We’re in the second half of summer and looking toward our August – November ballot measures. It is a quiet year, but we are tracking 14 fall elections and supporting 8. We’ve been traveling to different areas of the country helping libraries to strategize their campaigns for a win at the ballot box. We base our approach on what we learned from the OCLC’s From Awareness to Funding report the nothing impacts voter behavior more than their perception of the librarian and the library as institution.
As we move into fall we want to encourage libraries everywhere get their staff outside of the library and engage with the community during library card sign up month in September. We have a guide that takes you through planning to execution. We want to make it easy because it is something we really believe in. Our Executive Director, John Chrastka, had this to say about library card sign up month in his piece for Library Journal:
To shake a person’s hand, look them in the eye, and introduce yourself as their librarian is powerful. The library is one part of civil society where people don’t laugh when you say “I am from the government and I am here to help.” For staff, friends, trustees, and volunteers, this is a powerful opportunity to say to someone “I am here as your neighbor. Let me tell you about our library.”
Last night the Eugene City Council (OR) voted to place a 5 year levy increase on the ballot. This levy increase is a bump to the operations budget to support extended hours, increased services, and more technology. Following a survey that was done earlier this year, the library presented council with a detailed proposal on what additional funding would be needed to match up with what residents saw as the library of the future.
The Omaha Public Library Board has commissioned a study that could lead to big changes in funding for the library system. The library is part of the city budget and has been given enough over the years to keep the doors open. The study asks users to define what they see as a 21st Century library.
This week we are thrilled to announce the winner of the Great Librarian Write Out. Courtney Young was chosen for her piece in the Huffington Post entitled How Libraries Are Transforming Into Community Anchors. There were several other honorable mentions this year. We’re proud to see library workers stepping out and advocating for libraries in the media.
Last year we worked with Urban Librarians Unite in Miami-Dade County to help the Coalition to Save our Libraries stabilize and increase the proposed funding for libraries. We were happy to see last week that the Mayor’s proposed FY15-16 budget is using that $52 million budget as the base for next year. It’s only through ongoing work by the Coalition, other stakeholders, and the community that this is possible.
Our Board Members, John Chrastka and Brian Hart will be at the National Conference of African American Librarians on August 7th giving a presentation on “The Librarian as a Candidate”. Learn how you can activate advocates in your network by using data from library related political campaigns. Conference registration information and session information are up. Hope to see you there.
We are still looking for contributions to our new journal the Political Librarian. The call is open to anyone who wants to participate in a new dialogue about library policy and funding. Don’t have time for a peer review? That’s OK we also want thought pieces and white papers. Our full editorial guidelines are posted and our editorial board can assist with the process.
That’s all for today. Join us next week for another round up. Happy trails!