Library Advocacy

Advocacy Toolkits

Newly-updated from the ALA Committee on Rural, Native and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds, the Association for Rural & Small Libraries and the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

Advocacy News Sources

ALAWON (ALA-Washington Newsline)
A free, irregular e-mail publication of the ALA Washington Office providing the latest news on legislation affecting American libraries.

ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (ALAOIF)
The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries. Online publications include the Library Bill of Rights, Intellectual Freedom Policies and Guidelines and information about frequently challenged library materials.

Wisconsin Library Association Legislation and Advocacy
Learn about library-related legislative issues and help Wisconsin’s libraries serve the state even better!  WLA’s legislative agenda is set annually by the WLA Board of Directors based upon recommendations from the Library Development and Legislation Committee (LD&L). WLA also supports the work of the American Library Association by appointing a Federal Legislative Advocate to monitor and communicate about those issues.

Association Supports for Library Advocacy

Association for Library Service to Children (ASLC)
A division of the American Library Association whose mission is to support the profession of children’s librarianship by enabling and encouraging its practitioners to provide the best library services to our nation’s children.

Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA)
A division of the American Library Association that represents state library agencies, specialized library agencies, independent libraries and multitype library cooperatives.

Public Library Association (PLA)
A division of the American Library Association whose purpose is to advance the development and effectiveness of public library service and public librarians.

Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
A division of the American Library Association that advocates extensive and developmentally appropriate library and information services for young adults, ages 12-18.


View this webinar to learn about ten easy actions, including writing personalized letters, building coalitions in your community and even using social media outlets to help develop and deliver your message. If America’s libraries are going to survive these difficult times, we need your voice – and your action. (Source: NFLS)

Anyone who remembers Schoolhouse Rock’s “How a Bill Becomes a Law” knows that the process is long, arduous and frustrating. That’s the bad news. The good news is that library advocates have opportunities to make a difference at every step of the way. (source: NFLS)

Politicians, lobbyists and advocates alike use the terms “education,” “advocacy” and “lobbying” interchangeably. But what do they all mean? When associated with a government agency or a non-profit it can be very confusing to know what’s allowed – and what will land you in hot water. In this session we look at both the letter and the spirit of the law when it comes to lobbying and advocacy, as well as specific criteria you can use to assess your own situation. Since local library supporters, whether staff, friends, trustee or board members, have the most influence in the legislative process, it’s important to know just how far you can go in connecting them with policymakers. Believe it or not, you have more latitude than you think. And, of course, as a private citizen no one can curtail your right to speak up and make a difference.(Source: NFLS)

  • Building Bridges Series for Public Libraries from OCLC

Join OCLC, host Chrystie Hill, WebJunction’s Director of Community Services, and guest speakers for the second half of this series of webinars designed to inspire and engage public libraries on topics of vital interest. Each program in the series will offer practical advice on issues that are top-of-mind in public libraries

Watch the Building Bridges webinar series now!

#1 Principles of Advocacy

Public library professionals know the importance of demonstrating their value to their local communities. Are you looking for inspiration to jump-start your own advocacy efforts? Join us to better understand how ongoing community advocacy supports the vital role your library plays in the community. Speakers included Mary Hirsh, Project Coordinator for PLA and Lynn Slawsky, Program Officer, Turning the Page 2.0, who discussed PLA’s Turning the Page program; Janet Sawaya, Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, who discussed the foundation’s role in funding public library advocacy programs; and Jennifer Pearson, Senior Manager of Advocacy Programs, OCLC, who discussed the Geek the Library community awareness program.

#2  Community Outreach

This one-hour online session focuses on the importance of building and maintaining strong community partnerships. You’ll hear from both a small and a large public library on why they believe these partnerships are integral to their success. Guest speakers Gerry Meek, CEO of the Calgary Public Library in Canada, and Debbie Winlock, Director of the Page Public Library in Arizona give you tips on how you can make this work in your community.

#3  Communicating Your Value

This one-hour online session focused on how public libraries can effectively work with the community and elected officials to align priorities and gain support. Guest speaker Ron Carlee, the executive-in-residence and director, Strategic Domestic Initiatives for the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), discusses the library’s value to the community and elected officials, how to talk with elected officials to gain their support and how to get to the table for important community discussions. He offers practical advice that you can use in your library.

#4  Your Library’s Future

Martín Gómez, City Librarian at Los Angeles Public Library, discusses the future of public libraries, answering questions and giving practical advice about the continued success of public libraries in our changing environment.

Wisconsin Advocacy Resources

Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries is an ongoing, statewide effort that provides a collective voice for Wisconsin libraries of all types to promote a better understanding of how libraries contribute to the state’s economic growth, education and lifelong learning, and the quality of life in Wisconsin.

Library Advocacy for Trustees Trustee Essential 13 covers what library advocates do and why are they needed, how to establish priorities for advocacy, and ways to act as an advocate.

Public Library Economic Impact Study
A brochure of the social and economic benefits of Wisconsin Public Libraries from an economic impact research report produced by NorthStar Economics. For more information visit

Legislation and Advocacy – WLA/WLTF provides a menu of resources to keep you up to date on current state and federal issues, important advocacy tips and links, etc..

Public Libraries and the Internet provides Wisconsin data and pr briefs from the The Public Library Funding & Technology Access survey, for E-Government and Employment service. The U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services  advocacy tool describes the increased use of online government information and services, the critical role of public libraries in helping provide access and assistance using these resources and the challenges that must be addressed to improve e-government at the local, state and federal level.

Federal Advocacy Resources

American Library Association Advocacy Resources:

  • Add It Up – research and statistics to help advocates make the case for libraries at every stage of youth development and education.  Talking points have been developed to focus on public libraries or school libraries.
  • Office for Library Advocacy – The Office for Library Advocacy (OLA) supports the efforts of advocates seeking to improve libraries by developing resources, a peer-to-peer advocacy network, and training for advocates at the local, state and national level.

Libraries Stack Up is a report comparing libraries to similar services in the U.S. Did you know that more people go to libraries than all the professional and college basketball, football, baseball, and hockey games combined? This is worthwhile reading!

Library facts and statistics highlight the important role U.S. Libraries currently play.
The 2009-2010 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study offers librarians statistics to support local funding and advocacy initiatives:

  • The U.S. Public Libraries and E-Government Services  describes critical role of public libraries in helping provide access and assistance with the increased use of online government information and  and the challenges that must be addressed to improve e-government at the local, state and federal level.(PDF)


Provides a Community Relations section with resources and workshops on marketing strategies and communication techniques for effectively connecting with stakeholders, communicating the library’s value, and promoting lifelong learning at the library.


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