May 17, 2006
Director, Communications &#38; Public Information
Board Supports New Youth Directory of Civic Engagement &#38; Leadership Development Programs
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners is pleased to help promote a new Directory of Civic Engagement & Leadership Development Programs for Massachusetts Youth published by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA). "A strong democracy requires an informed citizenry,"says Robert C. Maier, Director. "The library is one of the places in any community where youth have access to the information resources they need to make informed decisions in a neutral environment. This new directory is a resource for libraries and for youth, and libraries, as centers of civic engagement, will want to use it as a source of program ideas that build the relationship with youth in their communities."
In introducing the Directory to young people, teachers, youth group advisors and parents, LWVMA President Madhu Sridhar said, "This resource is a crucial tool for preparing the next generation to take on their future roles as movers and shakers in their communities and in government."
To illustrate the importance of fostering civic engagement among young people, Sridhar cited some key findings from a public opinion survey conducted by the Representative Democracy in America project under the direction of the National Conference of State Legislatures. The survey discovered that:
only 66% of the 15-26 year olds surveyed say that voting is necessary for being a good citizen, compared with 83% of those over age 26
less than half of the younger generation thinks that communicating with elected officials or volunteering are qualities of a good citizen
eight out of 10 young people know that the cartoon Simpsons live in Springfield, but less than half know the party of their state&#39;s governor and only 40% can say which party controls Congress
in ranking careers young people place only that of farmer lower than elected official.
The Directory is a new and essential resource for introducing young people to a diverse array of civic education opportunities. The listed programs greatly expand young people's choices for learning about the electoral and political processes, leadership, and community activism. The Directory is available now on the League's website at www.lwvma.org.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.