Politics and Partnerships

This course is designed to provide students with the ability to identify social/political/economic issues that may affect the library, the populations it services, or its services. Participants will learn to develop relationships with people who can exercise influence in federal, state, or local decisions.You will also be able to understand the role of and work effectively with key constituents, the library board and library friends and/or foundation. You will gain the knowledge to work effectively with the media. You will also discover the best ways to lobby for federal, state, and local initiatives that support the library’s vision, mission, and goals.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, participants will:

  1. Gain a general understanding of the strategies involved in planning for successful political action, including understanding the demography and culture of your local service area;

  2. Identify key players in decision-making at all levels for political effectiveness;

  3. Develop skills to build coalitions;

  4. Discern how local decisions are made;

  5. Develop team planning skills with local Boards and Commissions;

  6. Develop political advocacy skills;

  7. Understand the process and impact of political opinion polling and campaigning;

  8. Develop skills in handling the media effectively;

  9. Develop skills in negotiation and compromise;

  10. Develop and understand the role of lobbyists and how to use them effectively at the local, state and federal levels;

  11. Gain an understanding of how to assess current local political issues, including the role of newspaper editors and editorial boards;

  12. Develop political skills in working with various support groups and community leaders, which at times can have conflicting interests with Boards and Commissions;

  13. Learn how to develop support groups, including recruitment, tactics and legal issues;

  14. Become knowledgeable of the various governance and legal structures of Boards and Commissions and support groups;

  15. Prepare useful educational materials that may assist others with understanding and assessing the political proces;

  16. Gain knowledge of federal, state and local statutes, ordinances and resolutions and their impact on local decision-making; and

  17. Outline recommendations for an action plan.

Who Should Attend

Anyone interested in learning how to work with social, political and economic entities in order to promote, enhance and gain support for your library's programs and services.


The instructor for this course, Catherine Hakala-Ausperk, has 31-years of public library experience and most recently was the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Regional Library System. Prior to that, she held multiple library positions, from circulation and reference to management and administration. Hakala-Ausperk is also the author of Be a Great Boss: One Year to Success (ALA, 2011), Build a Great Team: One Year to Success (ALA, 2013), and the upcoming Renew Yourself! Energize Your Career at Any Stage (ALA, 2016). She is an adjunct faculty member at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science, where she teaches Management, and an instructor for The American Library Association’s “Certified Public Library Administrator” (CPLA) program, where she teaches Organization and Personnel Administration. The owner of Libraries Thrive Consulting, she assists in creating library strategic plans and she presents and trains around the country at conferences and staff days. Her passion is for supporting, coaching, and developing great libraries, successful staff members, and – especially – strong and effective leaders.



$350 for ALA members

$400 for non-ALA members

How to Register

For more details about this course or to register, visit the HRDR course offerings website.

Tech Requirements

Reliable Internet connection; Java-enabled web browser; PDF Reader; IBM Compatible PC with at least 400 MB RAM with Windows XP/7 or above or Macintosh with OS8 or above; 128 MB RAM; sound card with speakers and/or earphones; color monitor with at least 800×600 resolution.


For more information about this course, contact Pamela Akins, ALA Community Engagement Specialist, pakins@ala.org.