Frontline Advocacy Toolkit

Frontline Advocacy Toolkit

ALA President Camila Alire wishes to thank the Neal-Schuman Foundation for its generous support of the Frontline Advocacy Initiative.

The Neal-Schuman Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation formed to aid, assist, and promote research and educational activities for the improvement of library and information services. For more information, contact  www.neal-schuman.com .

Libraries: The Heart of All Communities

Camila Alire

Camila Alire, 2009-2010 President

Every day librarians and library workers around the country in public, school, academic and special libraries serve at the “front lines.” They provide critical services to our respective communities. They are passionate about their jobs and have great stories that illustrate the value and the importance of their libraries. But they don’t always have the opportunity or the specific and appropriate approach to convey that message to their users or to their friends and family at home.

2009-2010 President Camila Alire’s initiative – Libraries: the Heart of All Communities – focuses on practical tools to help frontline library staff identify those opportunities to advocate for the value of libraries and their own value on a daily basis.  The toolkits were created by frontline public, school, academic and special librarians with those specific audiences in mind.  

Table of Contents

Introduction: Frontline Advocacy Begins with You

Why do libraries need frontline advocates? Why are you your library’s best frontline advocate? What does a frontline advocate do? How do you get started? Learn these great tips and more.

The message of the library’s value and needs must be spread by every library employee. Every staff member should think about the power of persuasion and be willing to communicate in a variety of ways. In the public library, everyone is on the front line.

In the school library world, all library staff and everyone who has direct contact with the school library media center - librarians, media specialists, paraprofessionals, clerks, secretaries, volunteers, students, parents, teachers, site council members and principals - can easily be advocates - “frontline advocates” - for their school’s library.

Frontline advocacy for college and university libraries is all about informing and persuading. It’s about partnering with your librarians and other staff to place your academic library in the spotlight at every opportunity.

In a special library environment, frontline advocates understand that the library plays a critical role in achieving the larger organization’s mission, whether that organization is part of a government department, private corporation, hospital, museum, historical (or other) society, or any place where people require access to very specialized knowledge.