by Sue Kowalski, SSL

Each March NYLA members commit themselves to participating in "Leg. Day" in Albany to advocate for the power of libraries as education.   This year, 11 students from Pine Grove Middle School in the East Syracuse Minoa School District made the trek as well. Facilitated by their librarian, Sue Kowalski and social studies teacher Sara Hughes, students joined the CLRC (CNY Library Resources Council) contingent and headed to Albany on Wednesday, March 2. 

All students were invited to apply for a Leadership Scholarship to attend. The scholarship funds were provided by a grant from the ESM Education Foundation and covered their transportation, meal, and a t-shirt (students designed logo and our Tech teacher coordinated printing).  The students chosen demonstrated initiative, effective communication, and collaborative work styles.  

The student team met prior to the event to outline expectations.   Additionally, the team participated in two Google Hangouts;  one with Jeremy Johannesen and one with Mike Neppl.  Each session provided students with perspective, information, and answered student questions about the process, strategy, and overall expectation.

The team, aptly named ADVO-KIDS, participated in meetings with our legislators, joined in the rally, toured the Capitol building, and visited the NYS Museum, complete with a ride on the historic carousel.

Our Advokids have continued to be our spokespeople for libraries.  Additionally, they are using their expertise in classroom instruction related to participation in government and understanding the role of "voice" in all activism now and throughout history. 

Students are already talking about "the next time they go" and we continue to tap into their leadership.   Student voice matters and Pine Grove Middle School was proud to be a part of this year's Library Legislative Day.