Guide to Building Support for Your Tribal Library

Guide to Building Support for your Tribal Library

A toolkit for getting the support you need from people who are in a position to help you and the library.


What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is about getting the support you need from people who are in a position to help you and the library. It is about getting decision makers, potential partners, and community members on the side of the library through the messages you send on an ongoing basis. You’ll not only need the support of the community, but also tribal leaders, elders, educators, funders, government officials and other decision-makers to help you sustain Native library services.

Advocacy is a combination of public relations and lobbying.

  1. Public relations is the everyday advocacy of working to provide the best library services and taking everyday opportunities to tell people about the library.
  2. Lobbying is advocacy directed at decision-makers and politicians. This may include activities ranging from making presentations at council meetings to keeping local decision makers informed about the library.

Library Advocacy is...

  • About educating our communities about why tribal libraries and librarians are essential in an information society.
  • An ongoing effort.
  • The responsibility of all library workers.

This guide is designed for tribal libraries, whether you have a specific, urgent need for funding/support or are looking for ways to build general support for the library.

Why is Advocacy Important for Tribal Libraries?

Tribal libraries are special places. The possibilities of positive growth are endless. But without support, growth is difficult to achieve. Though decision makers may support the library in spirit, they may not realize all of the potential benefits a well-supported library would have for the community and its people. Now is the time to speak up for your library!

You might find the following points helpful when trying to make your case to your stakeholders.

Reasons Why Tribal Libraries Matter

Tribal libraries…

  1. Serve a vital role in revitalizing and preserving tribal culture, history, and language
  2. Promote literacy for our community
  3. Bring technology to our people
  4. Are important for the growth and development of our children
  5. Empower tribal members
  6. Bring reading material and news to tribal members
  7. Promote intergenerational activities
  8. Strengthen cultural identity
  9. Serve as research centers for Tribal and non-tribal members
  10. Belong to the people

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