To help foster, create, and support local friends of the library groups, and to provide a means for these groups to work together for the betterment of library service in South Carolina.
To serve as a resource for local friends groups.
To promote wider knowledge and use of libraries as cultural and information centers for individuals and groups.
To support improved library education in South Carolina.
To support the Library Bill of Rights.
Where to start…
Identify: Who are the advocates?
Librarians and library staff
Build an “Advocacy Network”:
Designate a coordinator
Have a clear message (3-4 words/Slogan)
Create a database of names/contacts
Make sure all receive the library’s newsletter. (If your library doesn’t have a newsletter, volunteer to create one!)
What can be done…
Be enthusiastic and positive
Meet with key community members
Keep supporters informed
Keep up with hot topics like censorship, funding, literacy
Get to know local officials
Participate in legislative day (March 2, 2005)
Hold annual event for supporters
Plan for Action!
Define goals and objectives
Identify critical tasks:
Plan to communicate!
Define the key message
Target the key audiences
Identify communication strategies (see Communications Handbook)
Learn about local and regional media
Be prepared to spread the word in an effective manner! Document!
Learn how to write effective press releases.
Set a timetable
What is important in your community during certain months?
Can you share activities with other groups and offer the library’s meeting facilities?
Focus groups – before and after an advocacy campaign
Questions: Has funding improved?
Did demand for service increase?
Did you receive editorial support?
Did you get requests after items appeared in the media?
What type of comments did you hear? Receive in letters?
Were you successful in building your advocacy network?
Telling your story…
Statistics vs. stories
Thank you letters
Sharing a story with appropriate audience:
Keep it simple, brief and personal.
Have a beginning, middle and end.
Have a good “punch line.”
Do not use real names unless you have been given permission.
The children’s book Dinosaurs Divorce was challenged in one library by a parent who felt it might be distressful for children. However, one little girl wrote a letter to her library saying that book helped her to stop crying because it made her realize that she wasn’t responsible for her parents getting divorced. What if that little girl hadn’t been able to read that book?!
Contact the library
Stay informed – get on mailing lists
Speak up! Talk to neighbors, co-workers, relatives…
Suggest libraries for program topics to outside groups
Attend local government meetings
Call in to radio talk shows
Call, e-mail, write letters to legislators, local officials…