Advocacy and Community Relations
Effective Advocacy is Local
Results from surveys conducted by the State Library show that advocacy is one of the services that librarians want the State Library to provide. This is one of the State Library's responsibilities. However, much of the advocacy literature points out that the most effective advocacy efforts are local.
- leaving the comfort of the library’s walls and getting out into the community
- establishing relationships with the decision makers and citizens
- speaking one message that the library matters to the community
- writing letters to your representatives or the board of selectmen in your town; write to your state legislative leaders
- attending hearings or sessions that are of crucial importance to libraries
Advocacy Tools from the State Library
Some files below are PDF files and require the free Adobe Reader.
- Library Use Value Calculator
- Value of MSL Services Calculator: What would be the impact on your library's budget if the Maine State Library didn't provide, subsidize or negotiate for some of the services libraries and their patrons use every day?
- Value Calculator for School Libraries
More Advocacy Tools
- MARVEL Cost Savings [PDF, 82 KB]
- Statistics from the Annual Report - See tips on how to use these numbers.
- Testify before Joint Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs and Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs
- Try this tip! Libraries can figure out how much it costs per household per month to fund them. For example if Library A receives $8,000 annually and there are 200 households in town, it costs $3.33 per month per household to support the library. Compare that with the cost of Internet, telephone, cable, heat, electric or any other monthly billing item.
Courses and webinars
- How One Advocacy Action Per Month Can Change the World [webinar archive from ALA Washington, 2011]
- WebJunction Maine: The Maine State Library sponsors these free WebJunction courses for the professional development of Maine library staff who register with WebJunction Maine. A combination of free and low cost ($10-$50) courses designed for librarians.
Maximize the Potential of Your Public Library: "Learn how public libraries can help local governments tackle critical community priorities such as economic development, public safety, environmental sustainability, cultural diversity, education, and literacy." 2011 publication
New Jersey's Seven Simple Steps to Advocacy Success: "The Staff can be the Key to a Great Relationship" and more
American Library Association Resources
American Library Association Advocacy University resources, courses and tools to help library advocates make the case at the local level. all listed below from this ALA resource link.
- Frontline Advocacy Toolkit: Libraries: The Heart of All Communities: This toolkit is designed to motivate, encourage, provide content, train, and educate librarians and library workers at the front lines in advocating for their libraries and their profession.
- Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit: This toolkit contains resources and tools, including newsclips, op-eds and statistics to help library supporters make the case for libraries in tough economic times.
- Budget in the Crosshairs? Navigating a Challenging Budget Year: This guide will help you prepare and plan for your library's survival and growth during tough economic times.
- Add It Up: Research and statistics to help advocates make the case for libraries at every stage of youth development and education.
- Coalition Building: Best practices of successful library coalition building from around the country.
- Making Budget Presentations: Tools, examples and perspectives to make presenting a library budget easier, and to help make your budget presentations more compelling.
Data in Action! " The Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study is a rich resource of data released to computer and Internet access in U.S. public libraries - including available Internet services, support for employment and e-government services, percent of libraries that are the only community provider of free public computer and Internet access, barriers to improved technology access and technology expenditures."
Instead of using the word, "Advocacy" WebJunction uses Community Relations - a page full of resources