EveryLibrary Launches New Organizing Platform, Fight For the First

The First Amendment is under attack. A startling increase in book banning and attacks on public libraries is taking place across the country, attacks frequently backed by powerful organizations with extremist political aims.

One chilling example is the 20% loss of voter support for libraries in the last ten years (according to the latest Awareness to Funding report). Even more alarming, these unprecedented attacks frequently target members of marginalized and historically disenfranchised communities, such as people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ population.

Fight For the First: A powerful new FREE platform to support grassroots action.

Fight for the First is a new line of defense against these attacks. Developed by EveryLibrary, a 501c(4) organization with national reach, and the EveryLibrary Institute (a 501c3), Fight for the First empowers communities to act in defense of their constitutional right to free speech. Our first goal is to overcome book-banning efforts underway across the country. Second, we will shore up protections for public and school libraries that are at imminent risk of hostile defunding attacks. 

EveryLibrary launched a beta version of Fight for the First eight weeks ago. In that short time, more than 20,000 Americans have signed dozens of local and statewide petitions against book bans and censorship in the United States. This platform has helped local organizers win in places like Glen Ridge, New Jersey. It helped activists build a campaign against legislation in Utah. It’s helping local community members fight against book bans in Rapides Parish in Louisiana. It is now ready for public release.

Book banning represents a clear and present danger to the constitutional foundations of the United States, and libraries have been at the forefront of this fight for decades. But the fight is changing as massive private interests throw their support behind small, undemocratic activist groups. With this flow of private funding, these otherwise small groups are having increasing success in undermining the right to free speech. Local efforts to fight against book bans often face organizations with extensive reach, funding, and support. 

Empowering Local Coalitions to Fight Special Interests

To counter these special interests, Fight for the First empowers local coalitions that can defeat book-banning attempts already in progress and lay the groundwork to fight such efforts before they even begin. Fight for the First offers the immediate resources that small campaigns need to be successful, as well as the platform to create long-term organizing action. Backed by EveryLibrary’s vast digital reach, with millions of weekly social media impressions, a national voter file in the hundreds of thousands, targeted email lists, and digital advertising dollars, we can offer unprecedented support to local movements working to defend the First Amendment.

In order to be proactive in our fight for the first, we need to do more than just create petitions. Fight for the First utilizes its integrations with EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute to bring national-level political and funding resources to local activists. This effort is rooted in the idea that people should drive social movements through direct action, even when those movements occur online. Existing toolsets for online social campaigns, like Change.org, turn activists into passive recipients rather than engaged citizens. Fight for the First is designed to empower local activists to create immediate and long-lasting change in their community.

EveryLibrary has excelled at defending libraries during the last decade, securing over $2.7 billion dollars in funding for local libraries through pro bono efforts. With the new Fight for the First action platform, we can build a coalition like never before, and stop these anti-democratic efforts before they even begin. For every dollar EveryLibrary spends on fighting for local library campaigns, we raise $1600 in funding. But our ability to connect with and expand current library defense efforts is currently reactive, not proactive. Fight for the First changes that, allowing us to empower local leaders without bottlenecking our resources. It allows us to expand our identified supporters and reach our goal of one million active defenders of libraries and First Amendment rights, at which point our day-to-day operations will become largely self-sustaining with just 7% of those supporters offering donations.