Public Library resources

ALA Resources

Public Library Association Issues & Advocacy 
Today’s public libraries are consistently being challenged to do more with less--less money, less staff, and less time. It has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and others with a vested interest in their public libraries, to convey to their communities the value of the library. Advocacy, the process of acting on behalf of the public library to increase public funds and ensure that it has the resources need to be up to date, is critical to the success of libraries.

Turning the Page
Turning the Page: Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities is a complete training package that includes an Advocacy Training Implementation Guide—a recommended read before diving into the curriculum—and a set of 15 training sessions that each includes a trainer script, PowerPoint presentation, and handouts. An Advocacy Action Plan Workbook accompanies the training so participants can develop an advocacy plan for their library in real-time. There is also an implementation guide to assist libraries in putting their plans into action All materials are free. Anyone is welcome to download and use Turning the Page: Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities.

Project Outcome: Measuring the True Impact of Public Libraries
Typically libraries rely on simple attendance counts and anecdotal success stories to measure the effectiveness of their services; however these statistics are not enough to guide internal strategy or build persuasive arguments to secure library funding. Enhancing existing service data with outcome data offers tremendous potential in many areas of the public library. An initiative of the Public Library Association, Project Outcome was conceived to develop and disseminate outcome measures and support tools for public libraries.

Citizens-Save-Libraries Power Guide
United for Libraries, along with the Neal-Schuman Foundation, believe strongly that advocacy can and does work.  We’ve seen evidence of it from coast to coast in all types of libraries at the local and the state levels. Developing an advocacy campaign, as you will soon see, is not rocket science but it does take dedication, hard work, a core group of people who are passionate about the cause and the support of many, many people in your community.  This guide will take the mystery out of advocacy, provide you with an organized step-by-step approach, and allow you to develop a set of strategies that will motivate your community to pressure funders to support the library or in the case of a referendum or a bond issue – to vote “yes.”

Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries (PDF)
Privatization is the shifting of library service from the public to the private sector through transference of library management and operations from a government agency to a commercial company.

Filters & Filtering
The ALA does not endorse blocking or filtering Internet content in libraries because there is no proven technology that both blocks out all illegal content and allows access to all constitutionally protected material

Library Bill of Rights (and Interpretations of these principles to specific library practices)
The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

Online Learning

  • Copyright: What You REALLY Need to Know
    It's easy to feel intimidated by the complexity of copyright issues, but copyright can be fun—and there are actually a few easy answers! Learning just a few basics can help you gain confidence to tackle some copyright issues head-on, and build a solid foundation for expanding your knowledge in the future.
  • How to Be a Webinar Superstar: Tips for Running Effective Online Presentations
    Ever hesitated to lead an online meeting or webinar due to the pressure of holding people’s attention? Want to tune up your existing online presentation style? Register for PLA’s live, one-hour webinar and learn about the most effective ways to create and deliver an online presentation with confidence. We’ll discuss best practices to create your online “story” for your session and then talk about how you engage and work with your participants to leave them with a memorable experience and—even better—remember what you said!
  • Managing Traditional & Social Media for Libraries
    For public library staff, dealing with the media can sometimes be rewarding, sometimes frustrating, sometimes exciting, sometimes daunting… but always necessary. PLA’s free, hour-long webinar, “Managing Traditional & Social Media for Libraries,” covers the fundamentals of media planning and outreach—including social media—to prepare you to work with the media and generate attention that will support your library’s activities and advocacy efforts.
  • Transforming Our Image Parts I & II
    Would you like to learn about a simple, effective strategy that will make you, your library, and our profession indispensable? It does not require changing anything we do. What is involved? Modifying what we say. Based on the instructor’s award-winning article, “Transforming Our Image through Words that Work: Perception is Everything” (Public Libraries, PLA/ALA, Vol. 48, No. 5, Sept./Oct. 2009, p. 24–32), this webinar describes a straightforward concept that enables libraries to heighten their importance by replacing traditional terms with powerful, intuitive, value-enhanced terminology that people understand. Learn how strategic vocabulary can immediately convey your true value—even to someone who has never set foot in a library. Most importantly, transforming our image through strategic vocabulary involves categorizing all that libraries do under the complete definition of education. Learn how applying the easy-to-visualize “Three Pillars” positions your library as a major component of your region's strong education system—along with public schools, colleges and universities. Why might we want to align ourselves with education? Because it's what the world values most. And what is valued… gets funded.

Available from ALA Editions

The Small Public Library Survival Guide The Small Public Library Survivial Guide
If you're among the nearly 80 percent of libraries deemed "small', serving populations of 25,000 or fewer, then Landau's survival guide will give you the tested and practical techniques to ensure your small library's survival and growth. Landau, a seasoned marketer, applies his three decades of corporate marketing experience to save a small library faced with funding cuts. His customer-centric approaches brought in resources, volunteers, and in-kind donations and earned the library local and national awards. Packed with hands-on guidelines for attracting local support and building partnerships, this user-friendly guide outlines multiple avenues for obtaining funding and increasing cash flow. His low-cost, no-cost, and easily implemented techniques provide a solid foundation for small library success.


Measuring Your Library's Value: How to Do a Cost-Benefit Analysis for Your Public LibraryMeasuring your library's value
Under pressure to quantify the benefits your library provides? Is a cost-benefit analysis right for your institution? With tax-funded organizations under microscopic scrutiny, library directors need to make a strong public case for the value their library provides.

Measuring Your Library's Value, designed to serve large to medium sized public libraries, gives librarians the tools to conduct a defensible and credible cost-benefit analysis (CBA). This hands-on reference covers the economic basics with librarian-friendly terms and examples, preparing library leaders to collaborate with economist-consultants. Authored by members of the team that developed, tested, and perfected this methodology for over a decade, Measuring Your Library's Value is based on research funded by IMLS and PLA. Now you can credibly measure the dollars and cents value your library provides to your community.