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Behind the lines of the political battle for libraries vla2014 preconference

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Behind the lines of the political battle for libraries vla2014 preconference

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Presented with John Chrastka for the Virginia Library Association Preconference in 2014.


For speaking engagements please contact PC Sweeney at http://pcsweeney.com/speaking-at-your-event/

Presented with John Chrastka for the Virginia Library Association Preconference in 2014.


For speaking engagements please contact PC Sweeney at http://pcsweeney.com/speaking-at-your-event/

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Behind the lines of the political battle for libraries vla2014 preconference

  1. 1. Behind the Lines of the Political Battle for Libraries Building voter support for libraries VLA 2014 Preconference John Chrastka and Patrick Sweeney @everylibrary @pcsweeney @mrchrastka www.everylibrary.org
  2. 2. About EveryLibrary Founded on the fact that libraries, as public entities, cannot expend their own funds to do electioneering. “Info-Only” is allowed. The IRS "caps" spending by Associations and other charities for lobbying. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  3. 3. About EveryLibrary Set up as a 501c4 Social Welfare Organization chartered to support local library ballot measures like bonds, referendum, parcel taxes, levies and mills. Includes our support for legislation that impacts the ability of libraries to function as districts. Building voter support for libraries
  4. 4. About EveryLibrary EveryLibrary works with Info-Only and Vote YES campaigns, Pro-Bono. ● Pre-planning and polling ● Technical assistance with campaigns ● Staff, Trustee and Friends roles ● Timing issues in the public trust Building voter support for libraries
  5. 5. Voter Information Perception of Libraries and Librarians
  6. 6. Voter Attitudes Nationwide, of all voters: 37% will Definitely vote yes for the library 37% will Probably vote yes for the library 26% will Probably or Definitely vote no or may vote either way. Building voter support for libraries
  7. 7. Library Use Does Not Matter The research revealed an important distinction between the public library user and the public library funder. Not every library user is a library funder; not every library funder is a library user. A voter’s willingness to support increased library funding is not driven, or limited, by library use. In fact, the advocacy research found that there is little correlation between frequency of library visits and willingness to increase funding for libraries. - OCLC "From Awareness to Funding" p. 7-2 Building voter support for libraries
  8. 8. Library Use Does Not Matter A voter’s willingness to support increased library funding is not driven, or limited, by library use. Building voter support for libraries
  9. 9. Library as Transformative Force [T]he library is not perceived as just a provider of practical answers and information; the most committed supporters hold the belief that the library is a transformational force. - OCLC "From Awareness to Funding" p. 7-4 Building voter support for libraries
  10. 10. Attitude - Not Demographics A crucial and somewhat unexpected finding from the segmentation analysis was that demographics and lifestage were not important constructs in the library supporter segmentation. In fact, demographics are irrelevant to library funding support. The factors that determine residents’ willingness to increase their taxes to support their local library are their perceptions and attitudes about the library and the librarian, not their age, gender, education level or household income. Library funding support is an attitude, not a demographic. - OCLC "From Awareness to Funding" p. 7-3 Building voter support for libraries
  11. 11. Attitude - Not Demographics The factors that determine residents’ willingness to increase their taxes to support their local library are their perceptions and attitudes about the library and the librarian. Building voter support for libraries
  12. 12. Who Supports Libraries? • They are involved in their communities • They recognize the library’s importance to the community and to a child’s education • They are not always heavy users of the library, but believe the library is a noble place, important and relevant to the community • They see the library as a vital community resource like public schools, fire and police, and are willing to increase their taxes to support the library. • They recognize the value of a ‘passionate librarian’ as a true advocate for lifelong learning. Building voter support for libraries
  13. 13. They recognize the value of a ‘passionate librarian’ as a true advocate for lifelong learning. - OCLC "From Awareness to Funding" p7-4 Building voter support for libraries Who Supports Libraries?
  14. 14. Voter Attitudes What do we know about voters and libraries? ● Users vs. Non-Users: No Difference ● Progressives vs. Conservatives: No Difference ● Other Demographics: No Significant Difference ● Any Tax is a Bad Tax: To Watch Nothing Impacts More than their Perception of the Librarian and the Library as Institution. Building voter support for libraries
  15. 15. What Activates Voters for the Library? The Librarian is the “Candidate” The Library is the “Incumbent” Library = Librarians + Community Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  16. 16. Run it Like a Campaign What do you want to win?
  17. 17. Three Kinds of Money 1. Tax Money 2. Grant Money 3. Charitable Money Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  18. 18. Three Kinds of Money 1. Tax Money a. “Regular Order” b. At the Polls 2. Grant Money a. Capacity Building b. Sustaining 3. Charitable Money a. Small donors b. Big donors Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  19. 19. Run it Like a Campaign Build your team
  20. 20. Like - Support - ID I Like what you’re doing ---> I Support what you are doing ---> I want to Identify Myself with what you are doing. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  21. 21. Building voter support for libraries Civic Attitudes ● 94% of Parents say libraries are important for their children. 79% say “very important”. 2 ● 58% of Americans have a library card. 3 ● 62% of card holders have visited the library in the last year at least once.4 2. Pew, May 2013 3 and 4. Harris Interactive | ALA, January 2011 #everylibrary
  22. 22. Building the Team Ask Four Questions: Q1: What community groups do you belong to? Q2: Where do you live and where do you spend your time? Q3: Who do you know who knows everybody? Q4: Who are we missing? Building voter support for libraries
  23. 23. Who is in Your Community? Identify community leaders with 5 quick questions Q1. Why is the library important to you, personally? Q2. What is your favorite reason to use the library? Q3. Who does the Library serve? Q4. Why is the library important to those people? Q5. What will new funding do to serve those communities? Building voter support for libraries
  24. 24. Like - Support - ID Give folks a chance to ladder up… ● Share/LIke ● Endorse ● Donate -> Volunteer ● Hype Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  25. 25. Find Your Allies Ask for endorsements
  26. 26. Inventory Your Allies 1. Educational Partners 2. Social Welfare and Religious Partners 3. Governmental Partners 4. Civic Partners 5. Business Partners 6. Politicians 7. Media Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  27. 27. Inventory Your Allies 1. Educational Partners Pre-K and K-12 College/University For-Profit Tutoring Private/Public After-School Programs Three Messages: Library as Educational Partner, Library as Resource Extender, Library as Gap Filler Building voter support for libraries
  28. 28. Inventory Your Allies 2. Social Welfare and Religious Partners Counseling Centers Food Pantry / WIC Jobs Training Center Literacy Centers Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts Three Messages: Library as Resource Extender, Library as Third Place, Library as Start Point Building voter support for libraries
  29. 29. Inventory Your Allies 3. Governmental Partners Parks Public Safety – Police and Fire Public Works Public Employee Unions Three Messages: Library as Contact Place, Library as Info Point, Library in Common Cause Building voter support for libraries
  30. 30. Inventory Your Allies 4. Civic Partners Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis Heritage and local history GLBT, Immigrant and New Resident Three Messages: Library as Social Leveler, Library as Neutral Good, Library as [insert organizational cause the library already champions] Building voter support for libraries
  31. 31. Inventory Your Allies 5. Business Partners Local Chamber / CVB Startups and Entrepreneurs Small Businesses – Service or Retail Big Employers Three Messages: Librarian as Business Reference Resource, Library as Training Space, Library as Retail Anchor Building voter support for libraries
  32. 32. Inventory Your Allies 6. Politicians Incumbents Insurgents Local, State, Federal Three Messages: Library as Good Governance, Library as Responsible with Budget, Library as [insert their pet project] Building voter support for libraries
  33. 33. Inventory Your Allies 7. Media Local Print, Radio and TV Bloggers Social Media Engagement Key Messaging is always your campaign themes and talking points Building voter support for libraries
  34. 34. Messaging that Works Talk to your communities
  35. 35. Positioning the Library If the Library “is it”: The library is a primary deliverer of a service in the community: We are integral to... If the Library “is a partner”: The library supports a primary deliverer in the community: We are most helpful when we…. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  36. 36. To Library Users: ● “As you know...” ● Personal Value Proposition ● Value for Other ● Activation for the library To Non-Users: ● “As you can imagine...” ● Value to/for “the other” ● Satisfaction/Activation Remember – “User Status” Does Not Matter Building voter support for libraries
  37. 37. The Library as… ● Educational Partner ● Economic Development Engine ● Social Leveler ● Place of Discovery ● Personal Refuge Voter See the Library as a “Transformative Force” Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  38. 38. “Transformative Force” The Library as Incubator ● Businesses ● The Arts ● Community Identity The Library as Leverage ● Retail Anchor ● Grants and Capacity ● Access to Tech Building voter support for libraries
  39. 39. What do you want to win? Pro Tips
  40. 40. Three Kinds of Money 1. Tax Money a. “Regular Order” b. At the Polls 2. Grant Money a. Capacity Building b. Sustaining 3. Charitable Money a. Small donors b. Big donors Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  41. 41. Inventory Your Ecosystem 1. Who else is on the ballot / before the body? 2. Who is your champion on the council? 3. Who is your opposition…? 4. What do they want? 1. What are your potential asks? 2. If you are not ‘at risk’ this season, who is? Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  42. 42. “Regular Order” Budget Frames We have a plan that... ● Is basic - needs stability ● Is aspirational - needs growth ● Is integral - advances several missions The community needs the library to…. ● Partner ● Incubators ● Leverage Building voter support for libraries
  43. 43. At the Polls There is a plan for the library that is supported by tax money. As public employees of this public institution, we have a responsibility to communicate about how those monies would be spent. “We have a question on the ballot that will...” Plan “A” and Plan “B”. The voters decide on Election Day. Building voter support for libraries
  44. 44. Three Kinds of Money 1. Tax Money a. “Regular Order” b. At the Polls 2. Grant Money a. Capacity Building b. Sustaining 3. Charitable Money a. Small donors b. Big donors Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  45. 45. Data are a “Good Economy” Ask Stories are a “Bad Economy” Ask Perception Drives the Answer in Either Case Grant Applications Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  46. 46. Three Kinds of Money 1. Tax Money a. “Regular Order” b. At the Polls 2. Grant Money a. Capacity Building b. Sustaining 3. Charitable Money a. Small donors b. Big donors Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  47. 47. Charitable Fundraising 1. Leverage 1. New reason to give to the library 1. Every person on the committee gives 1. Challenge / Match Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  48. 48. Charitable Fundraising 1. Map your goals a. Small donors i. Individual ii. Business b. Large Donors i. Individuals/Families ii. Corporate c. Foundations, Nonprofits, Unions, and Chambers 1. Fiscal Years - Library Friends /Foundations 1. FEIN and Reporting Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  49. 49. What do you want to win? But who is going to be opposed to it?
  50. 50. Who Opposes Libraries? ● Against Taxes ● Against the Staff or Leadership ● Community “Zero Sum” Groups ● Anti-Access 1. Small and leaderless? 2. Organizized but Unsupported 3. National Action Building voter support for libraries
  51. 51. Anti Tax ● Is there a strong anti-tax group in the area? ● Is there a vocal opposition to tax measures? ● Is there organization against “waste”? ● Were there previous initiatives that failed? ● Are there comments on online media or blogs in opposition? “The Library Tax is a Different Tax” Building voter support for libraries
  52. 52. Against the Staff or Leadership ● Is there a self-appointed watchdog group / individual? ● Is there local outcry against the library staff or government employees? ● Does the community look unfavorably on the library leadership? ● Does the local political body support the board and staff? “Open, transparent, and consultative process to get here.” Building voter support for libraries
  53. 53. Community “Zero Sum” ● Why did previous initiatives for schools, police and fire, parks, or libraries fail? ● Is the opposition personal? ● Is the community changing rapidly - demographics or income? ● Who is the “Them” in your community? “We want the library to be the at the center and this plan does that.” Building voter support for libraries
  54. 54. Anti-Access ● Porn and children’s safety ● Materials challenges ● People use the Internet for “illegitimate” reasons…. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  55. 55. Building voter support for libraries Responding to the opposition You won’t change their mind… you just need them to stay quiet ● Transparency repeat transparency ● Meet them discreetly ● Listen, acknowledge, respond #everylibrary
  56. 56. What You Can Do Starting Tomorrow Days | Weeks | Months | Years
  57. 57. “Perception of the Librarian” Nothing Impacts Voter Behavior More than Their Perception of the Librarian and the Library as Institution. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  58. 58. “The Passionate Librarian” Your own story, your own biography, about why you work in the library matters. What is your best story about helping an individual or the community ‘change’? Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  59. 59. “The Passionate Librarian” I am the Librarian who…. … find a job … learn to read … connect with family What’s your own story? Building voter support for libraries
  60. 60. Community Engagement with Librarians Get the Staff out of the library o Surveys o Programs and Events o Service Delivery Improve customer service o Training and Role Playing o Ramp Up the Social Media o Check Policies that Get in the Way Building voter support for libraries
  61. 61. Community Engagement Surveys ● Community Assessment Survey ● Strategic Planning Surveys ● Key Stakeholder Surveys Building voter support for libraries
  62. 62. Community Engagement Programs and Events: ● Programs that support your allies and endorsers ● Programs that expose your staff to new people ● Programs that encourage civic engagement Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  63. 63. Community Engagement Service Delivery: ● New resident visits ● Embedded librarians with key allies ● Library Card Sign-up Month* Building voter support for libraries
  64. 64. Start Educating the Public about Why You Spend “Raise and Appropriate” “Accept and Expend” “Anticipating Funds” More than the Annual Report…. Building voter support for libraries #everylibrary
  65. 65. John Chrastka and Patrick Sweeney EveryLibrary www.everylibrary.org | facebook/everylibrary @everylibrary | everylibrary.tumblr.com john.chrastka@everylibrary.org patrick.sweeney@everylibrary.org Building voter support for libraries Thank You

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