Using Quotes

When a well-respected, notable person says something nice about your library, his or her endorsement instantly adds a measure of value in the eyes of many people. They think, “Wow! If this person says this about the library, it must be special!” The endorsement generates buzz. It adds cachet. It makes your library a little bit unique. In short, it’s a very good thing.

Obtaining a quote from a local notable or celebrity is not difficult; in fact, it’s the simplest way to directly connect that individual with your library. It doesn’t require travel, or a photographer, or any complicated logistics.

Your library may occasionally invite local notables as guest speakers or program presenters. Use those occasions to get some good advocacy quotes. Your local notable will already be in your building and will, hopefully, feel inspired by what he or she sees and feels there. This is a great opportunity to ask for an advocacy quote!

If you want to ask someone who is not scheduled to visit your library to give you a quote that you can use for an advocacy message, the first thing to remember is to have the right person phone, write or e-mail the individual who you and your Local Notables Committee have identified as a desirable spokesperson. Remember that the best initial contact is one made by someone who already knows the local notable or celebrity.

The person making the contact should tell the local notable why the library is asking for his or her help and explain how their support for your library will create a win-win situation for both the library and for the local notable.

Let the individual you are soliciting know what specific kind of advocacy message you are trying to convey, then ask him or her to express that message in their own words. This allows your local notable to “own” the message because the words he or she uses will reflect his or her unique style and personality. Every time you engage your local notable’s personal message into your advocacy effort, you end up with a product that feels personal and genuine.

The local notable can state the quote to you at that time, or think about the message and send his or her quote via e-mail, phone call or via letter or note. If the person needs a little time to develop the quote, be sure you give him or her a date when you need it and let them know you will follow-up with a reminder if that would be helpful. Tell your local notable about all the ways you plan to use the quote to call attention to your library. Click here (PDF) for some real quotes by real local notables obtained for this toolkit.

Once you have the quote, you can get a lot of mileage out of it:

  • You can print posters and/or bookmarks with the quote and the name of the local notable, and make those available in library branches.
  • You can post your local notable’s advocacy quote on your library’s website.
  • You can send out a press release to local media who might find that your library’s creative advocacy initiative makes an interesting news story.
  • If you have an advocacy budget, you can purchase an ad in your local newspaper and use your local notable’s quote that way.
  • You can include a link to your library’s website on its Facebook page so your Facebook readers can click and read the quote that way.
  • If the quote is less than 140 characters, it can be a tweet on twitter.

Want a tip for using the quote on social networking sites? Don’t let your quote stand alone. Give it some context. Use it to inform readers about your library. Say something thought-provoking. Say something humorous. The idea is to get people to read, enjoy, learn and visit your site again.

6. Develop clear activities and expectations

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