Declaration for the Right to Libraries Toolkit


Declaration for the Right to Libraries logo

The Declaration for the Right to Libraries is the cornerstone document of ALA President Barbara Stripling's presidential initiative, Libraries Change Lives, which is designed to build the public will and sustained support for America's right to libraries of all types - academic, special, school, and public.

In the next year, libraries of all types will hold signing ceremonies, during which community members can visibly declare their right to have vibrant libraries in their community.  The signing ceremony is intended to serve as the launching point for continued and vibrant community engagement to:

  • Increase public and media awareness about the critical role of libraries in communities around the country.
  • Inspire ongoing conversations about the role of the library in the community.
  • Cultivate a network of community allies and advocates for the library.
  • Position the library as a trusted convener to help in the response to community issues.     


A signing event is an opportunity for you to raise the library profile in a big way.  The event can create a mood of celebration, yet it will retain a strong focus with the Declaration as the centerpiece.  Whether your event is held inside or outside, at the library or in the town square, the event will stimulate attention and illuminate the work being done at your local public, school, academic, and special libraries.

As you consider staging a signing event, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:

  • Who is your audience and how do you reach them? Are you trying to get the attention of local legislators, patrons, school administrators, etc.?
  • Who are your current allies and how can they lend support?
  • Do you want to collaborate on the event with other types of libraries?
  • What do you want to have happen in the community after the signing event?


1. Planning Your Signing Event

2. During Your Signing Event

3. After Your Signing Event

Talking Points: How to talk to people in your community about the Declaration

Frequently Asked Questions

See What's Happening:  Declaration Signings and Events