The Importance and Purpose of Library Advocacy
Advocacy simply means to actively support a cause. Libraries are our cause. Many people in the community recognize libraries are an important asset; but there are people who feel that technology has made library services obsolete and the current economic situation sometimes makes their argument compelling. Library supporters must remind their neighbors, community leaders, and elected officials of the fact that libraries provide great learning opportunities, excellent public service, and serve as invaluable contributors in their communities.
Advocacy is such an easy word, yet so complicated in the minds of many in the library community. Why is it that most library supporters, who themselves are strong community members, have no idea of the importance of speaking out in support of their libraries?
This toolkit was created for you, the library supporter and Illinois citizen, so that you can learn to be a true library advocate. Your voice will make a difference, especially if it is heard at the right time and in the right place and by the right person. All legislators want to know their constituents; they need to know the opinions and views of their constituents BEFORE they vote on a piece of legislation. You can make the difference. This toolkit is a compilation of the basic advocacy tools, and provides guidance on:
- Why be a library advocate?
- Building relationships
- Participating in advocacy events
- Communication tools