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.
What to expect from libraries in the 21st century – NEW!
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.
PLA Advocacy Resources
The Edge Initiative
PLA is very excited to be part of a national effort to create Edge, the first-ever set of benchmarks for public access technology in public libraries. Recognizing that public libraries are sometimes the only means by which millions of people access computers, the Internet, and other technologies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the work of the Edge Coalition—13 organizations including PLA and program leader Urban Libraries Council. The Coalition is dedicated to developing benchmarks and tools for public libraries to strategically plan, advocate, and ultimately meet their communities’ needs for public access to technology.
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.
Libraries Prosper with Passion, Power and Persuasion: A PLA Toolkit for Success
This PLA publication, released in 2007, provides guidance for the entire advocacy planning process, including goal setting, audience analysis and identification, message and strategy development, and tactic evaluation and selection.
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 Online
Turning the Page is a free library advocacy training developed and presented by the Public Library Association (PLA) with generous support from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In this self-paced, unfacilitated online course, library staff and supporters will go through a series of web based trainings to learn how to create and tell their library's story, deliver effective presentations, develop a compelling case for support, and build and sustain partnerships along the way. You must be an ALA and/or PLA member to register.
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.
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.