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



Nebraska City (Neb.) Mayor Bryan Bequette (left) and his wife and daughter celebrate after solving a puzzle in the Morton-James Public Library’s escape room.

Nontraditional Approaches to Reaching Local Leaders

November 1, 2019

At Manitowoc (Wis.) Public Library (MPL), which hosts a free carnival every August, local representatives such as the mayor and aldermen hop into a dunk tank or serve as targets for the water-balloon catapult. Julia Lee, youth services manager at MPL, says getting local celebrities in the dunk tank helps break down barriers between residents … Continue reading Nontraditional Approaches to Reaching Local Leaders



Mary Ghikas, ALA executive director

Listening to Your Community

November 1, 2019

At the event, R. David Lankes, now director of University of South Carolina’s iSchool, facilitated discussions on the topic. Participants from all types of libraries were asked to take an imaginary walk around their community: observing, listening, seeking to understand the aspirations of the community for itself. During the discussion that followed, participants talked about how … Continue reading Listening to Your Community


From left: ALA Past President Loida Garcia-Febo; PLA Executive Director Barb Macikas; ALA Past President Sari Feldman; Alan S. Inouye, ALA senior director of public policy and government relations; and Tim Cherubini, executive director of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, outside the offices of Macmillan Publishers on October 30, 2019. Photo: Daniel Root

Library Advocates Deliver Ebook Petition to Macmillan

October 30, 2019

“I traveled from the nation’s capital to New York City, the publishing capital, to stand for the vast number of readers who will be impacted by this discriminatory embargo,” said Alan S. Inouye, the American Library Association’s (ALA) senior director of public policy and government relations. He was joined by past ALA Presidents Loida Garcia-Febo … Continue reading Library Advocates Deliver Ebook Petition to Macmillan


Advocacy Update

New ALA Report Cites Abusive Pricing, Denial and Delay of Sales to Libraries by Major Publishers

October 24, 2019

“By outright denying or delaying library access to digital content, dominant actors in digital markets endanger America’s competitiveness and our nation’s cultural heritage,” ALA President Wanda Brown said in an October 24 statement. “Everyone who reads, writes, performs, or sells creative works is harmed when libraries are unable to purchase and deliver content for all … Continue reading New ALA Report Cites Abusive Pricing, Denial and Delay of Sales to Libraries by Major Publishers


US Capitol

August Is for Advocacy

July 24, 2019

As you may have heard in the news, the Trump administration appears to be moving forward with a budget deal, after weeks of negotiations between congressional leaders and White House officials. The agreement currently includes increased or level funding for most domestic and defense programs. In May, the House included significant increases in their funding, … Continue reading August Is for Advocacy