Advocacy Library

ALA Advocacy Library

A comprehensive collection of advocacy resources available from the American Library Association.

Browse by topic or search the collection for a specific issue.

Marketing Strategies for Public Libraries

Every day, library marketers look for ways to get people to come to programs, check out items, and portray the library as a vital community resource. But with decreasing budgets and increasing pressure on our time, the job is getting harder. Check out these resources from the Public Library Association.

Marketing the Academic Library

In today's complex information environment, academic libraries have a greater responsibility to communicate the resources and expertise our libraries and librarians provide, both on our campuses and in society. Association of College and Research Libraries resources to help you develop a marketing campaign for your own library and examples of ACRL's efforts to promote academic and research libraries.

National Friends of Libraries Week 

Friends of Libraries groups have their very own national week of celebration! United for Libraries coordinates National Friends of Libraries Week annually in October. The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate Friends. Use the time to creatively promote your group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. This is also an excellent opportunity for your library and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.OK

National Library Week

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It's a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries  — school, public, academic and special  — participate. Celebrations during National Library Week include: National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week, National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities; and Take Action for Libraries Day, a national library advocacy effort observed on the Thursday of National Library Week.

Navigating a Challenging Budget Year

While every library’s situation has its own complexities, this guide will provide a good foundation to help you navigate your challenging budget year. It will prove especially helpful to library directors and managers of small-to-medium sized public libraries, but much of the information contained in this guide is applicable to academic, school and special libraries, too.

Privatizing Libraries

This special report from ALA Editions provides a succinct but comprehensive overview of the privatization of public libraries. It provides a history of the trend of local and state governments privatizing public services and assets and then examines the history of public library privatization right up to the California legislation introduced earlier this year to restrict cities in the state from privatizing library services. The book also examines what happens when a private, for-profit organization takes over essential management tasks and decisions of a public library, including the effects this can have on services, patron satisfaction, and staff as well as legal issues. It provides in-depth recommendations for librarians who want to retain control of their own institutions. Complete with case studies, statistics, and a valuable checklist of to-dos for libraries that are facing partial or complete privatization.

Project Outcome

Wherever public libraries are working, possibility lives. Project Outcome is a free toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the true impact of essential library services and programs by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Project Outcome also provides libraries with the resources and training support needed to apply their results and confidently advocate for their library’s future.

The Issue

Under Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), federal student loan borrowers employed by government agencies, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or other nonprofit organizations that provide public library services or school library services, are eligible to have their federal student loan balance forgiven after making 10 years of qualifying loan payments. Many library workers meet the employer eligibility criteria for the program. 

    Resources for Borrowers

    Recent News

    Recent Advocacy

    • Comments to Department of Education urging improvements to PSLF program, including inclusion of private contract librarians, rule clarifications (August 12, 2022)
    • Coalition letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging the Dept. of Ed. to ensure all Public Service Loan Forgiveness program changes are retroactive (September 22, 2021)
    • Coalition letter to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona uging a review of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (April 12, 2021)
    • Coalition letter to Congressional leadership advocating for public service loan forgivensss to be part of COVID-19 relief (April 16, 2020)
    • Coalition letter to Congress about preserving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (November 12, 2017)

    Temporary Waiver (Closed October 2022)

    In October 2021, the Education Department announced changes to PSLF, including a limited waiver that applies retroactively. During the waiver period, past payment that would not otherwise count toward PSLF will be made eligible and borrowers who previously would not have qualified for PSLF may now qualify. Borrowers had to submit necessary paperwork by Oct. 31, 2022, when the waiver ended. The waiver can apply to borrowers with any number of relevant payments, including those who have not yet made 10 years of payments. 


    ALA participates in the PSLF Coalition.

    Staff Contact Information

    Kevin Maher
    Deputy Director, Public Policy & Advocacy

    Resources related to academic freedom from ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom

    Academic freedom is the conviction that the freedom of inquiry by faculty members is essential to the mission of the academy as well as the principles of academia, and that scholars should have freedom to teach or communicate ideas or facts (including those that are inconvenient to external political groups or to authorities) without being targeted for repression, job loss, or imprisonment. ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom resources include: ALA Statements and Policies on Academic Freedom; Guidelines for Academic Status for College and University Librarians; Publications and Articles; ALA Resolution in Support of Academic Freedom (2006) ; and links to information on academic freedom from the American Association of University Professors.


    Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library

    The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library provides advocacy tips and tools you can use from the ALA Committee on Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds, the American Indian Library Association, the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, and the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. The guide includes: Steps to success; Tools for success; Technology as an advocacy tool; Data you can use & more resources.

    Spark Advocacy Videos (on YouTube)

    ALA joined forces with the Harry Potter Alliance to launch Spark, an eight-part video series developed to support and guide first-time advocates who are interested in advocating at the federal level for issues that matter to them. The series, targeted to viewers aged 13-22, is hosted by Jackson Bird.

    The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library

    The Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds (RNTLOAK) committee has updated The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library toolkit. Last updated in 2017, this toolkit now includes sample letters of support, new information on technology, and more.

    Turning the Page: Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities

    Turning the Page: Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities is a complete advocacy training package that includes an Advocacy Training Implementation Guide—a recommended read before diving into the curriculum—and a set of 15 training sessions that each includes a trainer script, PowerPoint presentation, and handouts. An Advocacy Action Plan Workbook accompanies the training so participants can develop an advocacy plan for their library in real-time. The curriculum and other resources are free to use and share. The curriculum is an updated version of Turning the Page that was developed for library associations and networks around the world, with input from the Public Library Association and other grantees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Libraries initiative.

    United for Libraries Advocacy Resources

    Explore the resources available from United for Libraries to help your Trustees, Friends, and Foundation coordinate advocacy efforts on behalf of your library.

    United for Libraries Trustee Tip Sheets

    Based on the popular Fact Sheets for Friends and Foundations, the all new Trustee Tip Sheets address a variety of concerns and issues faced by Trustees. New Tip Sheets will be added in the coming months. Most Tip Sheets are members' only resources, but . 1. The Role of Library Trustees, 2. The Role of the Friends Board, and 13. Public Library Trustee Ethics Statement are available free of charge.