2017 Annual Report
EveryLibrary started with a hope that “any library funding measure anywhere should matter to every library everywhere.” The notion that we are all in this together–as a community of folks who believe in the power of libraries and who support the librarians who serve their communities–is at the core of our organizational values and work. In 2017, we were very effective in winning elections for libraries and helping school librarians whose jobs were threatened.
This year, we took a principled stand against President Trump’s budget cuts to IMLS and school library programs and activated thousands of our fellow Americans to contact Congress to help reverse those cuts. We are proud to have grown as an organization by doubling our vendor-donors and increasing our personal donors by 150%. As we move into our sixth year, EveryLibrary is poised to move from advocacy to activism for libraries. We are dedicated to fixing the funding formula for libraries.
Since 2012, EveryLibrary has helped take 74 libraries to their Election Days. We are proud to have helped them win over $255 million in 56 of those campaigns. Highlights from our 14 library campaigns this year include Rochelle Park, NJ, which now has a municipally funded library; Moniteau County, MO, which is reopening its expanded county library system; St. Clairsville, OH, which finally has local levy funding; and Dallas, TX, where two new libraries will be built and each branch will get long-needed upgrades. By the end of 2018, we expect to work with 20 to 22 more libraries on the ballot in red counties and blue cities.
This year, EveryLibrary expanded our direct support for school libraries and school librarians by launching SaveSchoolLibrarians.org, our direct action digital advocacy platform. We appreciate Follet Learning for making a strategic donation to launch this project. They enabled us to work on more than a dozen actions in support of school librarian jobs or program budgets in schools and districts across the country. We were also able to engage with six state school library associations to provide state-specific support to advance their local advocacy agenda. Highlights include our tactical support for the Illinois School Library Media Association and their “Rally to Restore School Librarians” in Chicago this summer, and our strong support to help reinstate librarian positions at the South Orange School District in New Jersey.
EveryLibrary was proud to activate over 17,000 Americans through SaveIMLS.org to contact Congress and oppose President Trump’s elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) school library grant program in his FY 2018 budget. We appreciate Gale, a Cengage Company for making a tactical donation in support of our activism and outreach. With their support, we were also able to work closely with four state library associations on state-specific SaveIMLS campaigns, and the American Indian Library Association on a campaign to preserve tribal library funding. This powerful mix of locally relevant messaging and targeted political advertising works.
The EveryLibrary Rapid Response Fund aids library communities when they run into a budget crisis with a municipal funder or if they are hit with massive opposition in the last few weeks before an election. With support from Rosen Publishing, we have helped numerous libraries answer that opposition over the years. A Rapid Response highlight this year was our targeted and effective support for the library in Mary Esther, FL. The city council there had promised to defund and close the library. We were able to activate hundreds of direct contacts in support of the library from local stakeholders and national supporters to reverse those cuts. Rosen Publishing was also instrumental in our year-long involvement with the Lilead Project this year. We are very proud to bring our Political Literacy insights to support an amazing cohort of school library leaders as they plan for new programs and enhanced funding outcomes in their districts and states.
We were thrilled to host our second Artist in Residence program to bring the arts and the creative experience to our political work supporting funding for libraries. Cartoonist Kevin Moore joined us for a 10-week residency in 2017 focused on political cartooning and libraries. His cartoons discussed the image of libraries and the role of librarians, and his work was released copyright free for libraries to share across social media. EveryLibrary was also proud to publish Issue 3 of our journal The Political Librarian to foster and encourage a new discussion at the intersection of public policy and tax policy for libraries. In addition, we launched a new digital magazine for the public about libraries and librarians at medium.com/EveryLibrary. It is designed to create and disseminate content that repositions library services and librarianship in the eyes of an interested and under-engaged public.
Finally, our “One Million Americans for Libraries” campaign launched in 2017. It is designed to create the largest group of “reachable and activated” people for library funding activism anywhere. We look at other issue-organizations like the ACLU, the NRA, Human Rights Campaign, the Sierra Club, and the Americans for Prosperity as examples of what effective advocacy groups can accomplish when they have both a legislative agenda and a large grassroots following. We started 2017 with 180,000 people on our Facebook page and 65,000 in our emailable database. We ended the year with over 250,000 people on Facebook and over 90,000 activists in our database. The “One Million Americans for Libraries” campaign will be sustained through 2018 to grow the “reachable and activated” list of people from all walks of life who care about libraries––and are willing to act when asked. We are committed to sharing this list with other library organizations that participate in coalition work. When EveryLibrary activates people through our action.everylibrary.org and SaveSchoolLibrarians.org sites, or through the SaveIMLS.org effort and other state-by-state campaigns, we ask everyone who takes an action to opt-in. We were happy this year to have shared that contact information with partnered library associations, and partner state and national organizations to help build their advocacy capacity.
Because of our donor support, EveryLibrary provides all our consulting services to libraries pro-bono. Our commitment is to provide free consulting, training, coaching, and creative work based on campaign best-practices that are appropriate to each library community. We are entirely donor funded and have a healthy mix of both individual and vendor donors. Individual personal donors average a $53.60 yearly donation. Our monthly donors average $7.26 a month. Vendor and corporate donors average $7,800 yearly, but are only half of our funding. Our annual operating budget for 2017 was $250,000, with one-third going to direct campaign expenditures, one-third to salaries and operations, and one-third to growing our organizational reach. Donors “Return on Investment” is $1: $1600 across our campaign wins.