Southern California Program

Los Angeles Public Library

Civic and Community
Los Angeles, CA
December 2019

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) operates the city’s Central Library and 72 branches, the majority of which serve low-to-moderate income neighborhoods.  More than 100,000 K-12 students use the libraries and their online academic tutoring resources after school each week.  Piloted in Fall 2017, Teens Leading Change (TLC) is a civic engagement leadership program for youth ages 12 to 19.  Youth identify local social and environmental issues important to them and research, design, and implement civic action projects that professional Young Adult librarians facilitate.  At present, TLC is not a regular part of LAPL’s programming at each branch.  A grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation will enable LAPL to expand and enhance the program.  A new training curriculum for Young Adult librarians will be developed.  Civic education content will be embedded into all teen programming and funding will be provided for teens to implement their projects through their local branches.  At a time when government trust is low, programs like TLC hold the promise to serve as entry points to civic engagement and collective change making.  By the end of the two-year grant period, 3,000 young people will have engaged in a civic participation experience, including 200 who will have implemented a TLC project in the community.

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