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A Values-Based Approach to Advocating for Your Library


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Presented by Laura K. Lee Dellinger (Metropolitan Group, Principal/Senior Executive Vice President) as part of a program called "Orchestrating PR to Get Funding". Panel was organized by LLAMA - PRMS at ALA Annual 2010.

Learn how to orchestrate your organization’s message for results when speaking to politicians and the public. Hear from speakers who use quantitative and qualitative measures to get funding and advocate for their libraries. Leaders must select focused tools for their audience. Studies have shown that quantitative measures are useful to convince some groups while a story with the personal touch is what convinces others.

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A Values-Based Approach to Advocating for Your Library

  1. 2. A Values-Based Approach to Advocating for Your Library Panel Discussion Sponsored by LLAMA: Orchestrating PR to Attract Funding Laura K. Lee Dellinger Principal/Senior Executive Vice President June 27, 2010
  2. 3. Overview <ul><li>3 Rules for Effective Advocacy </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Examples and Samples </li></ul>
  3. 4. Rule #1 <ul><li>A Library is “worth investing in” only if: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>it DEMONSTRATES that it meets community needs/ matches with community values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>as defined BY THE COMMUNITY </li></ul></ul>
  4. 6. Rules #2 <ul><li>Messaging about the library’s value is only effective if it: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>reflects the reality of people’s experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offers a mix of quantitative and qualitative support </li></ul></ul>
  5. 7. The Persuasion Equation
  6. 8. Rule #3 <ul><li>Advocacy for financial investment in the library begins with </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a VALUES based strategy that </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Actively engages the community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Creates feedback opportunities </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Empower the community as messenger </li></ul></ul></ul>
  7. 10. Case Study <ul><li>Community Context 4 years ago: </li></ul><ul><li>Extreme tax aversion </li></ul><ul><li>No new library construction in more than 50 years </li></ul><ul><li>Major community needs and significant gaps in access to service based on location </li></ul><ul><li>Attempted creation of library district </li></ul><ul><li>Lost battle/won war </li></ul><ul><li>TODAY </li></ul><ul><li>11.5% UNEMPLOYMENT (.05% higher than New Orleans post Katrina) </li></ul><ul><li>No branches closed </li></ul><ul><li>NEW library OPENED </li></ul><ul><li>Main Library Restored AND expanded post flood </li></ul><ul><li>3 new planned AHEAD OF SCHEDULE </li></ul>
  8. 11. How’d they do THAT ????
  9. 12. Community Dialog: Visioning + Master Planning Funding Models: Library District Proposal Community Survey Focus Groups Public Will Building Campaign Lost Battle/Won War New Library Built 1 st in 50+ Years! 3 MORE new libraries coming soon Education & Economic Development
  10. 13. Proof NOT Promises <ul><li>Education and Economic Development (Core Values) are demonstrated through lived experiences: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Programs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Products </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Communication that illustrates how the library lives up to its promises </li></ul>
  11. 14. Empowering Students: Innovative School, Transit and Library Partnership Walks the Talk First year of use kids with these cards checked out 1,000 books a DAY for an entire YEAR. Circulation, reading and technology use have all increased. LFPL now has a dedicated “Office of School Support”
  12. 15. Kicking off the Initiative
  13. 16. Example Campaign Tools
  14. 17. Linking the Library to Education and Life Long Learning
  15. 18. Get specific on the benefits and details
  16. 19. Demonstrate something for everyone
  17. 20. Let them lead <ul><li>Created numerous ways to help the community become the messenger. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just passive receivers of info </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Storytellers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Stakeholders and investors in the future of the library </li></ul></ul>
  18. 21. Giving Voice to a Community of Readers 60,000 lawn signs Website photo gallery on home page
  19. 22. Media: Giving voice to a community of advocates <ul><li>Partnership with local newspaper featured six weeks of columns from readers on </li></ul><ul><li>“ What the library means to me. . .” </li></ul><ul><li>Radio advertising focused on community story tellers </li></ul>
  20. 23. Lost the Battle. . . On to the War Voters agreed the library is a priority Supporters and Opponents disagreed on whether a library district was the way to ensure the library the community deserves. Opponents promised the library plans could be realized another way. The public and library leadership held them to it!
  21. 24. First New Library in 100 years. . .
  22. 25. Capturing Community & Highlighting Technology Reaction: Tremendous widespread support, word spread so positively. Energy wasn’t about the thumb drive it was about Neighborhood pride. Having an educational resource, a central point in the community that is high tech and accessible to everyone. <ul><ul><li>Gave the community back to itself </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Images, archival info on history of neighborhood and the planning of the library </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gave them to everyone at the opening [3/4 space left for customer use –functional not just promotional! </li></ul></ul>
  23. 26. Flood creates vehicle for investment <ul><li>Doubled the size of the library through value engineering and private support </li></ul><ul><li>Goal was $1.2m currently at $1.7 (money is still coming in) </li></ul><ul><li>$200,000 in unsolicited donations to the recovery (average donation under $25) </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  24. 27. What’s next <ul><li>Mayor’s last budget before leaving office included enough money to build one new branch and double the size of another. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>new projects that were not on the schedule this soon </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Leading candidate to succeed the current mayor came out to the news conference at Fairdale to lend his endorsement to building out the library's expansion plan. </li></ul><ul><li>Local gas and electric company will announce it will donate enough money to pay for all the computers in the renovated historic central library building. </li></ul>
  25. 28. Libra
  26. 29. The Persuasion Equation