Activate the Community
Now is the time to activate the public into taking action and engaging in the campaign. Give them something to talk about!
This is a community-driven program, and it’s your job to empower the public to change the current downward funding trend.
- Invite the public to become part of the awareness campaign by sharing their stories of how the library has helped them find a job, start a business, etc. Take photos and create a display or record short videos and feature on your Web site and your YouTube page.
- Recruit those who would be willing to speak to the media with you and encourage them to write letters to the editor.
- Remind the public to talk with local appointed and elected officials about the value of the public library to individuals and the community.
- Provide opportunities in the library and at events to learn more about specific local needs, and encourage your community to join the public library funding discussion.
- Create a campaign display in the library and at events, and ask the public to give their opinions. Once the display is full, document what was written and use it when you speak with the media and when you make presentations to local businesses or organizations.
- Hold a contest encouraging the community to write short essays about why the library adds value to their lives. Display entries in the library and online. Be sure to use this as a media opportunity.
- Encourage the public to spread the message further and continue the discussion online via their online social networks. Create initiatives specifically directed at your social network participants. For example, ask your Facebook fans to create and upload pictures of them doing what they geek.
Community leaders and library supporters:
- Provide an update explaining the shift in focus and the need for their help, or invite them to a special educational presentation at the library.
- Upload informational charts online and invite them to visit your homepage and provide comments.
- Conduct a library Snapshot Day, where you take photos of everything that goes on for an entire day at the library, and invite them to come see the resulting presentation or display.
- Use the shift in messaging to speak directly about funding. The Economic Development Kit and the Start the Conversation Kit can help.
- Describe the bigger story, including how your library and the funding challenges you face compares to what is going on nationally. Include information from recent studies, if applicable.
- Incorporate local stories and data, if possible. For example, if you know of patrons who used your library to apply for and find jobs, contact them and ask for their approval to publicize their stories. Providing local perspective, with contact information, makes the reporter’s job much easier.