How Your Friends and Other Groups can Support Your Library Campaign

Voters in Burley, Idaho approved a measure to increase the funding for the Burley Public Library in their May 19th election. They will receive $19,000 per year in additional funding. 

This post was written by Susan Swanton, Board Member At Large New York Library Association's Board of the Friends of Libraries Section.

As a Group:

  1. Appoint a liaison from your group to your library’s campaign committee or governing board. Regular reports from your liaison will ensure you are all on the same page
  2. Put Friends' money where Friends can lead community perception. Think of the circles of giving, Friends rank closest to the library!
  3. Shape a joint PR message with the Library Board. Remember the Library Board sets policy, the Director implements and the Friends support those policies. And stay on message by designating a Friends' spokesperson. Beware of casual remarks made in the community.
  4. Be visible in the community: attend boards of library funders [town, city, county]. March in parades. Remember, elected officials see organized support groups as blocks of voters they want. Be represented at any official event in your community; give a rose at the annual Memorial Day event if other community groups also participate then. Sell Friends' book bags with the Friends' logo so they’re everywhere
  5. Participate in campaign letter writing, website, and Facebook postings. Repeat, repeat, repeat core message. Schedule letters to the editor and collaborate on their content.
  6. Lead in Get Out the Vote [GOTV] efforts. Sign up all your members to cover their neighborhood, either on foot or with phone call reminders. Whoever gets the most voters to the polls wins.

As an Individual:

  1. Be an active Friends board member. Know what’s going on with campaign goals.
  2. Think before saying anything to anyone; every time you open your mouth about the library, you are campaigning.
  3. Model by giving to the campaign personally.
  4. Ask your family and friends to match your donation even if they don’t live in town; if they know this campaign matters to you, they will donate something and every $10 counts!
  5. Sign up to participate in a letter writing campaign or to do Facebook postings. Tell others why the library matters to you and what it represents in your life and your family’s life.
  6. When GOTV crunch time comes around, remember that campaigns are won and lost in the last 72 hours. Pull out all the stops for you personally!

This week’s Lib Elections News

Voters in Burley, Idaho approved a measure to increase the funding for the Burley Public Library in their May 19th election. They will receive $19,000 per year in additional funding. Potsdam Public Library (NY) will also see an increase in funding of about $14,000 per year. The measure was passed by 76%. Unfortunately, a measure to create a library district in Cohoes, NY was defeated by a pretty large margin on June 9. The library will continue to be supported by the city and suffered deep budget cuts in 2014.

Spokane County Library District (WA) has a bond on the August 4 ballot. The $22 million would fund two new libraries and repurposing/expanding of two existing libraries in Spokane and Millwood. In 2014, voters approved a proposition to secure the facility areas, but did not pass the proposition to fund the projects. In Baton Rouge (LA), Council members voted 7-3 last week to add a millage increase for the library to the October 24 ballot. The proposed raise is from 10.78 up to 11.1 mills which was approved by voters in 2005 and then rolled back. In January a decrease to library funding was being discussed and Council members cited messages of support from the public as something that changed their minds.

Other Happenings

Join EveryLibrary Board Member, Erica Findley, 6/17 for a free webinar on using social media for library advocacy. Erica will join a panel of experts from small libraries and other advocacy orgs to talk effective and practical strategies for communicating the value of your library. Brought to you by TechSoup for Libraries. Register today.