Declaration Toolkit - Talking Points

When talking about the Declaration, decide what messages are the most important to communicate.  This is critical.  You can't say everything - no matter how important - if you want to make an impact.

What are the issues your community really cares about?  It it employment and careers?  Small business development?  Higher graduation rates?  Better preschool offerings?  Activities that keep children and and teens actively engaged?  Resources for seniors?  Services in multiple languages?

What does your library offer to address these issues?  Your library has services and materials that address every one of these issues, and more!  Take time to articulate exactly how YOUR library impacts the issues your community cares about the most.  To supplement the talking points included here, make a list of your library's impact on your community: How many people come through your door each day?  What percentage of your community has library cards?  What do you offer people who need high-tech services?  How do you help individuals who need research assistance?  You get the idea.

KEY MESSAGES

Why Libraries are Organizing Signings

  • All kinds of libraries - public, school, academic, and special libraries - are organizing Declaration signings to raise public awareness about the critical role that libraries play in the community, to generate dialog about the needs of the community, and how the library can be a solution to those needs.
  • With budget cuts affecting all sectors of public service, it is more important than ever to have community members visibly declare their right to have vibrant libraries in their community.

Mission/Library Use:

  • Society is changing in the way it consumes information.  Libraries - as early adopters of technology - are evolving with these changes in order to serve the public and to continue to fulfill their role in society.
  • Libraries don't just offer the hardware, but we offer the expertise of librarians in helping teach people how to use the Internet and find the information they need quickly.  While Google can give you 50,000 responses to your inquiry, your librarian can help you find the answer you need.
  • Libraries have tremendous responsibility in bridging what we call the digital divide to ensure that all people. regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to the content they need - no matter what format that the content comes in.
  • Nearly all Americans (96 percent) - even if they are not regular library visitors - agree that libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.  They support our public education and lifelong learning.
  • In a world where knowledge is power, libraries make everyone more powerful.
  • Reference librarians in the nation's public and academic libraries answer nearly 6.6 million questions weekly.  Standing single file, the line of questioners would span from Ocean City, MD to Juneau, AK.

Public Libraries

  • Public libraries are part of the future.  They're helping expand the world of technology by offering free access to features like Wi-Fi, e-books/e-readers, computers, digital media, etc.
  • Public libraries are the number one point of online access for people without internet connections at home, which current data shows to be the case for approximately 95 million Americans.  Libraries are often the first point of contact in helping people with very serious needs - from housing to jobs to food assistance.
  • Many people question the need for libraries now that we have the Internet, but libraries are busier than ever!  The most current national data shows that visits to public libraries for free books, to borrow DVDs. to learn new computer skills, to conduct job searches, and more.
  • Libraries build a community of readers through storytimes for children, summer reading programs, and book clubs for all ages.  Nationally, public library circulation increased to 2.46 billion materials, the highest ever reported.  Circulation of children's materials is on the rise comprising one-third of all materials circulated.

Academic Libraries

  • Academic libraries inspire learning and discovery through information resources, collaboration, and expertise.
  • In the age of Google, students and faculty are using academic libraries more than ever.  During a typical week, academic libraries had more than 31 million searches in electronic databases, answered more than 469,000 reference questions, and made more than 12,000 group presentations attended by more than 219,000 students and faculty (ACRL Academic Library Trends and Statistics 2010).
  • College and research libraries are an essential part of the learning community and connect their users with a world of knowledge.
  • State-funded institutions (including the libraries of these institutions) are facing dramatic budget reductions: 65 percent of schools took mid-year budget cuts.  Virtually all state institutions are facing some combination of hiring, salary, sabbatical, pension and/or travel freezes.

School Libraries:

  • Today’s school libraries are designed to provide college and career readiness and to equip students with the skills they need to succeed in a world that is becoming more global and hyper-connected.
  • School libraries address curriculum and student learning needs, and are the best positioned to teach the fundamental skills essential for college and career readiness.
  • Since 1965, more than 60 education and library studies have produced clear evidence that school libraries staffed by qualified librarians have a positive impact on student academic achievement.
  • Good school library programs are essential to a good education. Students in schools with well-funded libraries and the presence of a full-time, certified school librarian scored 8.4% to 21.8% higher on ACT English tests and 11.7% to 16.7% higher on ACT Reading tests.

Special Libraries

  • Successful corporations understand that information professionals deliver a profitable ROI.  Additionally, many other organizations could scarcely function without their libraries - medical facilities, historical societies, museums, legal firms, and more.  Their libraries provide other professionals, and sometimes the public, with information than cannot be found elsewhere or that must be accessed quickly and easily.
  • Special libraries provide people - information professionals - who can guide users through the often-overwhelming mountains of print and electronic resources to the precise data they are seeking.
  • A study conducted by the Special Library Association found that 85 percent of the companies ranked in the top 100 on the Fortune 500 list employed information professionals, compared to less than 50 percent of the companies ranked in the bottom 100.

Libraries and Job Seekers

  • Libraries are part of the solution when a community is struggling economically.  From free access to books and online resources for families to business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries support lifelong learning.
  • Libraries are helping level the playing field for job seekers.  The most current data shows us that an estimates 300,000 people receive job-seeking help at public libraries each day.
  • Over 84 percent of public libraries reported that services for job seekers were the most vital public Internet service offered.  The second most important service reported, with 82 percent was access to online government information.
  • More than 92 percent of public libraries provide access to jobs databases and other job opportunity resources.  The majority of U.S. libraries report that staff help patrons create resumes and other employment materials.
  • 76 percent of public libraries help patrons complete online job applications (an increase of 10 percent from two years prior).

Libraries and Technology

  • Today's public libraries are thriving technology hubs that millions rely on for their first or only choice for computer and Internet access.  30 percent of Americans do not have high-speed Internet connectivity at home.
  • Most public libraries offer technology classes, and also one-on-one technology assistance.  Libraries report continued high demand for training from those that lack basic computer skills: truck drivers required to renew their commercial driver's licenses online, displaced manufacturing workers who need to apply for jobs online, and seniors who need to order medications online.
  • 62 percent of public libraries reported that they are the only provider of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.  In rural communities, this increases to 70 percent.

Economic Value of Libraries

  • Investing in libraries is an investment in education and lifelong learning.
  • Libraries are among the most effective of all public services, serving more than 2/3rds of the public with less than 2 percent of all tax dollars.
  • Public libraries are a bargain.  Nationally, the average cost to the taxpayer for access to this wide range of public-library resources is $31 a year, about the cost of one hardcover book.

Digital Literacy and Libraries

  • The fact that 66 million American are without basic digital literacy skills is troubling for job seekers and employers.  The good news is that libraries are at the forefront in closing the digital divide and the skills gap.
  • As the costs of digital exclusion rises, what's at stake is not only the competitiveness of the American workforce, but also the vitality of our country in the 21st century.
  • Trying to find a job without knowing how to use the Internet is becoming nearly impossible.  According to the FCC, over 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, from Target to Wal-Mart, require online job applications.
  • In the next decade, it is estimated that nearly 8- percent of jobs will require digital skills.  From call center workers, to retail employees, to receptionists, to even manufacturers and construction workers, the jobs of today and tomorrow require digital skills
  • 52 percent of American employers are experiencing difficulty filling mission-critical positions, up from 14 percent in 2010, due to the nationwide skills gap.

Your Easy-Reference Declaration

Libraries Empower the Individual

Whether developing skills to succeed in school, looking for a job, exploring possible careers, having a baby, or planning retirement, people of all ages turn to libraries for instruction, support, and access to computers and other resources to help them lead better lives.

Libraries Support Literacy and Lifelong Learning

Many children and adults learn to read at their school and public libraries via story times, research projects, summer reading, tutoring and other opportunities. Others come to the library to learn the technology and information skills that help them answer their questions, discover new interests, and share their ideas with others.

Libraries Strengthen Families

Families find a comfortable, welcoming space and a wealth of resources to help them learn, grow and play together.

Libraries are the Great Equalizer

Libraries serve 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.

Libraries Build Communities

Libraries bring people together, both in person and online, to have conversations and to learn from and help each other. Libraries provide support for seniors, immigrants and others with special needs.

Libraries Protect our Right to Know

Our right to read, seek information, and speak freely must not be taken for granted. Libraries and librarians actively defend this most basic freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Libraries Strengthen our Nation

The economic health and successful governance of our nation depend on people who are literate and informed. School, public, academic, and special libraries support this basic right.

Libraries Advance Research and Scholarship

Knowledge grows from knowledge. Whether doing a school assignment, seeking a cure for cancer, pursuing an academic degree, or developing a more fuel efficient engine, scholars and researchers of all ages depend on the knowledge and expertise that libraries and librarians offer.

Libraries Help Us to Better Understand Each Other

People from all walks of life come together at libraries to discuss issues of common concern. Libraries provide programs, collections, and meeting spaces to help us share and learn from our differences.

Libraries Preserve Our Nation’s Cultural Heritage

The past is key to our future. Libraries collect, digitize, and preserve original and unique historical documents that help us to better understand our past, present and future.