Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy Resources: Helping You Tell Your Library’s Story

Midterm elections are right around the corner. For many of us, that means library advocacy is at the forefront of our minds. The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee wants to make sure that you feel empowered and informed so you can advocate for yourself, your library, and the children and families you serve. Yes, it can seem daunting. But advocacy is something we library folk already excel at: sharing information and building relationships. Advocacy is all about helping your patrons and elected officials better understand your library’s role and value to community. But how do you start organizing all of that information? How do you tell your library’s story in a clear, engaging way? There are so many wonderful resources available to help you get started. However, it can feel overwhelming to slog through everything to find what you need. ALA’s Everyday Advocacy focuses specifically on library services to youth…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Summer Reading is Library Advocacy

Greetings from your Committee on Advocacy and Legislation! It’s August. For many public librarians that means an end to summer reading. Our daytime rush of readers slows and we begin our fall outreach into the many schools we serve. It’s a wonderful time of year, one full of high-fives and celebratory applause for the hard work our readers have done all summer long. Let’s reflect the achievements of our readers and its obvious link to advocacy work, both for us, the teachers, and the school librarians we serve. Highlights of my summer include the sense of accomplishment on the face of a reader who has finished their requisite number of books or pages. It takes determination for these kids, even when it’s fun. And if your library is like mine, the number of readers meeting their goals each year is growing. It’s obvious that for many kids our summer reading…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy: Think Nationally/Act Locally

Image courtesy of EveryLibrary.org Few of us have the opportunity to participate in ALA’s National Library Legislation Day—but did you know that very best and most effective library and political advocacy is actually local? Here are a few simple “how to’s” that will keep you in the know and build your knowledge and skills around advocacy… for national library legislation, for funding, and sensible Federal regulations that can have a powerful local impact. 1. Register to vote via your local Board of Elections. or by mail . Though many folks prefer not registering for a specific party (they like their Independent voter status) being a party member does allow you to vote in party primaries. 2. Vote in every election you can. If you cannot vote in person—be sure to secure an absentee ballot. (My Congresswoman in the NY–9 was primaried this year. I was able to vote before I left…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Serving on the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation Committee

After three years, my time on the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation Committee has come to an end. When I was first asked to serve on this committee, my initial reaction was to decline (hard pass). What did I know about advocacy (besides being a loud mouth) or legislation (besides that it is usually complicated), in relation to libraries? After talking it out with friends, I regained my composure to accept the initial appointment, and a later appointment as co-chair. Because, ultimately, I saw not only an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact in the profession, but a learning opportunity for myself. As my final act on this committee I wanted to share with you some of the work this committee has done, and encourage you to be involved in a process committee in the future.   During the last three years, this committee has: Changed to a fully virtual…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018 as Advocacy Tool

If you haven’t seen or heard, OCLC has partnered with PLA, and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, and recently released a report on library perceptions and support among US voters. It’s called From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018. This new report can be compared to a similar study done by OCLC in 2008 called From Awareness to Funding: A Study of Library Support in America. There is a free webinar, presented by WebJunction, which presents the new research findings with comparisons to the research done 10 years earlier. These findings can help shape our advocacy efforts. Hence the hashtag: #awareness2funding ! According to the new study, a majority of US voters value public libraries. That’s good news! However, the study also included some disheartening news, especially in the Youth Services world. Brace yourselves… Fewer voters are likely to see the library as…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Get ready for National Library Legislative Day 2018

Hello, Friends! It’s time once again to make plans for National Library Legislative Day (NLDD). This year’s two-day event will be held on May 7th and 8th in Washington, DC. For those unfamiliar, NLLD brings together librarians, trustees, and other library supporters to advocate for library funding and support for library issues. Attendees attend a day-long advocacy training and briefing on the legislative issues, then put their skills to work the following day on Capitol Hill. Registration for the in-person event has closed; however, you can still participate virtually from your home or office. Register to participate at home and you’ll receive all the information and tips to get in on the action. This year, the Advocacy and Legislation Committee is asking librarians and other library supporters to participate virtually by creating your own Libraries Transform ‘Because statement’ and sharing your statement and a photo on social media to extend…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

An Advocate at the Kid’s Desk

As a relatively new librarian who is also new to ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation Committee, I am still learning the role of a librarian advocate. I’ll be honest, it often feels overwhelming. I’ll add that this feeling may never dissipate. There is a lot to think about. From local to state and federal stakeholders, I often feel my perch at the kid’s desk isn’t the place where real advocacy happens. How can I rally support for libraries at all levels? It’s not just a question I ask myself as a member of this committee. I am sure it’s a question we all pose to ourselves. So today, I’ll keep it simple. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that we advocate library services every day and we do it from our desks in the kid’s area. Let’s keep it up and consider being more intentional in our everyday advocacy. ALA provides a…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

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…