Subscribe in a reader

December-January 2014, Volume 5, Issue 11

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

One Book SD

School Library Regional Meetings
- December 3, Aberdeen;
- December 10, Sioux Falls

Electronic Resources Challenge
January 13-March 31, online

SDLA Legislative Day
January 23, Pierre

2014 Midwinter Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
January 24-28, 2014

ALA Youth Media Awards, Philadelphia, PA
January 27, 2014

Digital Learning Day
February 5, 2014

Teen Tech Week
March 9-15, 2014

One Book SD

Featured e-Resources of the Month
ChiltonLibrary, Mango Languages now part of State Library e-resources

Board Talk


"Public Library Advocacy—the Key Role of a Modern Public Library Trustee"

By Daria Bossman, State Librarian

It might be argued that a board member needs to serve out his or her term quietly performing the administrative functions outlined in state statute or the local by-laws. These administrative duties are certainly not to be neglected. However, I would like to suggest that increasingly a very important and indeed vital role of the local library board member (trustee) is to be an advocate for the local public library and in fact for all libraries within the community.

And as an advocate some of you will have to very intentionally put on your "advocacy hat." This will mean having discussion amongst yourself and thinking about just how you perform that advocacy function. For those of you not formally trained in this, it can seem a bit daunting. It really is not. Some of you may have learned some of what you need to know just by way of life's experiences. For example, if you have owned or do own a business, you know how important advertising is to your business. The same principles apply to library programming, services and resources available.

Most folks just naturally associate libraries with books and bookshelves. It is our most obvious commodity, but not the only format in which information is offered! More often than not, folks have to be reminded or informed that today's modern library has all manner of formats on which information is recorded and some new and exciting avenues in terms of access as well. For example do they know your library has an extensive CD and DVC collection, programming on interesting topics like genealogy research, teen book clubs or classes on how to download and use that new e-reader device they now own? Look around… what do you assume they know that they may not realize is a resource or service available now at their local library? Advertising is important and if you have a regular column in your local paper, it is free advertising! Use that column to do more than just list some newly acquired titles… leave that to your webpage!

Do you know your audience? Do you know your potential audience… i.e. the local citizens who do not YET use the public library but might if they knew what you had to offer them? Does your community have minorities that were not present ten or fifteen years ago? Sometimes a good old fashion five to ten question print survey can be very informative to the board and library staff. Just make sure you have those surveys out at the local grocery or convenience store, place in the schools and on the desk at city hall… and not just at the library. Better yet, place the survey on your webpage, blog or on your Facebook page! Offer a prize to one or two participants… just to make it fun and encourage participation.

Lastly, think about where to advertise for specialized programming. For example, if you are holding an evening class on job hunting, resume-writing or interviewing skills, consider posting a flier at a local unemployment office or career center.

I can't conclude this article without mentioning social media. Recently I read an article that stated emphatically that our downloadable audio and e-books should be "advertised" through social media. Does your library have a Facebook presence? If not, get one! It is free and you will be immediately reaching teens and a younger generation of adults (even grandma is on FB these days because that is where her kids are and the grandkids' photos reside!) We have to start thinking like the younger generation. Pinterest, Twitter and other social media may be your ticket to bringing folks into the library—virtually and/or physically. Regardless, it keeps the word out there that the Public Library is alive and well and serving the public.

So what is the overriding, constant message to your community? Support our Public Library. We are important to the vitality of our community, regardless of our size or population. This is all part of getting that message out and fulfilling your role as an ADVOCATE for Library Services within your community. And by the way, it is a role you can continue to do long after your board appointment term has expired and the routine administrative stuff has gone away!

Speaking of advocacy let me be the first to invite you to accompany your library director to Pierre on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. This is SD Library Legislative Day. It is an important day in which you can meet with your legislators, tour the State Library facility, and visit our beautiful Capitol building. You can conclude the day by attending the Public Library accreditation ceremony followed by the Library Legislative reception both held at Rawlins Municipal Library here in Pierre. See you there!






advocacy, board, legislation, Pierre, programming, SDLA, social media, trustees

prev: Grant Opportunities | next: School Libraries

Table of Contents

Share |   

The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.