MHLS Trustee Resources: PR & Advocacy
Do You Know?
points Public Library Trustees
need to know about Advocacy:
- Public library trustees are obligated
to advocate for their libraries with elected representatives and with the
- Advocacy is simply
speaking up for a cause or an institution.
- The skills of advocacy are simple
and can easily be learned. They are reading, writing and speaking.
- 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.
- 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.)
- Library directors, as partners
in the leadership team of each library, should be active members of their
librarys advocacy team.
- 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
- Trustee advocates should also
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.
- The success of advocacy efforts
is often increased if trustee advocates build and sustain coalitions.
- 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.
- 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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