Advocacy Tips & Resources
How to advocate for your library
- PaLA’s PA Forward initiative frames issues your elected officials can relate to
- The PA Forward Toolkit are full of ways to educate leaders about the power of Pennsylvania’s libraries
- Meet with local and state legislators to discuss important issues and remember to thank them for their support
- Connect with your legislators on social media
- Invite legislators and your local elected officials to come to your library for personal tours or events
- Take plenty of pictures to post around the library and on social media channels
- Offer space in your library for your local officials to hold town hall or open meetings with their constituents
- This shows both the library’s involvement with the community and helps you build a relationship with your representatives
- Join business groups like Rotary so that you can network with local leaders
- This enables potential partners to become aware of what the library does and can do for them
- Stay informed
- Be enthusiastic and upbeat
What other methods can you use to communicate with legislators?
- Don’t assume legislators and local elected officials know what libraries are and offer. It may be a long time since they've visited one. Try to nudge them into recognizing how important libraries are in communities today.
- One way to start: offer them a library card!
- PaLA periodically urges members to contact legislators by writing letters and sending emails
- Be as specific as possible; for example, cite a bill by its number (Legislative Session information)
- Explain your support or opposition of issues, giving examples from local experience if possible
- Telephone calls can also be useful ways to communicate
- Even if you don't speak directly with your representative, your call will be noted, as will your position on the issue at hand
- Leverage relationships by enlisting organizations and their members like Pennsylvania Citizens for Better Libraries (PCBL) to assist in reinforcing messages to legislators
Most importantly: remember that you can advocate for your libraries year-round
The American Library Association Advocacy and Public Policy page provides options to help you advocate successfully.
Visit congress.gov for information on federal legislation as well as links to other government sites.