How Libraries Can Grow Voters
When it comes to providing young people with paths to election engagement, libraries have played a critical and pioneering role. They have provided information about voter registration, opportunities for young people to learn critical media literacy skills, and free spaces where teens can connect with issues and with older community members through artistic expression and discourse.
Learn how youth service and school librarians can support the next generation of voters and expand the electorate. We’ll hear from the Center for Information & Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) about their new CIRCLE Growing Voters report and framework, which aims to transform how community institutions at all levels can better support a wide diversity of young people to participate in elections. The webinar will provide an opportunity to learn more about the CIRCLE Growing Voters framework, including brand new research on youth civic engagement and electoral participation and steps librarians and libraries can take to help eliminate barriers to civic access by race, education, and other factors, starting before young people even turn 18 years old. In this session, two of the report’s authors will dive into data from surveys of teens and young people fielded after the 2020 election, highlighting actionable insights related to librarians such as media creation, media literacy, education, and more.
1. Implement the CIRCLE Growing Voters framework as a developmental and holistic one that seeks to transform how community institutions prepare young people to participate in elections.
2. Increase access to opportunities to learn about elections and voting via programs or interventions, creating structures that help more young people leverage existing opportunities for electoral participation, cultivating a strong culture of electoral participation, and partnering with other community organizations to create an ecosystem of support for young voters.
3. Understand the critical role of youth media creation and media literacy education, particularly, in encouraging the civic skills, attitudes, and dispositions young people need to participate in elections.
Ruby Belle Booth is CIRCLE’s Elections Coordinator and one of the authors of the CIRCLE Growing Voters report. Ruby is interested in youth civic participation as a pathway for social, racial, and economic justice and she is passionate about increasing youth voice throughout our political and education systems and in CIRCLE’s work. Ruby is also a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice researching civic learning and engagement.
Alberto Medina, another author of the CIRCLE Growing Voters report, leads CIRCLE's communications. He collaborates with CIRCLE leadership on strategic communications, oversees the editorial work to produce and disseminate research, and maintains CIRCLE’s digital presence.
Madeline McGee is a Research Fellow at CIRCLE and recently graduated from Tufts University with an M.A. in Child Study and Human Development. Her work with CIRCLE focuses on the many ways media intersect with youth civic development and participation. She is interested in how the inclusion of diverse youth voices in media, as well as collaborations between media organizations and young people, can benefit both youth political efficacy and democracy at large. She pre-registered to vote at the age of 17 at her local public library.