A Moment of Advocacy for Our Communities’ Best Advocates
Library Advocacy Day 2021
Libraries are the place where our huddled masses find hope, where our children plug their sense of wonder into a larger world for the first time, and where our communities connect over the knowledge of generations past and present. And like the fast-changing American life they symbolize in cities small and large, libraries are evolving. No long are they just the home of stacks of ancient tombs with foxed pages and the perfume of a wet basement. Today’s libraries are now childcare centers, educational pods, internet access hubs, business centers and the very centers of their communities.
Whether you’re looking for public information, local history, or just a good story … of course our local libraries have you covered. But for many, libraries are a place to take the first step in bettering your life: to dig into your ancestral roots, to look into continuing your education, pick up new skills, to give your children a safe place to play and grow, and to be a full participant in the world.
You see, we’re always adding to the mission of libraries, adding tasks and mandates, but never adding time nor tithing to their timesheets or tills.
How will they survive? – you may ask.
The answer is simple.
Demand the same kind of support for libraries that they lend to our communities. Sometimes that means volunteering your time, others it may mean cutting a check to support its needs, responding to a community needs survey, or even suggesting programming; but most importantly, it means singing their praises to the most powerful sets of ears that will listen, whenever possible.
Each year, securing even the most basic funding from public sources like state, municipal and school budgets is a battle for library administrators and is a battle that takes year-round advocacy. If libraries in New York State have large capital needs, like major construction to meet community needs, in most years they have to rely on just a single source of highly competitive and underfunded grants. Please keep in mind that it is especially important for libraries to have access to funding as they try to bounce back from adapting to COVID-19 restrictions and reshape their public-facing services.
If you’ve had positive experiences with your local library, have been helped, have seen other people helped, or know the value it’s added to your community — Then you need to sing like a bird.
Make sure the buzz about your library in the community is positive and contact your state and local legislators to help them make their case.