Tag Archives: Advocacy

You too can give an elevator speech! (Advocacy Series #3)

Get ready to talk!

You have probably heard of elevator speeches, but may be fuzzy on the concept. It started as a business idea: you meet the Head Honcho in an elevator, and have about 60 seconds to wow her with your big idea. This is your shot, you don’t want to throw it away!

This has kind of expanded to encompass all kinds of advocacy speech, but the basic idea remains the same.

  • Quick
  • Concise
  • Articulate

You probably already do this on a daily basis – talking about the things your library has, does, and provides. An elevator speech is just a way to formalize it, and to help you give the best presentation of your ideas.

When do you want to use this kind of presentation? Usually, when you need to make your point quickly, and move on. If you just have a minute or two with someone, and you need to get out your message – it’s elevator speech time!

Everyone knows how easy it is to have something important to share – and spend time talking around the topic, or stammering with the flow of words inside your head happening faster than you can speak them. What is the cure for this?? Just as if you wanted to go to Carnegie Hall: Practice, practice, practice! Continue reading You too can give an elevator speech! (Advocacy Series #3)

Working with politicians and funders (Advocacy Series #4)

Let’s talk to the Money People!

This is where people start to get nervous when doing advocacy work.

“I don’t know what to say!”

“I don’t want to talk about money!”

“What if I ask, and they turn me down??” (And what if they laugh at me? And chase me down the hallway? And steal my lunch money??)

Fortunately, most of these fears are pretty groundless. But it’s worth taking a couple of minutes here to talk about some strategies for working with funders and politicians.

Advocacy for libraries is pretty easy! Generally, people like libraries, and see the value in having a good library. Sometimes you need to whip out an elevator speech on “this is why Google will never replace a librarian” but that should be simple enough. Rattle off a quick list of a few things your library does each week, and doubters are stunned into silence.

Advocacy is talking to people, telling them about your library, your materials, your services, and all the things you do there. Dealing with funders is just the same: tell them what you are doing in your library, and how you are spending their money. Continue reading Working with politicians and funders (Advocacy Series #4)

Identifying Stakeholders (Advocacy Series #2)

Stakeholders are the lifeblood of a library. They are our audience and our supporters. We need to keep them happy, and to give them all the materials and services they want and need. We need to justify our expenditures and our existence to them.

In short: Stakeholders are a big deal.

But who are they? How do we find them? Could they be labeled (maybe with a nice bar code) so we can be sure we are there for them?? (Short answer: No. That would be way too easy!)

Identify Stakeholders

Identification is both a challenge, and the easiest part of it all. Sit down at your desk, or with your colleagues, and make a list of the first people you can think of who are important to your library – who have a stake in it.

Pretty easy, right? Sophomores, tiny kids and their parents. Provosts and Mayors. Doctors, prisoners, soccer moms. Essentially it’s the people in your neighborhood.

Continue reading Identifying Stakeholders (Advocacy Series #2)

Advocacy from ALA! (Advocacy Series #1)

Let’s talk about libraries!

This is a huge topic for all libraries! If you think your library does not need advocacy, ask yourself: do you like getting paid? Do you like to have materials for your patrons? Is it fun to have a building to shelter your stuff from the rain??

It can all go away without good advocacy!!

We all know it’s important, but it sounds scary. Halloween is over; so no need for terror. Advocacy in generally pretty simple. It goes like this:

  • We have good stuff
  • We tell people about our good stuff
  • We connect that message to them, in a way that resonates with them
  • We get more resources (money, etc.) to keep our stuff and get more
  • We have good stuff

See? It’s easy!

Okay, of course there is a little more to it. We can add in some details, work through some ideas – but this is the gist of it all.

And, like all the other big important topics in the library world – you are not alone here. The American Library Association has you covered with information and training. Continue reading Advocacy from ALA! (Advocacy Series #1)

What are we doing in November? Advocacy training!


In November, our Monthly Topic will be Advocacy!!

This is such an important skill for everyone in your library to master. We all need to advocate for ourselves in the workplace, for our libraries, and for the profession. During November we will collect and share information on each of these aspects of advocacy, to help build your skills and your comfort level with it.

At the heart: Advocacy is fun!! We get to tell people how great our libraries are, all the wonderful things we provide to our communities, and how valuable we are!! It can be tempting to just assume people know about this – but we want to really be sure they understand, so we need to tell them. This is our chance to brag!

CMLE will offer an in-person training session at our Headquarters (570 First Street SE, St Cloud, MN 56304). This will happen Nov 15. Spaces are filling fast – so don’t delay!

  • First session: noon to 1:30:
  • Second session: 4:30 to 6:00
  • Webinar will be provided online for future viewing

You are invited to attend either in-person session (they are identical). Feel free to bring your food! We will provide beverages.

Sign up at our Eventbrite site here!

When you leave this session you will have some basic skills and ideas:

  • identification of your library’s elected representatives
  • a draft email to send to each of them
  • a set of talking points about your library’s value
  • an elevator speech to share your accomplishments
  • details on library service nationally, for easy sharing

Any questions? Send Mary an email.

Would you like a training session brought to your library? Send Mary an email on that too!