A Word about EveryLibrary from John Berry
John Berry has been thinking, speaking, and publishing about library advocacy since before I was born.
His arguments sometimes ruffle feathers and he always makes people think. He takes the long view but knows that every battle for funding, every line on the budget about staffing and collections, and each change in the public's perception of libraries truly matters. It is a series of small victories and setbacks that inform the library advocacy ecosystem.
I am very glad that EveryLibrary has caught his attention. His October 1, 2012 column "A New Weapon for Budgets: EveryLibrary" discusses how a PAC for libraries can be a powerful force for library advocacy. In his column the previous month - and just prior to announcing EveryLibrary's creation - he correctly notes that "[m]any library leaders have discovered that if they go directly to the public ballot for funding, the library will do much better than if they have to go through the political and budgeting processes of local, state, and federal government. Libraries don’t do well no matter the position of a politician on the political spectrum" (Sept 1, 2012 "It's Time to Fix Library Advocacy, Now"). This is exactly why we exist. EveryLibrary looks forward to supporting local library ballot committees on voter outreach and get out the vote work.
Back to his October 1st, 2012 column:
"Antigovernment and antitax forces have beaten back library enterprises much more frequently in recent years." As I reported in that September 1 column, mayors of several major U.S. cities have targeted library budgets for reduction despite their tiny share of city taxes. Governors from both major political parties have savaged state funding."
"EveryLibrary is a direct, aggressive way to combat these toxic forces. In the past, libraries have been able to ride out bad times and accept small reductions in services, collections, and hours. These losses have now become much too deep and are inflicting nearly fatal wounds to needed library service in too many places in America. EveryLibrary offers the first potentially effective way to begin to turn the tide."
As EveryLibrary gears up and fundraises, our continued pledge is to be a PAC that is unusually transparent, to be an ally and supporter of the local library ballot committee, and to help tell the story about how libraries change lives and build communities to voters.
With thanks to John Berry for his thoughtful support and the opportunity to be featured in Library Journal.