Planning a Referendum

A successful library referendum campaign can do many things for your local library or library system; provide for capital repair and improvement projects, constructing new facilities or branches, compensate for inflation, and increase services for the community.  These campaigns must be implemented with  careful strategy and messaging, especially whenever a potential tax increase may be involved.  Here are some tips and resources that can help your local advocates start their own process:

Here are six things to do before you launch a referendum campaign:

  1. Unify your library’s branding so that it reflects your mission and is recognized throughout the community.
  2. Conduct educational outreach; visit community based-organizations and local business groups to talk about the library’s work and how it serves the community.
  3. Develop a public awareness campaign. Use the many resources available through Libraries Transform, ALA's public awareness and advocacy campaign.
  4. Watch the Library Campaign Training Institute webinar series. Share it with board members and friends groups. (And make sure your trustees and friends groups check out the valuable resources available at United For Libraries.)
  5. Review your state’s campaign/election laws.
  6. Plan your campaign outside of work hours and away from the building. Identify a campaign chair who is not a library staff member and delineate responsibilities.