Declaration - Frequently Asked Questions

Why are libraries organizing declaration signings?

All kinds of libraries – public, school, academic , as well as “special” libraries in hospitals, law firms, banks, and corporations – are organizing declaration signings to raise public awareness about the role that libraries play in our communities, and to generate dialog about the needs of the community and how the library can be a solution to these needs.

Why do libraries feel they need this kind of effort?  You don’t see police or other public services staging these types of events.

While budget cuts are affecting all sectors of public service, few question the necessity of police or fire departments. However, many don’t realize the critical role that libraries play, especially in the digital age. As the declaration states, libraries support literacy and lifelong learning. They serve as the great equalizer, serving people of every age, education level, income level, ethnicity and physical ability. For many people, libraries provide resources that they could not otherwise afford – resources they need to live, learn, work and govern.

What is the goal of this initiative? Hoped for outcomes?

We expect that declaration signings will occur in communities around the country, in all fifty states, which will:

  1. increase public and media awareness about the critical role of libraries in communities around the country.
  2. assist stakeholders in committing to support for their libraries.
  3. begin a dialog between community stakeholders and the library.
  4. assist communities in building a network of community support aimed at recognizing the library as a unique and critical instrument to the community.

What results do you expect to get from the signings?

By the end of ALA President Barbara Stripling’s presidential year, (June 2014) we expect that thousands of signatures will have been collected, as a show of this nation’s support for this fundamental right.  Beyond the initial signing event, we hope that in communities around the country, the declaration signings will have increased awareness – and ultimately, support for – the library.

Will you have a culminating event?

Signatures are being collected from events around the country and will be presented in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., in May of 2014, coinciding with the National Library Legislative Day event.

How do you find out if the library in your community is holding such an event?

Contact your local library to find out if they are having a signing event. If not, direct them to http://www.ala.org/advocacy/declaration-right-libraries or www.ilovelibraries.org/declaration.

What is the length of the signing event?

A typical media event can last from 15-30 minutes. However, libraries are keeping the declaration in their libraries for patrons to sign for longer periods, from days to weeks.

What other venues such as bookstores are hosting the events? Can anyone organize a petition signing event?

While ALA can’t mandate who is hosting declaration signings, at this time, only libraries are sponsoring signings so that community leaders can visit and learn more about their libraries. Representatives from bookstores and other organizations should contact their local library about partnering to host an event.

If you want to encourage your local librarian to host such an event, does he or she need to a member of ALA?

The Declaration is available to everyone in the library community, regardless of their membership status.

Can you participate virtually?

A “virtual declaration” is in progress. Visit our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/DeclarationforLibraries for more information.

Where can I learn more?

Information on The Declaration for the Right to Libraries is being posted to a variety of sources.

Visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/declaration-right-libraries or www.ilovelibraries.org/declaration for more information.

To learn more about Barbara Stripling’s Libraries Change Lives initiative, www.barbarastripling.org..