November 17, 2017

Election 2014: Getting Candidates on the Record Regarding Libraries | Advocate’s Corner

While it may feel like the 2012 Presidential election cycle was not that long ago, we are already getting into the thick of the 2014 election cycle. Regardless of whether the decision-makers are at the federal, state, or local levels, they will be in a position to impact libraries. Thus, the questions for library supporters must be “which candidates actually care about libraries, and which are willing to put forward a plan of action to improve library services?”

Do Libraries Matter in Paul Ryan’s World? | Advocate’s Corner

Over the past several weeks, decision-makers inside of the Capital Beltway in Washington, DC, have turned their attention to the federal budgeting process for FY 2015.President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have released starkly different visions for what our nation should be spending money on.

Quantifying the Continued Relevance of America’s Public Libraries | Advocate’s Corner

One of the most challenging tasks for grassroots advocacy is in finding data to justify the relative importance of the cause one seeks to promote. In speaking with federal, state, and local legislators about a wide array of good causes, invariably the elected official will ask something like this: “how do I know that folks living in my area actually care about … [insert name of cause here].” Thankfully, for library advocates, a wonderful source of data measures is available to help quantify the actual degree to which the public at-large truly values public libraries.

A Gift from the U.S. Congress to the People of America | Advocate’s Corner

Who would have thought that the United States Congress—after a year filled with gridlock and subsequent political inertia—would end up giving the American people a gift just before Christmas week? As of last week, comprehensive legislation finalizing the federal budget for fiscal year 2014 received final passage from both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. While generally modest in scope, the mere fact that a piece of fiscal legislation garnered the support of key Democrats and Republicans in Congress represents a significant achievement.

I Don’t Need Two Forms of ID When I’m Standing at Your Door | Advocates’ Corner

I suspect we are missing our key audience when we follow our traditional inbound service model during Library Card Sign-Up Month. I believe we can be much more effective if we take a page out of political campaigns and meet the public door-to-door. I’d settle for event-based sign-ups at the grocery store, bank, train station, or playground. But door-to-door is extremely effective in transforming a contact into a conversation and that conversation into action.

Walk Your Precinct: Use Campaigns Techniques To Activate Library Advocates and Voters | Advocates’ Corner

Our colleagues in the political sciences spend considerable time studying voter behavior. They have identified several key reasons that people do or don’t come out to the polls. Human factors like self-identification with a candidate’s issues, personal familiarity with the candidate, and the voter’s own sense of civic responsibility set a baseline for likely support. Whether the voter trusts the election process and government in general, is knowledgeable about the issues and not just personalities, and whether there are barriers to his or her enfranchisement are also significant drivers. Finally, is the voter motivated to go to the polls to punch a chad, or does the campaign need to activate him or her? Over time, candidates have leveraged and shaped these human behaviors into the modern Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign. GOTV approaches becomes best practices for us to follow in library ballot campaigns.

The Downside of Being Universally Liked | Advocate’s Corner

Libraries have no natural predators. Believe me. Having worked in partisan politics and lobbied on contentious issues, I know what it means to have opponents. Since I started lobbying for libraries no one has called me names, hung up on me, or slammed a door in my face.

Sequestration and the New Reality for the Federal Budget Process | Advocate’s Corner

Thus far in 2013, the federal budget picture has been quite grim. Since March 1, the United States government has begun to adapt to the harsh reality of across-the-board budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending. This series of cuts—now commonly referred to as the sequestration—were enacted as part of the Budget Control Act […]

Marketing Libraries Is like Marketing Mayonnaise

If you make one small change to the way you contextualise your marketing efforts, it can yield big results. It’s subtle but important, and here’s how to go about it.

Marketing libraries is a tough business, for all kinds of reasons. Lack of time, lack of funds, lack of other resources. The fact that public perception of what libraries actually do is about 15 years behind the reality in a lot of cases. But also the fact that there’s often a fundamental misunderstanding about what marketing should actually achieve.

Filling the Advocacy Gap: How Millions of Dollars Are at Stake on Ballots and What We’re Doing About It | Advocates’ Corner

Regardless of what The West Wing may have told us, elections are always a numbers game. Let’s say your public library serves a community of 10,000 people and you are fielding a $15 million bond measure to build a new library next November. If we run the “national average” numbers for a Congressional election cycle, you will likely have around 7,000 people of voting age in your jurisdiction. Voter registration runs as high as 60 percent for these biennial elections. However, turn out will be as low as 42 percent in a general election. If your bond measure looses by 4 percent, a not unheard of margin, you will have lost by 141 votes. If you are on the primary ballot—where turn out is in the 22 percent range—you lose by just 74 votes. Multiply that by five or by ten for bigger towns and cities and counties and we’re still talking about small numbers of voters.