While we’re all dealing with presidential election overload and exhaustion, we can’t ever lose sight of the importance of making our libraries an asset to our local elected officials.
At their Trustees/Friends luncheon on April 8, the Tennessee Library Association and Friends of Tennessee Libraries (FOTL) jointly honored longtime Friend Julie D. Webb with their Friend of the Year Award, which celebrates a group or individual that has made a significant contribution to a Friends organization and the advancement of libraries in the state.
On a long Election Night filled with tension and political upset, 79 libraries across the country had referenda on the ballot. The news for libraries was more good than bad. At press time, 54 had recorded wins and 12 losses, with the remainder either not applicable—representing votes to leave a district, for instance—or still too close to call.
In this day and age, with libraries forced to defend their funding either to the voters every election cycle or local municipal leaders every budget season, it is essential for Friends groups to climb the ladder of library advocacy and see themselves as citizens who stand up for their libraries. For some, this will be a natural transition; for others, it is a total redefinition of what it means to be a Friend.
When working with political campaigns for EveryLibrary, we are often asked to identify the most important digital tactic for winning campaigns and advocating for libraries. Many of the people who ask expect us to talk about best practices using Facebook or Twitter to reach the public. They are usually surprised to hear we still believe email is the absolute most important tool for digital campaigns. This is true because email is still fundamentally the key to the Internet. Your library’s biggest goal in digital and in-person strategy should be the acquisition of email addresses.
Few libraries were untouched by the economic downturn of the 2000s. As systems began to rebound, however, a challenge was to replace the perception that they were down and out with the new reality of extended hours, replenished staff, and improved services. The strongest marketers among them also focused on the stories behind those comebacks, and information about what users could expect going forward. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (CML), in the city of Charlotte and County of Mecklenburg, NC, was determined not just to recover but to come back stronger than ever, to make sure its customers knew it—and to give them a chance to tell their side of the story.
Over 400 librarians from across the U.S. and Canada came together at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on August 10–13 for the National Diversity in Libraries Conference (NDLC), organized around the theme “Bridges to Inclusion.” Co-presented by the UCLA Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), this year’s conference was a jam-packed four days of learning, listening, sharing, growing, and strategic planning, providing opportunities for much-needed support and connections among librarians committed to doing diversity work.
While many libraries have come up with creative rewards for staff innovation, the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) Innovative Cool Awards do double duty. The monthly award, funded and run by BPL’s ten-member Board of Trustees, is an incentive for staff to develop—and promote—engaging new programs and workshops, and also a way to connect the board with staff.
On August 8 Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, announced that it will provide its Analytics on Demand (AOD) service to EveryLibrary, a national nonprofit political action committee for libraries, free of charge, so that it may better analyze data about library supporters in advance of the November elections and on an ongoing basis for future campaigns.