It's almost District Days again, a time when our legislative representatives return to their home states. This is the perfect time to meet and discuss how they can help advocate for your library.
One of the best ways to get your message across to your representatives is by giving them personal stories; Legislators love to hear those. There are many ways you can gather personal stories to share.
1) Show them thank you notes and customer comment cards. Does your library offer comment cards to the public? Has anyone ever left a note in a book or on a desk thanking you or your library for the great services you offer? These are great stories to share with your elected officials.
2) Ask customers for their personal stories. If you have regular users of the library they will probably be just as interested in advocacy as you are. Have them share their story with you or with the elected official. Not sure who that is? Visit the ALA Legislative Action Center to find out.
3) Bring some photos of a library event. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have photos of a teen event, program, party, Teen Advisory Board meeting, seminar, etc. bring those to your meeting and show your Legislator that with their support we can continue to offer great programming for teens and keep the libraries as safe havens for them to congregate in.
4) Bring statistics about program attendance, circulation, library group visits and computer use. While numbers may not have as much of an impact to some, others thrive on statistics to help tell a story.
These are just a few ways you can gather and share your stories. I encourage everyone out there to not just gather stories but to make your own stories. You have a great support system with ALA and YALSA and we're here to help you make your stories truly epic.
Michael Schor - Librarian, Scottsdale Public Library