Consulting

Advocacy

Advocacy is the actions individuals or organizations undertake to influence decision-making at the local, regional, state, national, and international level—that help create a desired policy or funding change in support of public libraries.  

- Public Library Association  
Turning the Page Supporting Libraries, Strengthening Communities 

Why advocacy matters? 
  • Libraries provide services that community members need.  

  • Provision of these services takes money. 

  • Not all local, state, and national leaders recognize the value of libraries or understand how the library contributes to the overall well-being of the community. 

  • Other leaders are strong advocates whose influence needs to be maintained and cultivated. 

  • Advocacy involves influencing and educating funding and governance leaders in order to obtain the resources the library needs to assist community members. 

 
Where can I learn more about how to be a better advocate? 
 
How do I get started? 
  • Advocacy is about relationships. Think about who you know, and who they know.  

  • Ask those individuals to meet you for coffee, talk to them when they visit the library, or when you see them in the community. Find out what they are working on. This often leads to opportunities to talk about how the library is working on those issues as well. 

  • If they support the library ask them “What do you love about your library?  Do you have a story about your library that you would be willing to share with others?” If they say yes collect the story and share it with others. 

  • If they don’t support the library continue to talk to them and build a positive relationship. You will need to listen more than you talk. Eventually you might find common ground. Even if you don’t they are less likely to stand in the way of library efforts if they know you personally. 

  • If you are working on funding for the library explore our resources about mill levies and winning elections.

 
How can I connect with local leaders? 
  • Invite a local government leader to your library or out for coffee. Attend a community meeting and set a goal of meeting at least one new community or government leader. 

  • Attend Montana Association of County Officers (MACo) annual conference. 

 
How can I get involved at the state level? 
  • Follow the work of the Montana State Library. 

  • Follow the work of the Montana Legislature - learn about proposed bills or listen to legislative hearings.  

 
How can I get involved at the national level? 
  • Subscribe to wired-mt and follow-through on postings asking for action.