Today’s public libraries are consistently being challenged to do more with less—less money, less staff, and less time. It has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and others with a vested interest in their public libraries, to convey to their communities the value of the library. Advocacy, the process of acting on behalf of the public library to increase public funds and ensure that it has the resources need to be up to date, is critical to the success of libraries.
Through tools, training, and education, PLA is committed to providing you with information and resources to help you become an even better advocate for your library.
New! Public Library Advocacy Videos
Public Libraries Open Possibility
PLA/ALA developed a video series showcasing how public libraries open possibility and transform communities. The videos are intended for the library community, allies, and decision-makers to use as tools to advocate for the future of public libraries.
PLA Advocacy Resources
The Edge Initiative
Since 2011, PLA has been a member of the Edge Initiative. Edge is now available to public libraries across the United Stated. Developed by a coalition of leading library and local government organizations with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and led by the Urban Libraries Council, Edge is a leadership and management tool which will help you align technology services to the needs of your community, and help you communicate the library’s value to community leaders. To learn more about Edge visit libraryedge.org.
Every Child Ready to Read
PLA, together with the Association for Library Service to Children, have incorporated the latest research in early literacy, into a series of turnkey parent and caregiver workshops that provide public libraries with vital tools to help prepare parents for their critical role as their child's first teacher.
PLA is developing easy-to-implement performance measures and support tools to aid libraries in capturing consistent service outcomes.
Public Libraries: Campaigns That Made a Difference
This publication is the culmination of a 2013 PLA Emerging Leaders project to explore successful public awareness campaigns in public libraries around the country. The case studies represent a wide range of libraries, from a single-location rural library in the Midwest to the 91-branch New York Public Library system.
The goal of the Smartest Card Campaign is to make the library card the most valued and used card in every wallet! Promote your library with products featuring the popular Smartest Card logo and tagline.
Turning the Page
Public libraries now have two options for building advocacy skills and confidence through Turning the Page! A fully customizable advocacy training curriculum is now available through Turning the Page: Building Libraries, Strengthening Communities; and Turning the Page Online is available for libraries interested in asynchronous learning. Both versions are free and presented by the Public Library Association (PLA) with generous support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
ALA Advocacy Resources
ALA Advocacy and Issues
The ALA Issues and Advocacy web pages offer an assortment of links to information, statistics, news, and resources that will help you shape your advocacy efforts.
ALA Washington Office
The Washington Office represents ALA in our nation’s capital. In addition to disseminating government news regarding policies that will affect libraries, the Washington Offices also builds partnerships with Washington-based organizations to better advocate on behalf of all libraries in the U.S.
“Driving Advocacy with Data”
Archived recording of a webinar presented by the ALA Office for Library Advocacy on October 18, 2012. Using the 2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study (PLFTAS), it tells how to interpret the latest data and emerging trends; access new advocacy and marketing tools, including state profiles, issue briefs and PR templates; and use the data to make the case for your library with elected officials and community stakeholders.
This website, developed by ALA, provides news and information, as well as opportunities to become involved in library advocacy.
Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries (PDF, 16 pgs.)
This report is designed to help librarians, trustees, Friends, and other library supporters address the issue of privatization and prepare for any discussions about privatization that might arise in their communities.
Library Snapshot Day
Library Snapshot Day provides a way for libraries of all types across a state, region, system, or community to show what happens in a single day in their libraries. This initiative provides an easy means to collect statistics, photos, and stories that will enable library advocates to prove the value of their libraries to decision-makers and increase public awareness.
Quotable Facts about America’s Libraries
One of ALA's most recognizable advocacy tools has been updated with current research and a new “Technology Trends” section. These wallet-sized fold-out cards are packed with clever quotes to help you make the case for libraries. Download PDF version (in English or Spanish) for free; also available in packs of 100 for $10 (includes shipping and handling) per pack.
Other Advocacy Resources
Advocacy With a Big "A": A presentation on the new Aspen Institute Report on Public Libraries
Presented by Gina Millsap and Susan Hildreth, this free archived webinar focuses on how public librarians and libraries can learn from and use the Aspen Institute’s report, “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries.” The report distills the thinking and discussion of a select 35-member working group of leaders from the library field, executives from businesses, officials from various levels of government, community development visionaries and education experts.
How does your community’s library engagement compare with the rest of the country?
Libraries in the Digital Age blog
Pew Internet & American Life Project
Compare the library engagement of your library or group with the rest of the country using Pew Internet & American Life Project's new "community quiz."
What to expect from libraries in the 21st century
Why do we still need libraries in the age of digital, real-time information? In this emotional talk at TEDxMileHigh, Pam Sandlian Smith, Director, Rangeview Library District/Anythink Libraries in Thornton, Colo., and PLA Board member, shows how she works to use the library as a hub for community-based knowledge creation and discourse.