As candidates debate, state and local elections approach, and all eyes turn to the Iowa Caucuses February 3, election season is rapidly ramping up. Next year’s contests will be crucial for issues important to libraries, such as information literacy, net neutrality, and how the 2020 Census will shape future funding.
And libraries are especially well suited to be “democracy coaches,” in the words of Amanda Smithfield, a librarian at Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School in Nashville, Tennessee. Open to everyone regardless of political leanings, they serve as voter registration hubs and polling places and provide meeting space for community groups and forums.
Our special report on libraries and democracy encourages libraries to lean into these strengths and expand their election-year offerings, including:
- tips on getting to know your elected officials through year-round advocacy
- creative ways to reach and register potential voters
- guidelines for keeping civic engagement civil, despite growing polarization
- a review of literature on media literacy and a roundup of tech tools to help your patrons spot fake news online
- expert advice from members of ALA’s Policy Corps, who have been testing their library advocacy skills with policymakers
Whether your library is just getting started with election activities or you’re looking for a fresh approach to civic engagement with your patrons, you’ll find practical ideas in this special report.