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? “Kids need libraries as much as they need schools.” “Our community deserves a 21st century library.” “More computers mean more service and less waiting.” Most messages can be boiled down in just this way.
Don’t think only about what the message means to your library (“Cutting library hours will mean staff layoffs.”). Think about what the message means for your community (“Cutting library hours will mean that kids will lose a safe place to hang out and to do their homework.”)
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 cutting library hours) your talking points should include:
- Some statistics about your library’s use (who, how, when).
- The impact on users (students, parents, preschoolers, seniors, job seekers, etc) 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 [2.5.f.2] for some ideas about using statistics to help convey your library’s message.
- Other reasons that cutting library hours, for example, 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.
ave 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: “Mr. Johnson, have you heard that the library may have to close one day a week? It’s a budget cutting measure. I know you use the computers here almost every day, and we’d like for you to be able to keep doing that. Can you come to a meeting here next Thursday? We’re gathering ideas from the community that can help us save money without cutting hours.”