Advocacy Challenge: Ask “Why?”

Hopefully, many of you are feeling energized and refreshed after the Midwinter Meeting. Are you pumped about all the great things libraries are doing to help their communities grow and thrive, starting with our youngest citizens?    This month, I challenge you to take a look at the programs and services you currently offer, or want to offer, and ask yourself “why?” In my opinion, this is the first step in library advocacy. Library advocacy is supporting, and garnering support for, the library (including staff and departments), or a library product. To be successful, library advocates must understand the “why”, or else we’re just marketing services. Marketing is great, but you do not need to know why a program or service is important in order to entice people to attend the program, or use a service.   Let’s use a program, called “Play Date,” as an example. If I make a…

Advocacy Through Programming

When considering how to best advocate for services and programs offered by public libraries in our current environment, which includes a proliferation of information and digital access to multitude of sources, I tried to answer the questions: To whom is this program or service of value? How are we changing the landscape of our communities? How are we advancing the mission of public libraries to fight oppression and inequity? With those questions in mind, I will walk you through a small program that had big impact in our community and sent a strong message of our values and the tenets in our community. Remember that advocating is not only done by messaging, advertisement, or campaigns. We advocate every day through relevant services, programs, and collections. Creating strategic community programs and showing how essential libraries are to children and adults is a great way to advocate for libraries. In 2016, like…

Refine your advocacy skills at 2018 ALA Midwinter

The 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting is right around the corner. Before you get too far along in planning your schedule, I want to highlight the advocacy-related meetings taking place. The fun begins on Friday, Feb. 8th, with the Advocacy and Intellectual Freedom Bootcamp and Advocacy Training Institute. At these two ticketed events, organized by ALA’s Office of Library Advocacy and Office of Intellectual Freedom, you will learn proven strategies to effectively implement an advocacy plan for your library and garner the support of your community. After learning the nuts and bolts of library advocacy, sit in on a committee meeting. Both the Committee on Library Advocacy and PLA’s Legislation and Advocacy Committee meet on Saturday morning followed by an afternoon meeting of the UNITED Legislation, Advocacy & Intellectual Freedom Committee. All three meetings are open and included with full conference registration. You can find these and other advocacy-related meetings in the…

Member Content Editor Sought for Everyday Advocacy (EA) Initiative

For nearly five years now, the Everyday Advocacy (EA) initiative has been educating and supporting librarians and library workers serving youth on the importance of advocacy and providing tools to assist them in articulating their own value within the library profession and community. Jenna Nemec-Loise, EA Member Content Editor, has worked tirelessly over those five years, establishing Everyday Advocacy through her work on the website, quarterly EA Matters newsletter, Take Action Tuesday and EA challenges, Children & Libraries columns, and so many other efforts. Now, Jenna is ready to pass the baton on to a new member content editor who can continue the good EA work with energy, ideas, and a passion for advocacy! We heartily thank Jenna for all she’s done to nurture and grow Everyday Advocacy. We will miss her advocacy acumen, but we also look forward to working with the next Everyday Advocate extraordinaire. That’s right; ALSC…

Advocacy Discussion at ALSC Membership Meeting

The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation committee Co-Chairs, Africa Hands, and I, were ask to lead an activity at the ALSC Membership Meeting on Monday of the 2017 Annual Conference. Africa developed a list of six resources and topics for small groups to discuss during the meeting. This post is a recap of that discussion. You can see notes from the breakout discussions in the photos, as well as my brief introduction to each topic. Each discussion was facilitated by an ALSC Board Member (thank you!!!) using the guiding questions provided. Share your responses to guiding questions in the comments!  1)      Thunderclap Think of this as a campaign signal booster. Or a go fund me for social reach. In other words, you start a campaign and awesome people donate their social reach to support and boost your campaign. Example: https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/45168-banned-books-week Guiding questions: Have you participated in a Thunderclap campaign? What are…

Advocacy & Legislation Co-Chairs Go To Washington – #NLLD17

Greetings ALSC community! It’s Africa and Kendra, co-chairs of the Advocacy and Legislation Committee. Two weeks ago we participated in our first National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the Advocacy and Legislation Committee. In addition to meeting fellow committee member, Susan Kusel, and the ALSC leadership team (Aimee Strittmatter, Nina Lindsay, and Andrew Medlar), we met amazing library advocates from across the U.S. whom we’ll profile in future blog posts. Rather than write a traditional blog post about our experience, we recorded a conversation in which we recap our time in D.C. and offer takeaways from the experience. Have a listen and, if you also attended #NLLD17, share your takeaways in the comments. Thanks, ALSC! Want to learn more about National Library Legislative Day priority issues? Check out the issue briefs online. Library advocacy doesn’t stop with #NLLD17. Use these resources from Everyday Advocacy to continue advocating…

Advocacy Interview with Paula S. W. Laurita, Athens-Limestone Public Library

Paula S. W. Laurita is the Executive Director of the Athens-Limestone Public Library in Athens, Alabama. She was a school librarian for ten years before making the switch to Public Services. Now, she is currently running for an open council seat for ALA! Throughout her career, Paula has constantly advocated for libraries and library services. Her work convincing her community that they needed a new public library epitomizes these efforts. Thanks to her incredible advocacy and use of best practices, the community of Athens, AL gained a beautiful 40,000 square foot library facility at the end of 2014! I was first influenced by Paula Laurita and her accomplishments when I attended her ALA webinar titled, “Marketing and Advocacy: Explaining Libraries to Elected Officials.” The three biggest takeaways I took from Paula, when working with elected officials, were these three rules: 1.Stay POSITIVE. 2. It’s not about you. It’s about the SERVICE to…

Survey on Advocacy Tool Needs

Considering the current state of affairs in the United States, advocacy for library services to children may be more vital than ever before. The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee would like to make sure you have all the tools and resources you need to be excellent advocates for yourselves, your libraries, and children and families in your communities.