Use Media

Thanks to the wide variety of media available, you can broadcast your message quickly, widely, and often in full color. The wealth of media choices also enables you to match the channel to your particular message. Whichever platform you choose, keep your message simple, consistent with your library’s message--if you are working as an independent group--and the same across all platforms you use. When appropriate on electronic media, remember to crosspost!

Electronic Media | Print Media

Electronic Media 


Facebook is the most popular social networking service in the U.S. It can be viewed from computers, handheld devices, and smart phones. Facebook lets users post updates and links to “friends” (persons they agree to share info with), post photos and other images, make comments, and send individual messages to “friends.” Both individuals and groups can have Facebook accounts. You do not need to have a Facebook account to read messages on group sites.

As an advocacy tool, Facebook is a great way to:

  • create and expand a community of library lovers (the “like” button is powerful);
  • advertise upcoming library programs and events;
  • mobilize supporters when needed.

Check out these llibrary-related Facebook pages from the Association for Library Service to Children and Oakland Public Library.


Instagram’s popularity has been growing steadily over recent years. It’s very easy to set up an account at Instagram is great for building a community of supporters and advocates and for showcasing the value of your library via lively, fun, and engaging images and videos. 

As with Facebook, Instagram is a powerful advocacy tool, where users can:

  • create and expand a community of library lovers;
  • advertise upcoming library programs and events;
  • share highlights of recent past events; and 
  • mobilize supporters when needed.

For some examples of library-related Instagram accounts, see the New York Public Library, Kansas City (MO) Public Library, and American Library Association accounts.


Twitter is an online social networking and microblogging service that lets users send and read text-based messages, called “tweets,” of up to 280 characters. Anyone can create a Twitter account by going to and signing up.

The real power of Twitter lies in the number of followers you can generate. In order to generate these followers, it is important to advertise on other social media such as Facebook and your website, and to choose a catchy/on point hashtag (Twitter address) so followers can easily locate and read your tweets. Twitter is best used when you need to send a short message of some immediacy, such as the need to call a policymaker on a given day. Twitter is also useful to inform followers about what is happening at an event they cannot attend, such as a CIty Council meeting or a legislative hearing.

For an example, check out the Association for Library Service to Children Twitter account.


Pinterest brings the old adage A picture is worth a thousand words to life in a social media setting.  This site allows users to create and manage image collections via digital storyboard.

You can open an account at  Once you have an account, you can create "boards" on multiple topics that interest you by "pinning" images to them.  Think photos of library advocacy events, lists of recommended books, and digital collections.

For a few examples, check out the Pinterest pages for California State Library and New York Public Library.


Websites create a more permanent record than other electronic or social media. Creating a website is a more time-consuming and complicated process than creating a social media account, with hosting, design, content, security, coding, and maintenance all factors to consider. 

Websites have several advocacy advantages:

  • Reaching library supporters who don't use social media;
  • Providing accessibility to long-term library information (e.g. downloadable signs for supporters, sample letters to be sent to policy makers, and contact information for legislators or other decision makers);
  • Giving a "face" to your advocacy campaign with a uniform look and easy-to-understand logo; and
  • Linking to social media sites for those who want up-to-the-minute information or images.

Print Media

Letters to the Editor

Newspapers, neighborhood newsletters, and often, publications from local, community organizations, provide opportunities for advocates to send letters in support of library services.  

What should go in a letter to the editor? Here's a sample.

Hints to help make your letter effective and increase its chances of being printed:

Determine if submission rules exist and, if they do, find out what they are. For example, rules may limit the length of your letter or the way it must be submitted (paper copy, email, fax, etc.).

Read other letters that have been printed and look for common styles and lengths to get a feel for what the publishers select.

Put your main argument at the beginning of the letter and follow with supporting data and stories. That way, even if people do not read the entire letter, they still take away one important point or piece of information.

Be short and succinct.

Be respectful. Displaying anger or name calling weakens what may otherwise be a very strong argument.

Useful to know: Because it is uncommon, a child’s letter is more likely to be published.


What exactly is an Op-Ed?

Op-Ed stands for “opposite the editorial page” in a newspaper and is a prose piece that reflects an author’s personal opinion on a particular subject.

Pro tip: Before drafting your op-ed piece, visit your newspaper's website to learn important details, such as: minimum/maximum word counts, preferred mode of submission and address, and other general guidelines that will help you write a piece that meets the newspaper's requirements for publication.

Here is a sample Op-Ed.