Educating and Empowering Teen Activists in Public Libraries: A Case Study of the Impact of Reading on Young Adult Social Justice Actions

A talk by Jennifer McDevitt (she/her)
Medicine Hat Public Library

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About this talk

In recent years, young adult (YA) fiction has, like its Generation Z audience, turned to social justice issues and activism. At the same time, the discussion of social responsibility in librarianship has begun to include human rights and social justice, especially since public libraries provide education and information about issues of rights and justice.

For Jennifer's thesis research, she conducted a participatory case study with a co-designed virtual program through the Camrose Public Library. The case study investigated how teen readers engage with the social justice themes in YA fiction, how and if they find these themes useful for understanding and engaging in activism on their own, and the influence of public library programming on these actions.

This presentation provides an overview of what worked and what didn’t when it came to collaborative program design with teens and provides practical recommendations for young adult librarians who want to implement social justice programming.

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