Friends, Advocacy, Legislative Issues, and Fundraising
Friends of the Library
Community members who know and support what you do and who are willing to share that knowledge with others are a tremendous resource for library public relations. Does your library have an active Friends of the Library organization? A Friends group can be a major factor in successful marketing of the library:
Advocacy and Legislative Issues
Marketing requires communicating not only with users of your library, but with those who can change how libraries function. The library needs supporters, and especially needs supporters who are willing to speak out on behalf of the library -- library advocates.
Marketing requires an understanding of library advocacy. Be aware of issues locally and nationally that affect libraries -- and be prepared to communicate library needs. In Ohio, the Ohio Library Council's Government Relations Committee "studies all legal and legislative matters of concern and interest to libraries and librarians in the state, disseminates information concerning these matters to the membership, and makes recommendations for legislation to the Ohio Library Council Board to be submitted to the Ohio General Assembly. The committee assists the OLC staff and the Board of Trustees in working with the General Assembly during any of its sessions by attending hearings and advising on pertinent matters." The following resources are available:
ALA's Public Information Office tracks legislation and offers information and resources for advocacy and help in dealing with legislative issues. Materials for conducting an advocacy presentation, training materials, information for dealing with the press, and other ideas are available. ALA's Advocacy Center provides a Library Advocate's Handbook.
Libraries need supporters and advocates. Libraries also need funds! The need for fundraising often drives marketing initiatives. When the need for funds is critical, the need for following a thorough marketing process and devising an outstanding market plan is also critical. Involving Friends groups and aggressive advocacy are key elements of executing a successful fundraising campaign.
Libraries often need help from community supporters such as Friends groups, for marketing, for fundraising, and for advocacy. Libraries must stay informed of legislative issues that impact libraries and be prepared to speak up.
Read the first few pages of OLC's Library Advocacy: A Handbook for Ohio Public Libraries - [PDF].
Advocacy and funding resources
Suburban Library System has resources and articles on advocacy.
Friends of the Library at Delta Public Library work with staff to organize an annual Library Salad Buffet and Chinese Auction. Proceeds benefit the summer reading program. Read details in the Ohio module.
The ALA @YourLibrary page describes the campaign and offers materials including media kits, logos, etc.
Marketing Library Services reports on the Friends of the Redwood Libraries in northwest California and how they developed a successful campaign to help solve the librarys budget deficit for the year.