Securing Support from Decision Makers

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Whether one reports to a city council, a principal, school superintendent, university board, or a corporate division, the process of getting a favorable library policy codified or securing adequate budget funds is one of justification, persuasion, and commitment. Many library administrators and supporters are familiar with some advocacy techniques and understand the importance of promoting their library’s services to existing clients, potential clients, and governing bodies.  Effective advocacy covers both a broad range of ongoing strategies and specific goals to achieve in the short and long term.

Many library professionals are already familiar with ongoing PR activities, such as developing newsletters and hosting regular events. Librarians and library supporters tend to be less familiar with techniques and strategies targeted specifically to decision makers.  These efforts are, to a large degree, lobbying efforts. 

Library stakeholders can often become intimidated by the prospect of  “lobbying,” especially in relation to elected officials. And, while the tips and suggestions delineated in this section are very applicable to communicating with elected officials, the practical application is much broader. Lobbying is basically persuading, and persuading decision makers is highly specialized but important area of public relations. The contents of this section are designed to help library stakeholders successfully communicate with decision makers.

Whether you are a library foundation chairman approaching city council for an in the library’s budget, a school librarian approaching a principal about hiring a library clerk, or an academic library director wanting to build library interests into a university-wide distance education grants, the resources and checklists included below can help clarify and strengthen your request.

This section is organized into three main sections:

  1. communicating in writing
  2. communicating in person
  3. building relationships

We have also added a resource sheet for helping state employees communicate (legally!) with state elected officials.

Open or download Section IV: Decision Makers

Created on Mar 23, 2010 | Last updated April 11, 2010