Community Support for Libraries September 10, 2006Posted by sharynheili in Uncategorized.
“Libraries cannot survive on accolades alone. If public libraries are to compete successfully for dwindling public dollars, they will need to look at opportunities to showcase and strengthen their role in addressing serious problems in their own communities.” From: Long Overdue: A Fresh Look at Public and Leadership Attitudes About Libraries in the 21st Century(Americans for Libraries Council)
In her blog , “Something New Every Day“, Phyllis, Support Services Team Manager at MCPL, posted some of the findings from this report. Libraries and librarians cannot sit still and rest on the public’s good view of libraries. The times they are a changing, and libraries and librarians also have to change to meet new expectations and new challenges. Community support is essential if libraries are to remain vital in people’s lives. The list below, from the Americans for Libraries Council’s website, outlines some ways that librarians can spread the word “that libraries can play a key role in solving pressing community challenges” and garner support for libraries.
- Think about your library’s great strengths, challenges, and contributions to your community. Reading Long Overdue can help you place these assets in a national context.
- Send a copy of the above press release to your local media contacts, along with examples of what your library is doing to address key 21st century community concerns. These might focus on roles the report identifies as tailor-made for libraries, such as programs for teens, workforce development, and technology. You might even create a “fact sheet” along the lines of our national examples, above, but featuring your own library programs.
- Pitch a story to your local television news department or access television station, asking whether they know which public service the public ranks at the very top in the age of the Internet? Invite them to your library to film the segment, or offer to be a guest or to send a PR rep to their studios. Be polite and persistent.
- Local radio stations, public or otherwise, often interview guests by telephone. Seek out the news directors and pitch this story, emphasizing that the story is at once local, national, and timely.
- Post a link to this page on your website.
- Post your comments about the report and its importance on library-related blogs and listservs.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local paper alerting people in the community to the report–again highlighting what your library is doing, or might be able to do, to address key community concerns.
- Send a letter with the above fact sheet “5 Things Civic Leaders Should Know About Libraries” to your elected officials (city council, mayor, and state legislators). You can include a full copy of the report, too, with post-its identifying the pages most relevant to your community.
- Follow-up the letters to elected officials with a phone call asking for an opportunity to brief them on the relevant findings from the study and the ways that your library is helping–or could be helping–your community meet critical challenges (such as providing a safe place for teens, building literacy for workforce development, and extending access to technology).
- Contact your local and state library leaders to alert them to this report, suggesting that they take some of these same steps”.
Find the complete report here.