resources, best practices, and ideas on how to engage young adults in programs and events that can inspire them to make a lasting and impacting change on society.

Part 1: 2:45-3:30 PM ET


Izabel Gronski Regina M. Townsend, MLIS
Izabel Gronski
, Oak Lawn Public Library (IL)
Regina M. Townsend, MLIS, Forest Park Public Library (IL)

Part 2: 3:30-4:00 PM ET


Jane Gov Deborah Takahashi
Jane GovYouth Services Librarian, Pasadena Public Library, Central Library (CA)
Deborah TakahashiLibrarian, Pasadena Public Library (CA)

WEEK 2: Tuesday, May 8, 2018

SESSION 1: Building Partnerships To Encourage Teen Advocacy

2:00-2:30 PM ET

Empowering teen advocates requires the support and buy-in of collaborators, including educators, library staff, and local organizations. The presenters will provide ways that attendees can forge long-lasting partnerships, acquire library/school buy-in, and create strong relationships with experts who will help teens invest in their own future as they find their adult voice.


Angel Tucker
Angel TuckerYouth Services Manager, Johnson County Public Library (KS)

SESSION 2: Complex Conversations: Library Programming that Encourages Teens to Speak Up

2:30-3:00 PM ET

Supporting teens in the pursuit of finding their voices is a crucial role of those who work with youth, and the library can provide an ideal setting to encourage critical thinking around pressing community concerns and help teens to establish their voices. This session will cover how can you support critical and complex conversations within the library context, scaffolding new ideas, fostering dialogue, and encouraging teens to include their voices in the conversation.


Erin Hoopes
Erin Hoopes, Library Supervisor, Free Library of Philadelphia


3:00-3:15 PM ET

SESSION 3: Closing Keynote: How to Foster Teen Activism and Create Leaders of Today

3:15-4:00 PM ET

Teens are often told that they are the future, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that they aren’t just the future, but the present. How can we support teens in their civic involvement and encourage them to access the power of their voices today? In this inspiring closing session of our workshop, you’ll learn how to help teens tap into their potential to change the world around them, starting now.


Wick Thomas
Wick Thomas, Manager, Teen Programs, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (MO)


Register early and get immediate access to archived video recordings from past courses:

Lessons from the Hackathon Academy: How One Organization is Tapping into High-Potential, Low-Opportunity Youth and Opening the Doors to STEAM

Kalimah PriforceAn inspiring keynote by Kalimah Priforce, Headmaster CEO of Qeyno Labs, an organization dedicated to increasing exposure to STEAM programming for “high-potential, low-opportunity” youth. In this archived session of our 2017 Mission Possible online course, Priforce shares the mission behind his organization, how its mentorship model fosters growth for all involved, and how its successful Hackathon Academy has transformed the lives of hundreds of youth.

Anti-Oppression, Allyship, and Emotional Labor

Anastasia CollinsLibrarians committed to building strong and diverse collections and programs may wonder what else they can do to be positive agents of change in their communities. While there is far more than can be and is being done than can be covered in this single recording from our 2018 Diversity and Cultural Competency Training—Anastasia Collins, Liaison Librarian, Simmons College Beatley Library (MA) looks at what it means to be an “ally,” how librarians can strive for social justice in their spheres of influence, and make space for marginalized voices and viewpoints.