Following are suggestions for building
community support by forging new and stronger connections within your
community, arranged by category:
Involved Outside the Library
events (Craft Shows", "Sidewalk Sales", "Farmers
Market", charity events,)
to build your board so that people of skill and influence are present.
Recruit active citizens who know a lot of people to be involved in the
library. (This builds on the concept in the book, Tipping Point, which
says that "word-of-mouth" is really the most powerful form
to local political and citizens' groups: Democrat, Republican, Conservative,
anti-tax etc. Inform them that the library's major goal is to increase
citizens' access to information.
pictures of community activities/functions that library personnel take
part in and post them on the library's website.
more visible to the community. Library staff, Trustees, Volunteers,
and Friends wearing a certain color t-shirt, a button, or a hat to community
the library's community room as a place for local organizations to hold
their meeting, but give them a tour of the library first. Include community
room picture and policy on the library's website.
PTA meetings periodically and ask to be a guest speaker. Talk about
the support the library can provide to parents and their children.
library card sign-up to locations outside the library in an effort to
attract new people to the library.
joint activities with Chambers of Commerce, civic, and private organizations.
library information/program announcements placed in the newsletters
of other organizations. This practice will help the library reach a
a "Planning Committee" or other group to obtain input on the
community and the library. Invite people of influence who you would
like to target for support. As part of the first meeting, give them
a tour of the library and overview of the services offered.
a "Notable Local Citizens" area on the library's website that
periodically highlights someone who has made a contribution to the community.
access to information.
Connections with State & Local Leaders
an occasional mailing targeted to town and community group leaders and
govt. officials. Approach it from an angle that would interest them
[upcoming programs (photo opportunities), testimonials of how people
have been helped, examples of cost-savings, thank-you's to specific
community leaders to do book reviews related to their experience/work.
Give attention and adulation to their participation.
with the town government to develop a newsletter or information sheet
outlining their response to current issues or general information they
would like the community to know. Make it available at the library.
the town's anniversary.
flyers from all library programs and use the back to have patrons or
staff members write notes to legislators.
digital photos of programs (especially youth ones which foster early
literacy), mount them on postcards and have families of participating
children write to legislators regarding the importance of these programs
for their kids. (Remember to have a parent sign a Photo Release Form
before using their child's image. A sample form is available here.)
Out to the Opposition
are your neighbors, they often give to charity, and they pay their
taxes. They just want to make sure their money is being used wisely."
Parry Teasdale, Former Trustee, Mid-Hudson Library System & Phoenicia
- Call them and ask
to speak to them. Explain that the primary role of the library is to
increase access to information for all citizens.
- Get to know them.
- Explain that every
time the library wants an increase, they have to come back to the public.
- Offer them meeting
space in the library.
- Invite members
to participate in special advisory boards or library planning committees.