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, fund construction of new facilities or branches, compensate for inflation, or maintain or increase critical services for the community. These campaigns must be implemented with careful strategy and messaging, especially whenever a potential tax increase is involved. Here are some tips and resources that can help libraries and local advocates start their own process:

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

  1. Review your state’s campaign/election laws.
  2. Watch the Library Campaign Training Institute webcast series, co-hosted by ALA and United for Libraries:
  3. Unify your library’s branding so that it reflects your mission and is recognized throughout the community.
  4. Conduct educational outreach; visit community based-organizations and local business groups to talk about the library’s work and how it serves the community.
  5. Develop a public awareness campaign. Use the many resources available through Libraries Transform, ALA's public awareness and advocacy campaign.
  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.