Advocacy Update

Federal Relief Package Supports Libraries

March 27, 2020

In addition to supporting funding for libraries, the American Library Association (ALA) supported relief provisions for nonprofit organizations that will allow ALA and other library associations to continue to serve our professions during a crisis that has severely impacted revenue streams, such as conferences. The significant aid for workers across the country through stimulus checks, unemployment … Continue reading Federal Relief Package Supports Libraries


Update on Macmillan ebooks embargo

States Act on Ebooks

March 13, 2020

On March 3, library advocates in New York sent 10,000 letters to state lawmakers as part of a public campaign in response to recent efforts to limit library access to ebooks. The letters, drafted by the New York Library Association in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA), were in support of legislation that would require publishers who … Continue reading States Act on Ebooks


Fund Libraries

Advocates in Motion to #FundLibraries

March 3, 2020

For the fourth year in a row, the Trump administration has called for the elimination of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), currently funded at $195.4 million, and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), a school library-eligible program through the Department of Education, currently funded at $27 million. Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Susan Collins … Continue reading Advocates in Motion to #FundLibraries


From left: Jillian Rael, Sharon Kay Edwards, and Patricia Rua-Bashir at the Public Library Association 2020 Conference in Nashville on February 25.

Advocacy Assets

February 26, 2020

“[People] think advocacy is marble steps and these throne rooms. [For me,] it’s handshakes and sweet tea and conversations,” said Sharon Kay Edwards, legislative monitor for the Tennessee Library Association (TLA), librarian at Motlow State Community College, and an American Library Association (ALA) Policy Corps member. Edwards and her Tennessee colleagues presented the preconference “Developing … Continue reading Advocacy Assets



US Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I., left) and Julie Holden, president of the Rhode Island Library Association

Bringing Congress on Board with #eBooksForAll

February 11, 2020

Like many libraries and consortia around the country, RILA has denounced Macmillan Publishers’ policy that places an eight-week embargo on new ebook titles after libraries purchase one copy. Cranston Public Library (CPL), for example, has stopped buying any ebook or digital audio book published by Macmillan or its imprints. CPL has also stopped promoting Macmillan authors and … Continue reading Bringing Congress on Board with #eBooksForAll


Left to right: John O’Brien, TyLisa Johnson, Christi Buker, Shawnda Hines.

Making the News

January 27, 2020

Christi Buker, executive director of the Pennsylvania Library Association, stressed that libraries should focus on what they do best when conducting advocacy, highlighting successful programs and outreach efforts that can justify continued or new government funding. Alternately, Buker said that libraries need to focus on the bad, too. If libraries are hurting due to lack … Continue reading Making the News


Dewey Decibel, episode 44: Advocacy: Anyone Can Do It

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Advocacy: Anyone Can Do It

November 22, 2019

First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Denis Cotter, chair of Loudon County (Va.) Public Library Board of Trustees, about how the board successfully lobbied the county board of supervisors for the elimination of fines at the library. Next, American Libraries Associate Editor Sallyann Price talks to John Windmueller, … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Advocacy: Anyone Can Do It


Illustration: Drew Bardana

Special Report: Democracy in Action

November 1, 2019

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 … Continue reading Special Report: Democracy in Action


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

November 1, 2019

“Building these relationships is one of the most important strategies for a successful advocacy program,” says Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that helps members of Congress and constituents communicate effectively with each other. “There’s a general wall of cynicism that’s been built up around government. But … Continue reading Connecting with Congress


Linda Neunzig, Snohomish County (Wash.) agriculture coordinator, takes a question from the audience during a discussion titled “­Disappearing Farmland: Population Growth and Food Supply Sustainability” at Monroe Library. The event was part of the Issues That Matter series hosted by ­Sno-Isle Libraries.

Discourse for Democracy

November 1, 2019

In a city of more than 23,000 residents, just 40 miles south of Cleveland, these forums have attracted dozens of attendees and receive significant local media coverage. They are recorded and later posted to the city’s website. Daniel Slife, the library’s director, moderates the forums, which were initiated by former Director Pamela Hickson-Stevenson. Slife always … Continue reading Discourse for Democracy


Civic Involvement, By the Numbers

Civic Involvement

November 1, 2019

These statistics are featured in American Libraries’ “Democracy in Action” special report (Nov./Dec. 2019). 53.9 million Number of citizens of voting age who reported not voting in the 2016 US presidential election. Source: US Census Bureau (2018) 15% Percentage of registered nonvoters who didn’t vote in 2016 because they were not interested or felt that … Continue reading Civic Involvement