Library Advocacy Trading Cards

Get your Sustained Library Advocacy trading cards here.


What's Next?! Sustained Library Advocacy

Get the trading cards right here.


I Love Libraries

If you haven't run across the Ilovelibraries.org site sponsored by the American Library Association, it is a must for a library advocate. Information on being informed, getting involved and taking action are links on a sidebar that provide valuable information. The "get informed" link includes information about copyright, the economic downturn, gaming, immigration, intellectual freedom , privacy and technology. There is also a database of over 240 quotes for you to use during your advocacy activities. Thanks for advocating!


BHAG 3.0 What's Next?! Sustained Library Advocacy

You know the problem. People "love their library" but don't vote for it, or don't make it a priority for existing funds.

What can YOU do? Answer: decide that you'll work to change that. How? Make 2012 your Year of Library Advocacy. You, personally, whether board member, staff member, or citizen. Here’s the plan:

1. Keep hitting these four messages:
Libraries change lives. How? Through our passionate advocacy for literacy and lifelong learning.
Libraries build community. How? By providing public space and encouraging citizen engagement.
Libraries mean business. How? By helping people find jobs, and helping entrepreneurs create them.
Libraries are a smart investment. How? We are a cooperative purchasing agreement that has a great return on the investment.

2. Adopt an advocacy calendar. Here's one.

January-March - Libraries Mean Business (beginning of year up to tax season)

April-June - Libraries Are A Smart Investment (emphasize the savings and cooperative purchasing angle of the library)

July-September - Libraries Change Lives (summer reading and back to school)

October-December - Libraries Build Community (emphasize social capital, human connection, tying into elections and culminating in shared holidays)

3. Do something on this advocacy checklist, a minimum of one a month.

[] Give a talk at a local civic club. (The BHAG talk, to the right, is a good one!)
[] Pay for a 1/4 page ad in the local newspaper.
[] Volunteer to write a column for the paper.
[] Team up for a PSA or interview on local radio.
[] Write a letter of library support to your local town council member.
[] March in the local parade.
[] Buy or bake an apple pie, and present it to the mayor.
[] Hand out library card applications at your local PTO/PTA.
[] Host a Volunteer Appreciation Day.

(Please feel free to add to this list in the comment section of this post!)

And stay tuned for the next big thing: a coordinated statewide library campaign. But for now, why not blog about, tweet, email, or hand out a copy of this posting?

When is the time to library advocacy? NOW.


Communities Stand Behind Librarians Facing Layoffs

Communities Stand Behind Librarians Facing Layoffs
Featuring Colorado's own Gene Hainer and Becky Russell.


Son of BHAG! Library Messaging in the Social Networks

Valerie Horton's new Colorado Libraries article on the 2010 Son of BHAG experiment


BHAG in the News: Keeping Our Message Simple

Jamie LaRue's BHAG Article: American Libraries Magazine


BHAG 2.0: advocating for school libraries

The Colorado Association of Libraries has formed an Advocacy Task Force, and is focusing on school library advocacy in 2011. The project includes a toolkit for school library lovers and advocates.


Info Share & Archive

Hello and thank you for visiting. BHAG was a 2010 initiative that has come to an end. Interested in launching your own advocacy campaign? We will keep this site up, so you can check out our approach. The posts below, as well as the process/resource section in the right sidebar provide an overview of our process and tools. Please feel free to borrow any of these ideas and tools. Questions? Use the contact link in the right sidebar.

Our final report to the Colorado Association of Libraries Board is here.

Forthcoming: articles about BHAG and the Son BHAG social media campaign. Check back here for the links.

Thanks and best of luck with all of your advocacy efforts.


BHAG 1.0 Process outline

Are you a public library stepping up to participate in this initiative?

Here are the steps:

1. Identify a staff liaison. Then send the name of that person to Jamie LaRue. Do this by the end of March, 2010.

2. Find non-library employees (the "advocates") who are (a) really good speakers, and (b) passionate about libraries. Ask them if they would be willing to deliver a 5-20 minute talk five times to various groups in their community. They have a couple of other responsibilities: to give the talks (using this script and based on these training videos), and to fill out a report after each talk. Do this by the end of March, 2010, too.

3. Pick 5 groups -- and one hopes they are not the same people meeting five different times! -- willing to let the advocate address them. Those talks should happen between April and June of 2010. Book these groups on behalf of the advocate. This is also by the end of March.

4. Print out for the advocate enough copies of the postcard for each anticipated audience. Have these ready before each scheduled talk.

5. Show up at the session to field any questions the advocate didn't anticipate.

There might be one other step, between 2 and 3: book a time for your advocate to deliver the talk in front of library staff. There are two reasons for this. First, it gives the advocate a chance to practice. Second, it lets the staff know that there is a local hero, speaking up on the library's behalf. Applause is in order.

Questions? Post them here.


What this effort is about: Phases One and Two

This advocacy effort has two phases.

Phase One: have "external library advocates" present 4 points, five times, to 115 communities around the state. Timeline: April to June, 2010. Gather stories.

Phase Two: connect these advocates (if they are willing) to another effort, the folks working on defeating a trio of proposals (2 constitutional amendments, and one proposition) that together would decimate library services (and not just library services) around Colorado. Timeline: Sept. to November, 2010.

The two are not the same. Libraries really are worth supporting, and we can prove it. Getting that message out is the primary objective. Mainly, this blog is about managing that effort. But you'll also find some links to the second issue. At that point, we move from library advocacy to political awareness.


Dealing with questions

After a library advocate finishes the talk, he or she might well get questions.

Those questions probably fall into three categories:

* amplification of points already made. "What did you mean by ...." In that case, I suspect that most advocates can field it.

* challenges. This might take many forms. It could be complaints. "This happened to me..." It could be generic: "Why don't libraries run more like businesses?" Or ... who know?

* operational questions. "How come my library ..."

It's hard to anticipate a particular issue with a library, of course. But one might well respond to the question about libraries running more like businesses like this: "Which business should libraries emulate? The long range planning of GM? The transparency of Enron? The truth is, businesses should run more like libraries!"

But the simplest strategy is this: "The biggest question I hear is 'how are libraries responding to the Internet?' One answer is on your postcards. For other questions, please talk to me, and I promise to find you an answer." Then the advocate should get in touch with the library liaison.

The final strategy is this: "our job today is really about gathering stories. Tell me about how - in YOUR life - libraries changed your life, or grew your business, or built community."

Then listen. There are so many wonderful stories out there.


How to book a talk

Are you calling a local group to set up a meeting for your advocate? How should you describe the talk?

Say, "Hello! This is *your name* from the *library name*. We'd like to book a talk about the 21st century library. Our community speaker is *speaker name*."

Then take the possible times and locations, verify how long the talk should run, and tell them you'll call back to confirm after you've made sure the speaker can be there.

If you're pressed about "what's the talk about?" just say, "today's libraries face a lot of challenges - and opportunities. We'd like to tell our community what the modern library is about."


The Four Points

Libraries change lives.
Libraries mean business.
Libraries build community.
Libraries are a smart investment.

Why Support Libraries? from Aspen Walker on Vimeo.


Video Tutorials

Presentation Part 2
Presentation Part 3
Presentation Part 4
Presentation Part 5


Spin a Good Story

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. It doesn’t matter how many stories you know. What’s important is selecting the right one for your crowd. Choose the one that best reflects their mood.

BE YOURSELF. Every story has a little bit of you in it, because you chose it. Tell one that you really enjoy and are itching to share.

TAKE RISKS. Storytelling is an organic art. Don’t be afraid to play with the style and delivery of your story, even in the middle of a performance. Do you want it to be comic or reflective? Linear or Tarantino-style?

LISTEN. It’s the only way to connect with your audience, learn new stories, and improve your skills.

BREATHE. Work on your own breathing, posture, and gestures. A lot of storytellers move too quickly because they’re nervous. Make every move deliberate.

DON’T PRACTICE BY YOURSELF. Professional storytellers improve delivery by rehearsing in front of many different people.

Source unknown.


The BHAG Committee Roster

The Big Hairy Audacious Goal of a Colorado Public Library Advocacy Initiative is a subcommittee of the Colorado Association of Libraries.

Its members include:

* Rochelle Logan, President, Colorado Association of Libraries

Colorado State Library representative:
* Gene Hainer, Assistant Commissioner
* Debbi MacLeod, Director of the Colorado State Publications Library
* Shelley Walchak, Library Community Programs Senior Consultant
* Sharon Morris, Director of Library Development and Innovation

* Valerie Horton, Executive Director, Colorado Library Consortium
* Mary Stansbury, Program Chair and Associate Professor, Library and Information Science, Morgridge College of Education, DU
* Claudine Perrault, President, Colorado Public Library Association
* Nicolle Davies, Director of Development and Communications, Arapahoe Library District

* Aspen Walker, Executive Assistant to the Director of the Douglas County Libraries
* Jamie LaRue (committee chair), Director, Douglas County Libraries


60/61 & 101: new blog for library people

Archive Note: in 2010, Colorado faced three ballot initiatives that would have slashed public services across the state. Many library advocates wanted to speak out about the devastating impact of Amendments 60/61 and Proposition 101, while staying on the right side of campaign law. In response, several BHAG members created a blog to help library lovers fight the ballot initiatives on their own time. More info about that effort follows...

Are you a library person looking for resources and guidance about 60/61/101? Check out http://bad3bad4libraries.blogspot.com/.

Public servants cannot campaign on the clock, but they can speak out on their own time. The new site (built by librarians on their own time, using only their personal resources) helps library advocates navigate and respond to the ballot issues within the restraints of the law.


Sustaining Libraries: Advocacy in 2010 & What's Next?! (CALCON10 Preconference)

Thursday, October 7, 2010
Colorado libraries face shrinking budgets and three anti-public service ballot initiatives. Dire times call for a big, hairy, audacious goal ("BHAG”) and YOU. Plug in to the BHAG advocacy & social media movement, the campaign to preserve Colorado’s public services, the Library People advocacy group, and the What’s Next?! support marketing campaign.

Handouts & Resources:

Valerie's slidedeck:

Son of BHAG