3: Determine if You are Ready for a Vote
1: Are We Ready?
Having a clear justification for why a vote is necessary will provide clarity and purpose, which is necessary for convincing the public. Identifying clear, concise reasons for your vote is an important starting place.
2. Do you have the full board's support for this vote and at least one board member who is willing to take the lead?
A successful vote requires the contribution of several people, with at least one person taking the leadership role in overseeing the library's campaign. Make sure you can identify one person who is able to do this.
3. Do you have a working relationship with your town officials?
Lack of support from town leaders, with their clout and influence in the community, can be detrimental to a library's vote. Early in the process, find out how supportive your town officials are. Before publicly announcing your vote plans, sit down with them and explain what you are doing. Remind them that a public vote takes the onus of a tax increase off them and gives it to the community. If they aren't supportive, ask that they remain publicly neutral. If they are blatantly opposed, you need to carefully consider your strategy.
4. Can you get the number of votes needed to win?
Chances are good that you can get enough votes to win if you work from your built-in group of supporters: your users. Use the strategy suggested in Appendix A: Voter Matrix, which directs you to determine how many votes can be gleaned from your high-volume users.
Libraries tend to
have a real advantage when it comes to public votes for several reasons:
In short, connecting
with and mobilizing users is your best strategy for success.
5. Have you involved library staff and enlisted their support?
Staff members are the image emissaries of the library and therefore, have a significant impact on the success of your vote. Although they cannot actively promote the vote, their personal buy-in, input, and user interactions can be critical to the vote's success. Be sure to involve them early on in the process.
6. Can you identify allies in the community who will likely support your cause?
It is essential to
be able to identify a variety of groups, such as business/community leaders,
town board members, members of community organizations, etc. and a list
of respected individuals within your community who are likely to support
your vote. This will provide the grassroots support and credibility needed
for success. Do you have groups that will support you?
Continue to Step
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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