Introduction To Frontline Advocacy

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This is a PowerPoint presentation I created as part of the self-paced tutorial on Frontline Advocacy.

This is a PowerPoint presentation I created as part of the self-paced tutorial on Frontline Advocacy.

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  • 1. Introduction to Frontline Advocacy A PowerPoint Presentation by Caroline Han Pasadena Public Library
  • 2. What is Frontline Advocacy?
    • It is using your position as a library employee to promote your local library and encourage the support of patrons.
    • It is not traditional lobbying .
    • It is positive word-of-mouth & persuasion .
    • It is letting patrons know what your library offers, and what it needs to sustain those offers.
  • 3. Who Does Frontline Advocacy?
    • People who work directly with patrons:
      • Reference Librarians, YA Librarians
      • Circulation Staff, Pages
    • Everyone else:
      • They represent the public library to their friends, families, and acquaintances.
    • You are your library’s best advocate!
  • 4. Why Frontline Advocacy?
    • Now, when people need libraries more than ever , libraries receive less funding than ever. Pasadena Public Library is no exception.
    • The recent recession means:
      • More families borrowing instead of buying books, music, or movies.
      • More job seekers using library resources.
      • More government temptation to slash budgets.
  • 5. Why Me?
    • You know your library best.
      • Its resources, services, & programs
      • Its current issues
      • Its patrons and their needs
    • You are the first face patrons associate with your library.
      • Not library directors or administration!
    • You have an impact on your patrons, intentionally or not.
      • Via minor actions and comments.
  • 6. Positive impressions, interactions, and experiences can mean more support from patrons. Meanwhile, word of mouth can spread around – up to the power of eight! Patron support can make a real difference in tough times! “ Frontline advocacy is about putting your library front and center at every opportunity. It’s about saying and doing the little things on a daily basis that give others positive feelings and an appreciation of your library” ( “Frontline Advocacy Begins with You,” 2010, para. 5). “ Most of us who work in libraries - public, school, academic or special - believe in what we do. Advocacy is simply a way to share that with others” (“Every Voice Makes A Difference,” 2010, p. 1). “ It’s any interaction you have that gives you the opportunity to share information about your library's strengths and needs” (“Frontline Advocacy for Libraries,” 2010, slide 5).
  • 7. Examples
    • At Work:
      • If discussing a library-related issue, offer bookmarks or brochures on that issue.
      • Alert patrons to services or resources pertinent to their current needs, such from childcare to elder care.
      • When thanking patrons or wishing them goodbye, remind them that current library services or programs depend on their continued support.
    • Outside Work:
      • If a friend or family member has a problem (ex: choosing between colleges or job offers), remind him or her about the library has many books on tackling that problem.
      • When introducing yourself to strangers, say something along the lines of, “I work for you – that is, I work at the local public library. Do you have a library card?”
  • 8. More Examples
    • Everyday Advocacy:
      • Reminding people on an ongoing, everyday basis about library’s resources and activities pertinent to them.
      • Promoting library resources at natural points in a conversation.
      • Probably what you are (or should be) doing already.
    • Issue-Related:
      • Communicating a special message, or advocating for a specific outcome of an important library issue, in selected contexts.
      • More strategic, deliberate and planned
      • Interjects specific issues into message.
  • 9. Advice for Frontline Advocates
    • Understand your library and its issues.
      • Strengths and weaknesses?
      • What would happen were it to vanish?
    • Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.
      • If shy, begin slow and gradually spread outward.
      • Start with friends, family, & neighbors.
    • Timing is everything.
      • Draw on extensive experience with patrons to pinpoint the best times to advocate in front of them.
    • Practice, practice, practice!
      • Don’t whine. Don’t be obvious or pushy.
      • Don’t let negative responses discourage you!
  • 10. Bibliography & Extra Reading
    • American Library Association. (2010). Where the Action is: Advocating for Your Library from the Front Line [Slide Show]. Retrieved from
    • American Library Association. (2010). Every Voice Makes a Difference [PDF]. Retrieved from
    • (2010). Frontline Advocacy Toolkit. American Library Association. Retrieved from
      • (2010). Frontline Advocacy for Public Libraries. American Library Association . Retrieved from
  • 11. The End Thanks for reading, but your work is just beginning!