4.5.f.1 Crafting Your Message.
Think about your goal and objectives
. What are the most important words and ideas that emerged?
Make your message really easy to remember.
Can you reduce it to 10-15 words in your brain?
“The library is the best place on campus to study.”
“Our staff makes sure that course materials held on reserve are always available.”
“Students can access the library’s public computers 120 hours a week.” Most messages can be boiled down in just this way.
Don’t think only about what the message means to your library (“Cutting Sunday evening library hours will mean staff layoffs.”). Think about what the message means for your college or university (“Cutting Sunday evening library hours will mean that students will lose a key location and a critical time for research and study.”)
Come up with some “talking points.”
This is where you can use the data your library collects so diligently. Using the previous example (concerns about shortening Sunday evening library hours) your talking points should include:
- Some statistics about your library’s use (who, how, when).
- The impact on users (students, faculty, research and teaching assistants and other school staff members) if services must be reduced because of reduced hours. Be specific, use your data. Click on a useful tool, Put Your Data to Work for Your Frontline Advocacy Team [4.5.f.2] for some ideas about using statistics to help convey your library’s message.
- Other reasons that cutting library hours in this time slot is not a good solution. Consider a personal story here.
- What the library would like to see happen.
- What the listener can do to help.
- Have a “parking lot” or “grocery store” speech ready . This is a very short statement that can literally be communicated during the brief time you might be strolling to your car with someone.
Here’s an example: “Dr. Adler, have you heard that the library may have to close early on Sunday evenings? It’s a budget cutting measure. I know you’re aware of how many of your students meet and do research in groups in the library on Sunday evenings. Can you help us advocate for keeping the hours by spreading the word among your colleagues in the Psych department?”
Click on Your Parking Lot Speech [4.5.f.3] if you would like help with this.