Special Report: Democracy in Action

Prepping your library for the 2020 elections

November 1, 2019

Illustration: Drew Bardana
Illustration: Drew Bardana

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:

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.

How is your library preparing for the 2020 election? Share your ideas with us on Twitter @amlibraries or email americanlibraries@ala.org.


Deborah Doyle talks with California State Sen. Mark McGuire about funding, programming, and new technology at Healdsburg Regional Library. (Photo: Ray Holley/Sonoma County Library)

Connecting with Congress

How libraries can build relationships with elected officials through year-round advocacy

Graphic: Libraries use tech tools to fight fake news (Illustration: Drew Bardana)

Check Your Facts

Libraries use tech tools to fight fake news