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On Voting "Yes"

  • "A Yes vote will benefit the taxpayers rather than squeeze them. It will give them the library they deserve." (Excerpt from a Letter-to-the Editor)
  • "The challenge is to convince your community that the monies paid for library support is an investment rather than a cost." (Statement by Josh Cohen, MHLS Executive Director)
  • People often vote yes because you ask them to. So ask. (Excerpt from The Campaign Manager by Catherine Shaw.)

On Library Funding

  • "I never knew my library needed to be taken care of." (Patterson Library patron)
  • "It doesn't make sense to talk about successful corporations in a society whose schools, hospitals, churches, symphonies, or libraries are deteriorating or closing." (Clifton C. Garvin, Jr.)
  • "I don't see the public coming to us and saying, hey, you're doing too much." (Richard Berryhill, Board Member of the Liverpool Public Library in Liverpool, NY in his response to a citizen who said the library should reduce its 2002-2003 budget of $3.23 million, by $500,000.)
  • "The library is so starved for space that we have no choice but to seek secure funding for extra facilities." (Excerpt from a Letter-to-the Editor)
  • "We are behind the curve in keeping up with the growth. Other matters have taken priority for so long. We've fixed roads and built schools. Now it's the library's turn." (Jerilynn Williams, Director of the Montgomery County Library in Texas.)
  • "As you have read and heard in the local media, the Poughkeepsie Public Library District is seeking a modification to its legislation that will allow the voters more flexibility and greater authority over the District's annual operating budgets." (Tom Lawrence, Poughkeepsie Public Library District, 6/21/05)
  • Libraries are a tax supported public good. (Excerpt from a Letter-to-the Editor)
  • Data continues to affirm that, on average, public library referenda of all kinds consistently attract between three-fifths and two-thirds of the vote. This is very compelling information for those sitting on the fence trying to decide whether or not to go for a ballot measure. (It's Your Library, Library Journal, 6/15/1998.)
  • The library budget is "mean, clean and lean. There is nothing extra. The fiscal spending plan allows us to staff the library as it needs to be staffed while providing information, services, security and safety for hundreds and hundreds of patrons." (Pat Kaufman, Mahopac Library, Putnam County Courier, 06/23/2005)
  • "This is a fair and reasonable cost that is manageable," said trustee Brian Levine of the branches-only proposal. "This will do much to promote neighborhood revitalization." (Library System Expansion is Left up to the Taxpayers, Times Union, 12/19/06)
  • "I am pleased to announce this important capital funding for the Morton Library, and I hope for years to come, children and adults alike will reap the benefits of an improved learning center." (Statement by Senator Saland regarding a state grant of $37,600 given to the Moton Memorial Library and Community House to help with facility upgrades and improvements, Poughkeepsie Journal, March 2007)

On Library Building Projects

  • "The planned expansion is not extravagant, it's necessary." (Excerpt from a Letter-to-the Editor)
  • The expansion plans represent the best possibilities for up-to-date, functional, educational, cultural and aesthetically beautiful library facilities for the people of the city and Town of Poughkeepsie. (Tom Lawrence, Poughkeepsie Public Library District)
  • Cannell said that when the project is completed, neighborhoods will have "state of the art" libraries with meeting spaces, designated public computing spaces for children, teens and adults, and more space for books and media. "Increasingly, libraries are the third place for people," Cannell said. "There's home and work and the third place. For some people, its church; for some, it's the coffee house; for some people - especially teens - it's the library." (Library Director, Jeffrey Cannell, speaks about the latest plan which involves a $29.1 million project for renovations to branch libraries in the Albany area, The Gazette (Schenectedy), 1/3/07)

On Creating Key Message Points

  • Publicity that doesn't contain your key message points is a waste of your time and money.
  • The biggest marketing mistake that companies make is communicating "What-We-Do" instead of "What's-In-It-For-Me?"
  • Message effectiveness requires telling voters what they need to hear.

(From Running for Office: The Strategies, Techniques, and Messages Modern Candidates Need to Win Elections by Ronald A. Faucheux)

On the Value of the Library

  • "The library is the temple of learning, and learning has liberated more people than all the wars in history." (Carl Rowan)
  • "Without libraries what have we? We have no past and no future." (Ray Bradbury)
    "Public libraries are a unique American institution predicated on free and open access to information." (Library Director, Marcy Sims, Virginia Beach)
  • "Libraries are one of the only places left for social gathering that don't require an entrance fee. " (Robert J. Morton)
  • "Libraries, like roads, are part of a community's infrastructure. They are facilities that will be used for generations. A funding mechanism that calls for future generations to help pay for such facilities is perfectly appropriate. Libraries, like parks, are signs of a healthy community, of civic pride, of a citizenry's commitment to learning and the education of future generations." (Excerpt from a Letter-to-the Editor)
  • "The richest person in the world, in fact, all the riches in the world, couldn't provide you wit anything like the endless, incredible loot available at your local public library." (Malcolm Forbes)
  • "No place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest." (Lady Bird Johnson)

Strategies for Demonstrating a People-Focused/Patron Focused Library:

  • Gather Patron Use Stories for Later Use: Have an online survey and a paper survey at the library that says something like, "Tell us how you've used our services - we'd love to know." As an incentive, offer a "get out of a fine free" card to the most interesting anecdote each month.
  • Use real photos on library websites, newsletters, and bookmarks. (Ex. photos of children at story time, the reference librarian helping a patron at the computer, the director engaged in conversation with someone, happy people in the library, a mom and her baby sitting comfortably at the library reading etc…)
  • Use patron testimonials on library website and other publicity materials.

Potential Benefits of Attending Events (Ex. Social, Business, Community Events)

  • Establishing connections/rapport/new friends/volunteers
  • Increasing resource base/potential patrons
  • Raising awareness about the library
  • Gaining insight; learning new information
  • Fun

(From How to Work a Room by Susan Roane)

Sample Campaign Themes

  • "Restore our destiny."
  • "Fairness in Funding"
  • "Readers Make Leaders"
  • "________ Library: Here Today. Tomorrow is Up to You."
  • "It's Your Library"
  • "Strong Libraries Build Stronger Communities"
  • "Don't Close the Book on the _____ Library"
  • "___________ Library: Working to Serve You"
  • "Your library, your vote"

(Sample themes taken from successful library votes.)

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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