Library advocacy is a year round process of cultivating relationships and support, whether with local government bodies or state legislators:
- You can’t harvest a garden that you haven’t planted and tended.
- Most of the work happens before the harvest.
The next weeks and months during the election campaign and before the legislative session begins are the most important part of the year for cultivating support from state legislators. The key words for trustees and library supporters to remember are Hello, Thank You, and Remember Me?
- If you (library trustees and director) do not personally know your legislator, arrange an informal meeting to get acquainted. If your Representative has an opponent in the general election, be sure to arrange a meeting with each candidate.
- Arrange library tours, one-on-one chats, etc. to tell the library story.
- Inform them of overall library issues, concerns and accomplishments. Be sure they understand that library use has increased in recent years.
- If you have not already done so, thank your legislators no matter how they voted!
- Give them a Photo Op (story hour, etc.).
- Arrange a thank you event.
- Send them a letter of appreciation.
Remember Me? Find ways for the library to play a central role in elections.
- Arrange legislative forums and discussions at the library
- Work with partners to co-sponsor meetings. Candidates value a large audience.
- Offer the library as a polling place or provide information about the election.
- Congratulate the winning candidate after the election (and include brief information about the library).