Blogger Public Awareness and Advocacy Committee

Make Time for Library Advocacy in 2021: Tips for Connecting with Your Elected Officials

The start of a new year is a great time to set new goals, work on new projects, and begin advocating for libraries! Reaching out to share information about your library and voicing your opinions on legislation that impacts libraries can lead to tangible benefits in terms of funding and community support. However, getting started in advocacy often can feel intimidating and overwhelming. To help, Justin de la Cruz, Chair of the Committee on Library Advocacy, and Joe Thompson, Chair of the Committee on Legislation, have answered some questions you may have so you, too, can advocate like a pro!

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Because Libraries Are Constantly Evolving: How to Get Stakeholders Involved in Virtual Programming

For Public Library Youth Services staff, summer programming is often the busiest time of the year when we are most visible to our communities. As libraries around the country work to transition to new virtual summer reading and learning programs, we can still reach out to our stakeholders, show them the importance and benefit of the work we are doing, and involve them in our virtual programming. Here are some tips to make the most of programming with your stakeholders during this time: Find out what your library’s procedures are for reaching out to stakeholders first and get the support of your manager. Learn about your stakeholders’ interests before reaching out to them. For instance, if you are contacting members of your City Council or Library Board, try to find out what issues they are already passionate about, such as equity, sustainability, or education, and brainstorm ways you can tie…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

I still get asked how much it costs to get a book from the library

It’s true. Twice this year I have been asked this question. Just recently I was attending a wedding and a friend from college asked me, “I know this might be a dumb question but…how much does it cost to rent a book from the library?” It really took me by surprise. Did I show it? No way! I seized the opportunity to nicely and enthusiastically educate my friend, using the following points: -“Library books are always FREE to checkout! Isn’t that amazing!? Going to library programs and events are always free too.”   -“The only time you might have to pay the library is if you turn a book back in late after it’s due.”   -“HOWEVER, with EBooks and audiobooks online you never have to worry about that, because they check back in automatically!”   It was great seeing things click and the lightbulb go off in my friend’s…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

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…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Making a New Promise with Our Community

At the ALA Midwinter Conference in Anaheim, Carolyn Brodie, incoming president of ALSC, chose to focus her message for ALSC leaders on the subject of ADVOCACY.  As advocacy is a major direction in the Division’s strategic plan, she wanted the ALSC Board, Priority Group Consultants and Committee Chairs to have the tools that they needed to be informed and knowledgeable.  They, in turn, were charged to provide the information and spread the word to the ALSC membership. The dynamic David Lankes* talked to us about “Making a New Promise with our Community!” It was a presentation packed full of enthusiasm, humor, wisdom and inspiration. David’s message to all of us is that for our libraries to be successful in the future, we need to think beyond the traditional concepts of the library in the community. David points out that “the mission of librarianship is to improve society through the facilitation…