BCLTA is providing brief key messages so that you can use them as they are or adapt them for a variety of communication needs such as for asking questions at community all-candidate meetings, writing op-eds or letters to the editor of your newspaper, or for social media.
Where appropriate referencing the Libraries Branch Inspiring Libraries, Connecting Communities: A vision for public library service in British Columbia and BCLTA’s submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services will strengthen your message.
Key message points are:
- The need for annual increases, which are adjusted for inflation, to provincial funding for public libraries. As well as the restoration of the Budget Line Item for public libraries.
- The establishment of provincial policy for the delivery of public library services in First Nation communities, by First Nation communities.
- Government commitment to connectivity is needed. Connectivity is critical in the digital age, yet adequate broadband is always in short supply and/or cost-prohibitive for many libraries, particularly those in rural or remote locations.
We need to work together for the advancement of public libraries and we want to hear about your experiences. As always, contact me (Babs) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to share an advocacy moment, tips, or resources for the BCLTA website or Bulletin.
What can we achieve?
Elections — whether they are local, provincial or federal — offer unique opportunities to advocate for public libraries.
At election time, at forums and through the media, trustees can:
- Reach large numbers of the public through questions to candidates and personal contact;
- Determine candidate vision, knowledge and support for public libraries;
- Raise the profile of individual trustees and boards through their participation in the election process;
- Acknowledge the commitment of government regarding public libraries;
- Provide those running for office with current information regarding public libraries.
How Do We Accomplish This?
The following are a few suggested ways to raise the profile of libraries and library issues during political campaigns.
- The approach taken by your board does not need to be complex. It can be as simple as identifying questions for candidates, assigning trustees to present these questions at all-candidates’ meetings, and reporting back to the board.
- Ideally, questions should be presented at all candidates’ meetings as this will increase the exposure of your topic and the candidate’s response.
- If there are no forums being organized, you may wish to take the initiative to organize one, especially if there are political decisions upcoming in relation to your library. If a meeting or open forum is not your style, try hosting a more informal “Tea with the Candidates” event in the library.
- Another method to keep library issues in the public eye is to indicate to the media that you would like them to include responses to library topics in interviews for newspapers, radio, TV and through social media.
- If an all-candidates’ meeting or forum is not possible, you can still collect very good information by inviting the candidates to a regular or special board meeting.
- Alternatively, ask your questions by way of a letter or email to all candidates. You may also wish to publish candidate responses and post them in your library, distribute them at future all candidates’ meetings or share them with the press. If you plan to do this, be sure to indicate your intentions in your initial letter.