It is reported that 68 percent of American adults now have a library card, the highest number since the American Library Association (ALA) began tracking the numbers in 1990. Libraries are experiencing record use as patrons turn to Libraries for the resources they need to navigate tough economic times. To help libraries meet the increasing demand on their services the American Library Association has created an Advocacy Toolkit.
The Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit is a comprehensive online collection of resources, strategies, examples and statistics. Inside the toolkit you will find talking points to articulate the case for supporting libraries. Targeting the audience and answering tough questions are some of the many topics covered in the toolkit. You will find resources to illustrate the value of the library to your local government and statistically show the return on investment to the community. The toolkit contains a list of techniques to create spokespeople for your library by reaching out to your community through presentations to groups, petitions, social media and much more. Engaging the media with Public Service Announcements, media strategies and tips for successful negotiations can give your library a stronger voice. If you've been intimidated by the media in the past, the toolkit can help you with tips on public speaking, writing letters to editors and staying in control of an interview. One of the most important set of relationships you can build to improve your position is with your local administrators. The toolkit offers instructions for contacting and dealing with your local administrators as well as federal legislators with ways to recruit them as champions for your library. Learn by example how to organize, rally media and stage a demonstration to save a school library or debate the need for your library to be included in the stimulus package. Whether you’re a member of the library staff, a friend of the library, trustee, faculty or administrator the toolkit contains checklists to keep you talking and taking advantage of opportunities to advocate. Among the contacts, resources and sidebar sites of the toolkit you will find links to ALA offices and other toolkits targeted specifically to Academic Libraries and School Library Media Centers.