Activity 12: Advocacy

These activities are for prompting discussion about public library trustee advocacy.

Activity A: Role-play

In small groups of two or three imagine that you are at a community event and one of the following scenarios happen:

  1. You are seated next to the local Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) who is attending your public library’s Summer Reading Club launch.
  2. The mayor, who has just delivered a welcoming address that included remarks about the importance of community centres and schools for child and family development, is being introduced to you.
  3. While in the buffet line, a prominent local-media personality turns to you and asks, “What do you do?” You have 90 seconds before they start filling their plate.

In your groups use role play to develop talking points that would work for one of these situations. Select one person from your group to share your scenario and talking points.

Activity B: Elevator Speech submitted by Jim Jenkinson, Past Trustee, Invermere Public Library

An “elevator pitch” is a useful tool designed to create a lasting impression within a brief 30 – 90 seconds time-frame. It is a short description that trustees may utilize to connect with whomever we are speaking with in a way that any listener can easily understand our objective. However, crafting an elevator pitch requires thoughtful planning.

You may want to develop an elevator pitch independently or in small groups. Practice your elevator pitch with other members of the board. Remember to provide supportive feedback to those practicing. 

Here are some of the components to consider while you draft your elevator pitch:

  • Grab the person’s attention right away (e.g. “I am glad that you were elected because you advocated ..”)
  • Tell them about your “why” (e.g. “I volunteered to become a trustee because I wanted to ensure that our library has adequate funding to deliver services ..”)
  • Support your statement with data (e.g. “This year, library visits are up 12% as a direct result of extending the hours that our library is open to the public by an additional 8 hours each ”)
  • Ask them to assist with the objective (e.g. “With only a slight increase in funding our library could ..”)
  • Finish with a positive comment to preserve the relationship (e.g. “Our library depends on stable, predictable funding and we appreciate what you have done to ..”)
  • Then, end the conversation with a smile and move on so that they can meet with others attending the same event.