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Forming Partnerships for Library Advocacy

[Originally posted on mylibraryis.org/blog] I really just wanted to host the Skylab from the Peoria Riverfront Museum. That’s all. And how can you blame me? Have you seen it? It’s this giant inflatable dome and, once inside, it’s a planetarium. Anyway, it turns out, there’s a space requirement. And, at 25 by 25 feet, it’s not a small requirement for a rural library. Of course, I can’t meet that requirement, so I can’t host. And, somehow this comes up in conversation. “You know you can host events at the senior center, right?” This is, turns out, how the best partnerships are formed. After an initial meeting with the senior center and the preschool, the topic of intergenerational programming came up. The senior center was interested in reaching more people in the community and the preschool was interested in providing other opportunities for their children and families. They thought the library…

ALA Annual 2019

Advocacy Resources at ALA Annual 2019

Annual is coming up fast! In case you want to brush up on how to best advocate for yourself and your library, here’s a quick rundown of the advocacy-related meetings taking place in DC. The best part? All the meetings listed below are open and included in your conference registration. Start out your conference on Saturday, June 22 by attending Grassroots Advocacy and Librarians: Using Research Power to Make Change (Recorded Session) to learn more about how grassroots lobbying works. Panelists will discuss the ins and outs of organizing and how libraries provide the resources and services necessary to effectively make a case to government officials and agencies. Follow up that session with Turning Enemies into Advocates: How Empathy-Based Training Eliminated Barriers Between Youth & Our Staff (Recorded Session), presented by YALSA. This session will explore the challenges front-line staff face when serving teen patrons and discuss to what extent libraries should…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Revisiting Your Summer Elevator Speech

Memorial day is around the corner, and for those of us who work in children’s services at public libraries, this means Summer Reading. Traditionally, summer is a time we encourage children to read (often for prizes),  help children meet their page-total goals, and ramp up our child-centered program offerings. It’s one of the most fun, exhausting, and rewarding times of the year to be in this field. Because of this focus in children, it’s also an excellent time to advocate for services to children and their families. We have a myriad of positive stories to share, as discussed in a blog post from last summer, and often a willing and eager audience in the many families that visit our libraries. Sharing our stories is vital.  It is even more vital in light of the 2018 OCLC report From Awareness to Funding.   According to the report,  the belief that “libraries…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Readers Advocacy: Book Talking Your Library

National Library week may be over, but the Advocacy and Legislation Committee wants to help you keep the party going at your library. Picture books set in the library highlight the joy and importance of reading. For young children these books guide conversations about familiar experiences and reinforce the relevance of a library in their lives. In short, these books advocate for the library. Below is a limited selection of picture books celebrating the library. Create a display or book talk these titles and let your families inspire their own advocacy for libraries at home! What are some of your favorite picture books that celebrate all things library? Comment below and help our list grow! A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker. Illus by Kady McDonald Candlewick Press, 2014 A curmudgeonly bear does not want to go to the library. After all, he as seven perfectly good books at…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

National Library Week Provides Countless Advocacy Opportunities

National Library Week is coming right up, celebrated this year April 7-13 with the theme Libraries = Strong Communities. As you are no doubt aware, since 1958, the American Library Association has set aside this special week every year in April in order to highlight library efforts throughout the nation. Melinda Gates chairs the week this year. Events As part of National Library Week’s festivities, the State of America’s Library Report will be released and will include the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2018, as published annually by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Also that week, on Tuesday, April 9, National Library Workers Day (NLWD) is celebrated and provides an opportunity to recognize the hard work of all library employees. Wednesday, April 10 is National Bookmobile Day and Thursday, April 11 is Take Action for Libraries Day. Naturally, having a week dedicated to highlighting our efforts on a national…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

AmazonSmile as Easy Fundraising Opportunity

Like it or not, everyone is shopping at Amazon these days. Okay, not everyone. But you get the point. We might as well get used to it. Not only that, we might as well take advantage of it. At least, we might as well know our options. Libraries operate on increasingly tight budgets. And we advocate on a regular basis for greater funding. Sometimes, we get it. And even when we don’t, we’re increasingly clever with how we spend what we have to effectively reach all of our patrons. We’re good at what we do. Still, a few extra bucks never hurts. Enter AmazonSmile. An easy way to earn a few cents on eligible purchases which, depending on supporter’s purchasing habits, may add up to substantial donations. After all, as of October 2018, according to their site, AmazonSmile’s charities have earned more than $105 billion. Here’s how to sign up,…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Because Children’s Libraries Are Community Investments

I often hear about the importance of advocating for youth services to the rest of the library; however, youth services librarians are also excellently poised to help their communities recognize the lasting, positive outcomes of investing in their public libraries. It was good news last year for American libraries when President Trump signed a bill that increased the IMLS budget by about $2 million. However, an updated study by ALA and OCLC, From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018, found that most voters don’t realize how much public libraries are not funded by federal sources like IMLS: “86% of public library funding comes from local government sources; yet, 59% of voters think most library funding comes from non-local sources.” This is a problem when voters show less financial commitment to their local libraries than they did a decade ago: “only 58% of respondents are…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Advocacy Resources at ALA Midwinter 2019 and Beyond

The Midwinter Meeting is coming up fast! In case you want to brush up on how to best advocate for yourself and your library, here’s a quick rundown of the advocacy-related meetings taking place in Seattle. The best part? All the meetings listed below are open and included in your conference registration. Start off your Saturday with Breaking Down the Barriers to Advocacy for School Libraries.Part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries, attendees can join ALA Policy Corps for a conversation surrounding political advocacy for school librarians. Attendees will also learn how to connect with local legislators and break down barriers that stand in the way of effective advocacy efforts.   For the first two years of the Trump Administration, librarians have been politically active and energized. But with a new Congress, what happens next? Libraries & Public Policy After the Midterm Elections & the Midpoint of the…