• Attend events (Craft Shows", "Sidewalk Sales", "Farmers Market", charity events,)
  • Join other organizations.
  • Work 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 of marketing.)
  • Present 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.
  • Take pictures of community activities/functions that library personnel take part in and post them on the library's website.
  • Become more visible to the community. Library staff, Trustees, Volunteers, and Friends wearing a certain color t-shirt, a button, or a hat to community events.
  • Offer 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.
  • Attend PTA meetings periodically and ask to be a guest speaker. Talk about the support the library can provide to parents and their children.
  • Patronize local restaurants.
  • Export library card sign-up to locations outside the library in an effort to attract new people to the library.

Form Partnerships

  • Do joint activities with Chambers of Commerce, civic, and private organizations.
  • Have library information/program announcements placed in the newsletters of other organizations. This practice will help the library reach a new audience.
  • Form 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.
  • Have a "Notable Local Citizens" area on the library's website that periodically highlights someone who has made a contribution to the community.
    citizens' access to information.

Make Connections with State & Local Leaders

  • Issue 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 leaders etc.]
  • Invite community leaders to do book reviews related to their experience/work. Give attention and adulation to their participation.
  • Collaborate 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.
  • Celebrate the town's anniversary.
  • Save flyers from all library programs and use the back to have patrons or staff members write notes to legislators.
  • Take 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.)

Reach Out to the Opposition

"These 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 Library, NY
  • 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.


This toolkit was created on behalf of the 2005-2007 Getting to Yes (GTY) project. GTY is funded by Federal Library Services and Technology Act funds, awarded to the New York State Library by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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