Read Our 2020 Annual Report
EveryLibrary is focused on funding for public libraries and school library programs by engaging the political process at local, state, and federal levels. Find out how we are building the largest and most effective network of activists in the United States as we continue to help libraries win the funding they need to serve their communities and campuses in our 2020 Annual Report.
Here at EveryLibrary, we know that funding for public libraries is tied to state and municipal budgets and that the future of school libraries is linked to the stability of education funding. In 2020, pandemic-related economic shutdowns seriously and negatively impact the budgets for public libraries, state libraries and state aid, academic libraries, and school libraries. Because of the structure of local and state tax systems, budgetary choices, and management decisions the disruptions were experienced unevenly. Throughout 2020, EveryLibrary was able to work with dozens of library leaders to address their specific crisis situations or budget requests. Whether it was a public library on the ballot during a very contentious election cycle, school librarians facing budget cuts even as COIVD disrupted education in their districts, or state library association partners grappling with challenges from legislators, EveryLibrary was flexible - and determined - in our responses.
Public Libraries on the Ballot
In 2020, EveryLibrary supported 8 public libraries on their local ballots winning six races. As a 501(c)4 Political Action Committee, EveryLibrary works with library boards and staff on informational communications campaigns and with local citizen ballot committees as they conduct “Get Out the Vote” and “Vote Yes” campaigns for their local library’s ballot measure. Our donors allow us to provide all of our campaign assistance and consulting pro bono and for free. Through 2020, EveryLibrary has helped take 115 libraries to their Election Days winning 84% and securing over $1.8 billion in stable funding for those libraries. Because of the pandemic, voting rights and ballot access was of particular concern for EveryLibrary. In 2020, EveryLibrary’s ballot-focused legislative advocacy included support for S. 3529, the National Disaster Emergency Ballot Act, along with advocacy about the funding and functions of the US Postal Services, along with participation in the national coalitions for National Voter Registration Day and National Disability Voter Registration Week.
School Librarian Focus
Through an ongoing partnership with Follett Learning, EveryLibrary continued to support school library budgets and school librarians through its SaveSchoolLibrarians.org digital action site and through advocacy partnerships with state school library associations and organizations. The COVID-related shutdown to schools created significant pressures on education funding in some localities. EveryLibrary was able to respond rapidly when school librarian jobs were threatened. Important 2020 campaigns included the Rally to Restore School Librarians with the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association and extensive direct actions with the Washington, D.C. Teachers Union (WTU Local 6) in support of over 100 school librarians at the District of Columbia Public Schools. As the pandemic advanced, EveryLibrary worked to support several education funding bills and measures at the state and local level. In Arizona, EveryLibrary was the national partner to the Arizona Library Association teacher-librarian section’s coalition involvement in the campaign to pass Proposition 208, the Invest in Education Act, which reindexes state income taxes to properly fund education, including school libraries. At the federal level, EveryLibrary fielded several education-focused direct advocacy campaigns to Congress about bills such as the Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act (CCCERA), H.R. 8691, the Education Jobs Fund, and education funding provisions in the December 2020 Continuing Resolution and Pandemic Relief Bill.
Focus on Library Workers
Early in the pandemic, EveryLibrary called on library leaders to close libraries to public service and provide for ongoing employment and appropriate accommodations to staff. As the shutdowns and service disruptions approach the one-year mark next month, EveryLibrary continues to focus on the people who work in public, school, and academic libraries by advocating for policies, funding, and legislation that supports their work-life, homelife, and wellbeing. Throughout this pandemic, too many library workers have been personally affected and financially impacted. During the shut-downs, EveryLibrary took early actions and kept a consistent focus on the health, wellbeing, and financial security of library staff and librarians across all types of libraries. As the pandemic moves through a very difficult second wave, EveryLibrary will continue to make choices about our work and approach that are informed by the day-to-day realities for the people who work in our nation's libraries.
EveryLibrary supported the creation and deployment of the “Help a Library Worker Out” (HALO) mutual aid program from its companion organization the EveryLibrary Institute. The HALO Fund provided personal cash grants to individuals in financial need. Over $80,000 was riased and distribute to affected library workers and librarians from school, public, and academic settings. EveryLibrary also issued early guidance to library non-profits on provisions within the CARES Act for continuity of operations and payroll protections for workers and staff. As a viable vaccine began to roll out across the country, EveryLibrary took a principled position to include library workers at public libraries and academic institutions in state or local Phase 1B or 1C vaccination plans.
Marketing Libraries During the Shutdown
As the pandemic shutdowns impacted education across the country and public libraries were forced to close to public services, EveryLibrary dedicated significant resources through the Libraries2020 campaign to advertise the collections, programs, and services from public libraries, state libraries, school and academic libraries to the public, especially to parents and other stakeholders, through its extensive social media networks and via paid advertising on search engines. This promotional activity was focused on connecting potential users with important resources with the aim of highlighting the role and impact of libraries during the pivot to digital, online, and virtual. Since early in the pandemic, EveryLibrary has encouraged public libraries to consider the economic impact of their purchasing decisions on their local communities and has encouraged library boards to adopt “buy local” policies to support business and suppliers.
Library Advocacy and Funding Conference
EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute co-hosted the inaugural Library Advocacy and Funding Conference (LAFCON) as an online event in September 2020. The conference was uniquely positioned in the library advocacy ecosystem to connect over 1,000 attendees from the United States and abroad with more than 50 presenters from outside of libraries who focus on political action, advocacy, fundraising, organizing, and digital engagement. This conference was launched in response to the unprecedented budgetary pressures that libraries were facing during the pandemic and which all libraries should anticipate in the years to come. Attendees self-reported a high level of satisfaction with the format and content of the conference. Subsequent Library Advocacy and Funding Conferences and convenings are planned.
Donors Support Our Advocacy and Activism
At the close of 2020, the EveryLibrary network of library activists is well over 200,000 people who have taken an active role in at least one of our direct actions or digital advocacy campaigns for libraries. Over 350,000 people are aligned with us on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media giving us a significant reach to activate Americans for libraries. Despite the difficulties presented by COVID shutdowns and disruptions, we are very proud to report that we reached 93% of our 2020 fundraising goals. Over 3,400 individuals donated an average of $56.60 each to help enable and actualize our work. Hundreds of monthly donors and one-time gift-givers ensure that our operations are sustainable.
Our vendor donors and corporate partners have always been our capacity-builders. In 2020, their support enabled us to quickly respond to COIVD-related crisis for libraries and operationalize important projects like the Library Advocacy and Funding Conference and our digital magazine for the public on Medium. Our colleagues at Follet Learning, Bibliotheca, Gale Public Libraries, Ebsco, Sirsi Dynix, Tech Logic, Galicia Group, PIK Inc / International Library Services, and Mango Languages have been true partners. We are fortunate to have mission-aligned support from vendors like Beanstack, Counting Opinions, Communico, Bywater Solutions, Engberg Anderson Architects, Niche Academy, Overdrive, Recorded Books, Library Juice Academy, Noll & Tam, Library Journal, and ReThinking Libraries in 2020. These organizations support EveryLibrary because of our unique and dedicated focus on the future of libraries.
Join the Fight for America's Libraries
Here at EveryLibrary, we believe that all Americans deserve free and open access to education, literacy, and our shared culture and heritage through libraries. We believe that every student deserves a school library program that supports the curriculum and a school librarian staffing that largest classroom in the school. We, quite simply, admire and support librarians. They do the important work of connecting people to whatever they need. It is because of this that are at work every day trying to win elections for libraries, to save school librarian jobs, and to advance the idea that America is a better place when libraries are open, thriving, and properly funded. We think that each and every library matters whether it is in a school or on campus or at the center of a neighborhood or town. If you believe like we do that is important work, please join us.
Thank you for downloading the 2020 EveryLibrary Annual Report. We can only continue this fight for libraries in 2021 with your support. Please donate today and help us connect with more Americans who care about the future of libraries.
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