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MHLS Trustee Resources: PR & Advocacy

Do You Know?

Important points Public Library Trustees
need to know about Advocacy:

  1. Public library trustees are obligated to advocate for their libraries with elected representatives and with the media.
  2. “Advocacy” is simply speaking up for a cause or an institution.
  3. The skills of advocacy are simple and can easily be learned. They are reading, writing and speaking.
  4. Advocacy on behalf of public libraries is needed today for two primary reasons: the funding for libraries is insufficient, and the concept of intellectual freedom is subject to diverse, sometimes inappropriate, interpretations.
  5. Advocacy requires, in addition to basic skills, a well-crafted message; a well delivered message; and a healthy relationship between the advocate (the library trustee) and the audience (the elected representative or the media.)
  6. Library directors, as partners in the leadership team of each library, should be active members of their library’s advocacy team.
  7. The primary audience to be targeted by the trustee advocates is within the local community and includes its elected representatives and other decision-makers, as well as local media.
  8. Trustee advocates should also target state and federal elected representatives on behalf of their local library, their public library system, the New York State Library Network and core professional issues such as intellectual freedom.
  9. The success of advocacy efforts is often increased if trustee advocates build and sustain coalitions.
  10. Advocacy initiatives carried out by a library board of trustees are strengthened and made simpler when they are institutionalized as board habits and viewed as normal tasks of the board and its members.
  11. The New York Library Association and the American Library Association each employ staff who are experts in library policy issues and who are responsible for implementing advocacy activities. They can be helpful to library trustees engaged in advocacy initiatives.

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