2016 Annual Report
The full report discusses our strong donor support, our campaigns wins for public libraries, our growth supporting school library communities, the extensive outreach we are doing to voters and Americans through VoteLibraries and our Action platform, and a host of thanks to our volunteers, donors, supporters, and corporate partners. The Executive Summary is provided for your review below.
In 2016, EveryLibrary crossed a few important milestones. With over 60 library campaigns supported and 45 wins, we can proudly say we have helped over secure over $200 million in stable tax funding for those libraries. We grew our social media reach by 10 times in 2016 and are now able to communicate directly and effectively with over 100,000 Americans through our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Our key strategic initiative was launching our Action platform at action.everylibrary.org. This allows us to create and field petition drives and other calls-to-action that have supported individual librarians and the future of the entire library industry. In its first 11 months, hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life and in all 50 states responded to one of our 16 actions. Our work continues to be pro-bono for the libraries and local YES committees we support because of our robust donor support. We are pleased to report adding 8 new sustaining corporate donors and renewing the majority of legacy vendor donors. Our average personal donation held steady at $48 per year and hundreds of new individual donors signed on as recurring donors at a $7.45 average monthly rate.
Campaign Wins and Losses in 2016
We were proud to work with 26 library communities on ballot measure to renew or extend funding in 2016. The smallest was a $9,500 annual levy for the Moniteau County Library in Missouri (a .02 cent funding request).The largest was a new $12 million levy for the Mid-Continent Library District, a 3 county service area (also in Missouri) serving nearly over 900,000 people. We helped the town of Jeannette, PA. preserve library services there with a new dedicated $58,000 annual levy. Without that funding, the library would have closed. Sadly, the voters in Douglas County, OR. rejected a measure to save their library by voting against a special library district. That library is set to close in June 2017.
Koch Brothers and AFP
In March, were hit with an unwelcome ‘any tax is a bad tax’ development this year when the anti-tax mega PAC Americans for Prosperity came out actively against the Plainfield Public Library in Illinois. Funded by the Koch Brothers, AFP put out targeted direct mail against the library and ran a series of robocalls urging people to Vote NO on the library measure. In classic AFP fashion, they didn’t address the plan for the library, they simply targeted it because it was a new tax. Unfortunately, despite a great local Get Out the Vote campaign, we did not have enough resources to overcome this attack and the measure was defeated. In November, the Koch Brothers again targeted another Illinois library measure, this time in Fox River Valley, helping to defeat that referendum as well.
ESSA and School Libraries
EveryLibrary is working with 18 state level school library associations to lobby for school library programs and school librarians in their states’ ESSA Plans. These ESSA Plans will set the policy framework and budget priorities in all 50 states for the next several years. Our work with each state school library association includes training, coaching, and providing technical assistance as they develop and advance their policy agendas. Rosen Publishing provided a capacity-building donation to support our work along with much needed logistical and tactical support. Right now, the state plans are being drafted and school library stakeholders are making good progress. All state ESSA plans due to be sent to the US Department of Education in April 2017.
Last year we were proud to unveil VoteLibraries, a unique series of campaign ready images designed for libraries. In 2016, we expanded the scope of the project to include direct social media marketing to voters in support of library campaigns and issues across the country. This call to action included a “Pledge to Support Libraries on Election Day” and ways to immediately support local libraries on the ballot. Through a partnership with OverDrive and early donor support from Mango Languages and Demco, VoteLibraries 2016 reached over 1.2 million Americans during 42 state Primaries and the General Election in November.
2017 Campaign Agenda and Coalition Work
Following the 2016 elections, our vision and mission for supporting libraries remains clear. We are anticipating significant changes in the way that the federal government sets priorities and funds programs. We stand ready to support local libraries – public, school and academic – as the pressures on local and state budgets inevitably increased in response to federal cuts. We are actively engaged in building new coalitions for libraries and librarians to support our goals and advance our agenda. Our capacity to realize our 2017 Agenda and operationalize our coalition strategy is only limited by our funding.