2015 Annual Report
Our 2015 Annual Report name checks a lot of people, partners, and campaigns. We’re really proud of that. Over 1,000 personal donors self-identify on our donation site. Fourteen corporate donors make the “Thank you” list (with 8 re-ups from 2014). The 10 campaigns we worked with are close to our hearts. We started a new journal and partnered on several coalitions. We were honored by dozens of volunteers, event co-hosts, and capacity builders who wanted to share their time and talents. We were lucky to add 2 new Advisory Committee members and Brian Hart, our newest board member.
It was a great year for the organization. We grew and we learned, which is nice. But we also won some elections and helped a few budget negotiations succeed, which is results. Our work through 2015 now impacts over $64 million dollars in library operating or building projects. We’ve done 33 campaigns and had 25 wins. Next year, we’re hoping to do another 18 or so. We’d like to get our total wins to $100 million in stable tax money for libraries.
We’re only able to do any of this because of our donors. You can make 2016 great for us, again, by donating today. A one-time donation is lovely. A monthly recurring one is awesome. Our promise to you is that we’ll take every dollar you give and turn it into wins for libraries and revenue that hires staff, builds 21st century libraries, and gives librarians the resources they need to be more effective for their communities.
The executive summary of our 2015 Annual Report is available below. The entire report is available as a PDF for easy print or screen reading.
Thank you for the opportunity to put our mission of building voter support for libraries to work in 2016.
everylibrary / 2015 annual report – executive summary
EveryLibrary helps secure funding for libraries at the ballot box. We train, coach, and consult with library communities on Information Only and Vote YES campaigns. EveryLibrary is donor supported in our pro-bono work. We believe that any library campaign anywhere should matter to every library everywhere.
EveryLibrary continues to grow and be effective as the first national political action committee for libraries. Our goals for 2015 were aggressive and focused on winning elections for libraries while building our capacity as a fundraising organization, a thought leader in the development of librarianship as a profession, and by sharing what we have learned about voter attitudes to a wide ranging audience inside and outside this industry. This year, we have grown stronger through the support of new and renewing donors. As 2016 begins to unfold, EveryLibrary is ready to meet new challenges and leverage new opportunities for libraries—and librarians—in the political landscape.
In 2015 we were proud to work on 10 library elections in nine states. From small communities like Darby, Montana, and the River East Library District in Illinois to major cities like New Orleans and the metro area of Portland, EveryLibrary added six wins to our roster of successful library elections, moving our per annum total of operating and building initiatives to $64.4 million (from $42 million in 2014). While several of our libraries did not succeed at the polls this year, we have identified the key reasons for Election Day failures in each and remain committed to helping these communities succeed in the future.
For every dollar we have invested in Library Vote YES campaigns since we began in 2013, over $1,600 has been won at local elections. We project providing pro-bono support to as many as 18 library communities with referendums for operating and facilities on the ballot in 2016.
Our mission is to build voter support for libraries, and our vision is that “any library campaign anywhere should matter to every library everywhere.” To make these aspirations come to life across the country, we launched VoteLibraries.org and a suite of new #votelibraries campaign marketing images in 2015. Launched with support from Mango Languages, VoteLibraries.org includes copyright-free resources for any library campaign to use in Information Only and Vote Yes contexts. We were honored to have nearly 40 individuals donate to help us partner with The Creative Action Network on producing high quality, attractive art and design from more than a dozen artists.
In 2016, we are planning to deploy a #VoteLibraries message in every state during the presidential primary and general election cycle and encourage widespread use of the new art and design across library campaign social media.
The Political Librarian
As the first political action committee for libraries, we are building a body of practical experience in the political arena and shaping a new dialogue around libraries and librarians that must be shared with the profession. We understand that political literacy is a critical skill that needs to be taught in library school and re-engaged throughout one’s professional life. In 2015, we launched a new journal, The Political Librarian, to add fresh voices to a unique discussion of local public policy and tax policy for libraries. EveryLibrary is soliciting opinion pieces, white papers, and peer reviewed submissions to leaven the scholarship within the profession.
At EveryLibrary, we understand the power of convening people to discover new ideas, support each other, and do great, even unexpected, things. In 2015, we were honored to host what is perhaps the first Artist-In-Residence program at any political action committee. Cincinnati-based artist/librarian Steve Kemple produced a series of eight virtual installations on the theme of “We’re In This Together” that ranged from a simulated submarine dive at the reference desk and cataloging the sunset to the wildly popular #High5aLibrarianDay, which will now be celebrated annually on November 18. We need to be as comfortable talking about taxes and politics as
we are about art and ideas. We will be welcoming a new EveryLibrary artist-in-residence in the second half of 2016.
Since our founding in 2012, EveryLibrary has operated under law and regulation governing 501c4 organizations in our fundraising and reporting. We are pleased to share that as of January 2015, the IRS has approved our K-1024 application and granted us official status as a 501c4 Social Welfare Organization. This was the final step in establishing EveryLibrary as the first nationwide political action committee for libraries.
We are honored to have over 1,000 personal donors who see EveryLibrary as a smart, strategic, and effective organization in the library advocacy ecosystem. Since starting our work in late 2012, EveryLibrary has helped 33 library communities—both large and small—to have a new discussion in their towns, cities, and counties about library funding at the ballot box. With 25 wins to date, for every dollar of donor support we have invested in these campaigns we have helped win $1,600 for operations, facilities, and staff. As of the close of 2015, we have helped win over $64 million in stable tax funding for libraries on a per annum basis.
Our average one-time personal donation is $48.50, which exceeds the industry average. In response to donor interest, we now have an option for monthly recurring donations of as little as $5.00 per month. This not only makes it easier for donors to support our work, but it provides a smoother cash flow for operational expenses. We want to offer special thanks to two corporate donors, Library Juice Academy and ByWater Solutions, for making donations this year specifically to encourage new individual monthly donors. We are especially grateful to Michael Golrick and Aaron Dobbs, two longtime donors and supporters, for each making personal challenge/matches happen this year as well. Their collective encouragement to the larger community brought in dozens of new and renewing monthly donors, doubling their own donations.
Our vision as a political action committee is to support any library on the ballot anywhere because every library matters in our society. We are proud to have grown new corporate support during 2015 to help us realize this vision for library funding at the ballot box, and to have renewed all of our 2014 corporate donors as well. Their donations provide us with the tactical resources we needed to support 10 campaigns in 2015 and to begin the early work of supporting another 18 to 20 campaigns in 2016.
2015 was our third year of campaign work. As we continue to cultivate new awareness and relationships around the library industry, we are delighted to find new vendors and organizations who share a common concern for the future of library funding at the local level and who identify our work as an effective way to address the problem by winning elections for libraries. In 2015, we were proud to add six new library vendors to our roster of donors. Please join us in thanking EBSCO, Gale Cengage, Innovative Interfaces, Library Juice Academy, Noll & Tam Architects, and Tech Logic for their donations.
We would like to highlight five special projects by our library vendor donors that would not have been possible without their vision:
Brainfuse, Inc.—“Smart and Fun” party and social event sponsors
Mango Languages—VoteLibraries.org launch partner and sponsor
Gale, a part of Cengage Learning—Marketing capacity project sponsor
Library Journal—Lead the Change and Directors Summit speaker participation
Tech Logic—Expect More Series speaker participation
2015 Corporate Donors
Gale, Cengage Learning
Library Juice Academy
Noll & Tam, Architects
EveryLibrary is unique in our ability to work with the staff and elected/appointed leadership of libraries on planning and executing effective Information Only campaigns as well as being able to actively engage local ballot committees and citizen groups in advising and consulting on Get Out the Vote (GOTV) and voter engagement for the library measure. Since our founding in late 2012, EveryLibrary has provided pro-bono support to 33 library communities at the ballot box. To date, we have helped secure over $64 million in stable tax revenue for these communities. Please review our 10 campaigns in 2015 including New Orleans, Darby MT, and Cedar Rapids, IA.
In 2016, EveryLibrary looks forward to continuing our mission to build voter support for libraries by providing direct support to 20 library communities as they go to the ballot. Our vision that “Any library election anywhere should matter to every library everywhere” will continue to be realized as our VoteLibraries.org website and action platform scales up to reach the public. A new, key focus of our attention will be sharing a #votelibraries message state-by-state during each of the presidential primaries and nationally on Election Day in November. Our Board and Advisors will keep up a full schedule of speaking and training at conferences around the country. We look forward to Issue 2 and 3 of The Political Librarian and we are interested in you contributing to this dialog. Throughout the year, we will be announcing new collaborative partnerships and coalitions that advance both specific action-outcomes as well as building capacity for our work.
Our donors make this all possible. We are experts in putting our donor support to work winning elections, building awareness for libraries and librarians, and changing the dialog within our industry about political literacy. Please consider making a one-time or recurring personal donation at our new VoteLibraries action site: https://www.everylibrary.org/donate. Corporate and vendor donors are welcome. Please contact [email protected] to make arrangements.