Techniques for handling direct negativity or crisis issues during a public library vote campaign:

  • Seek consultation in each situation. There is no one correct formula for each circumstance.
  • Consider how much weight the person or situation carries with regard to the library's agenda. In some cases, the individual may just be letting off steam and not really driven to organize opposition.
  • Remember to stay on message, even in the event of a personal attack.
  • Have a notable person in the community on standby to "speak up" for the community if the need arises. This may involve talking with people at community events and/or writing a compelling letter to the editor.
  • Consider if there is a key person locally who might help to neutralize the situation. One library shared the following:"There was someone in town who knew the person that was causing a problem and was able to speak to him and stop his public negativity toward the library."
  • Consider a direct approach. Call them and ask to speak with them. Explain that the primary role of the library is to increase access to information for all citizens.


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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