Tag Archives: Advocacy

Vote for our next Postcard Party date and location!

Last May we had a great time connecting with our members and advocating for libraries at our first Postcard Party in the Park! If you missed it, check out the recap here. The goal behind our Postcard Parties is to share the value of libraries with legislators and other library stakeholders who may not hear enough about the incredible work that takes place in libraries.

And since library advocacy is always going to be necessary, we are planning our next Postcard Party! We will provide the postcards, facts about the value of all types of libraries to their communities, addresses for state and federal legislators (feel free to bring your own addresses for your library’s stakeholders), and sample text of what to write on your postcard. We will even mail your postcards after the event so no need to worry about postage.

We are offering a few different location and date suggestions in our poll below. Our system is large and we know that our events aren’t always conveniently located for all our members. You can vote for your preferred location and date ranges below. Don’t be shy, make your voice heard! We want to connect with you and work on some library advocacy together 🙂

Library Advocacy Efforts Gain Steam

Advocacy Logo
At CMLE we are all about advocacy of all types for libraries!! Keep talking to people about the work you do, and the value you bring to your community! People will be pleased and impressed by it all. Check out our advocacy resources, and you can always check in with us to talk about advocacy ideas!

(From Publisher’s Weekly, by Shannon Maughan)

A look at some ongoing federal, state, and local campaigns

The past decade has seen a distinct expansion of library advocacy across the country, largely in response to budget cuts. As a result, librarians at all levels have been organizing and raising their voices to demonstrate the value of their positions and their libraries in the community. In light of continued tightening of funding, including steep cuts proposed by a new president, the battle cry of librarians has become even louder. We checked in on a few of the most recent efforts.

Appropriations Push

May was a particularly busy month on the library advocacy front. To kick things off, on May 1–2 a record number of librarians—more than 500—took part in the American Library Association’s National Library Legislative Day (and double that number participated online). During their time in D.C., librarians discussed issues and legislation affecting them with ALA’s Washington Office and met with representatives on Capitol Hill. Copyright, net neutrality, and privacy were among other topics on the table. An early bright spot of the event was the May 1 announcement of the federal budget for fiscal year 2017 (ending September 30), which increased federal library funding by $1 million.

But the bigger budget debate at the event was President Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, announced March 16, in which he called for the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the grant-making agency that serves as the primary source for federal funding to libraries. Ahead of the 2018 budget, the ALA had already drafted its annual “Dear Appropriator” letters urging Congress for full funding of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $186.6 million and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) at $27 million. In light of the newly proposed threat to funding, advocacy efforts shifted into a higher gear. Continue reading Library Advocacy Efforts Gain Steam

Our Postcard Party Recap!

On Thursday, May 25 we had our first Postcard Party in the Park! (It was really TWO parties, as we hosted a lunchtime event, and another one in the evening.) It was great to see so many library people, and we collected a lot of postcards to mail to our legislators and other stakeholders. And we had a lovely day out by the river at Munsinger Clemens Gardens, with sunshine, flowers, and a surprisingly large number of rabbits dashing around. So it was a complete success!!

The story of Munsinger Clemens Gardens is a love story, as you can see in this statue of Bill and Virginia Clemens – admiring the rose garden she loved. This was the perfect setting for us to chat with our library people and to share some good library facts with stakeholders. We love libraries, and want to see them thrive!

We set up our sign, to direct traffic back to the tables where we were setting up. There are so many great things to do in this garden, we wanted to be sure our library people could find us.

We got a table all set up and ready for action before our library advocates stopped by! We brought postcards we created with library facts printed in different designs, addresses for all our state and federal legislators, some facts about libraries and their value to the community, and sample text to get everyone started in working out what to say. (It’s nice to use a postcard; you can just give a couple of facts and be done!) Not in this picture: there were also mini-cupcakes, cookies, and some healthier snack options. We know that advocacy can be hard work, so we wanted to be sure everyone was sufficiently fueled for the day ahead!

We had a steady stream of visitors to fill out postcards – and to enjoy chatting about libraries! CMLE and ECRL Board member Wendy Kafka even recruited a friend to come and do some advocacy work for libraries! It was so fun to have this chance to chat about libraries, and all the great things libraries do. All of us who work in the library field know that we provide so much value to our communities; and it is fun to have this chance to advocate and talk about our values to stakeholders who are not familiar with all our work. (Yes, a few people who were just happily visiting the gardens also got to hear about the value of libraries! They seemed pleased.)

Thanks to everyone who turned out for our first event! We had a great time, we collected a lot of postcards to mail to stakeholders, and we had such fun chatting with people about libraries!! This is the best kind of advocacy work: when we have fun, we share ideas, and we help all kinds of people to  learn more about the work we do and the incredible value we provide!

We will definitely be hosting more of these postcard parties, and want to move around our twelve-county CMLE area. Do you have a fun place we could meet to write out postcards?? We want to go there!! Email us with your suggestion, or fill out the form below, and we will get things set up!

One small advocacy fact you can use when you talk to people outside the field about our value:
For every $1 invested in Minnesota public libraries, an average of $4.2 in value is returned to the community.
That’s a pretty amazing Return on Investment (ROI)!

How to win library funding through political advocacy

Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library FundingWinning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding


Rob Christopher
Marketing Coordinator
ALA Publishing
American Library Association
(312) 280-5052


CHICAGO — As the saying goes, all politics is local. And 90% of funding for public libraries comes from the will of local politicians and, in turn, from local voters. So it’s urgent that librarians, library supporters, and anyone interested in running an election or campaign for a library understand the strategies, resources, and tactics necessary for positive political action. Whether election day is four months away or four years away, there are immediate steps library leaders and local library ballot committees should take to help secure a successful ballot initiative later. Written by experienced library campaigners Patrick “PC” Sweeney and John Chrastka, “Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding,” published by ALA Editions, is an action-driven manual for anyone running a political campaign for libraries. It dives into:

  • proven successful campaigning techniques for rural, suburban, and urban settings;
  • expert analysis on how political perceptions are formed, how political power works, and ways libraries can reach funding or political goals;
  • starting the discussion internally;
  • the right approach to setting up the committee structure, and identifying the core leadership team for the committee;
  • tips on networking, cultivating good relationships with the power players in the community, and building a winning coalition;
  • canvassing and direct voter contact;
  • responding effectively to opposition, including voters who habitually resist taxes or library funding increases;
  • the differences between paid media and earned media; and
  • best practices for marketing and message development, fundraising, volunteer engagement, and other key areas.

Sweeney is the current political director for EveryLibrary. He is a former administrative librarian of the Sunnyvale (California) Public Library and was executive director of EveryLibrary California, a statewide ballot committee to support library ballot propositions. He is active in the California Library Association and across library social media as a cofounder of the ALA Think Tank. A sought-after speaker and presenter, he was named a 2015 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal. Chrastka is EveryLibrary’s founder. He is a former partner in AssociaDirect, a Chicago-based consultancy focused on supporting associations in membership recruitment, conference, and governance activities. He is a former president and member of the Board of Trustees for the Berwyn (Illinois) Public Library (2006–2015) and is a former president of the Reaching Across Illinois Libraries System (RAILS) multi-type library system. Prior to his work at AssociaDirect, he was director for membership development at the American Library Association. He was named a 2014 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal.

ALA Store purchases fund advocacy, awareness and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide. ALA Editions publishes resources used worldwide by tens of thousands of library and information professionals to improve programs, build on best practices, develop leadership, and for personal professional development. ALA authors and developers are leaders in their fields, and their content is published in a growing range of print and electronic formats. Contact ALA Editions at (800) 545-2433 ext. 5052 or editionsmarketing@ala.org.


Rain Delay! Join us NEXT Thursday for Postcard Party in the Park!!

Clemens GardensIt’s raining on us all this week, so not a great time to enjoy hanging out with library people with lovely flowers – but we love libraries and want to share that love with everyone using postcards!

So we are hosting a Postcard Party in the Park – with a slight rain delay to next week, and you are invited! (You, your family, friends, neighbors, polite strangers you met on the street – it’s a very inclusive invitation!)

CMLE HQ will provide postcards and addresses; you can write out quick notes to your stakeholders to tell them about libraries; and we will mail them. Quick and easy advocacy in action!

Thursday, May 25 from 11:00 to 1:00 we will be sitting at tables behind the Gift Shop at the Munsinger Clemens Gardens. Bring your lunch; we will provide snacks, postcards, pens, and addresses for your legislators. Beverages are available for purchase at the Gift Shop, and water fountains are nearby.

After our poll on the best day for this event, we have added a second time. We will also be there from 4:30 to 6:30 that afternoon. Stop by on your way home from work, or bring a sack dinner and enjoy the beautiful gardens, and the river! Snacks and postcards will again be available to everyone who attends. Bring your kids and sweeties, and let them run around the garden while we have library fun!

We will provide suggestions for stakeholders who might appreciate some quick news for you, and give you some suggested wording to help you get started. This is your chance to enjoy yourselves in the company of other library people, chat about libraries, and do a little advocacy work to help us all!

Continue reading Rain Delay! Join us NEXT Thursday for Postcard Party in the Park!!