It's no secret that libraries sometimes have a hard time figuring out how to market themselves to their communities. And advocacy can be even harder -- whether we're trying to advocate for the library to administrators in a university setting or to the public and elected officials.
I was pleased to see the initiatives at a couple of our public libraries right now. New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library have both implemented splash screens on their websites to alert people to the economic problems facing the libraries. Both are part of a "Keep Your Library Open" campaign that could and should be done by libraries across the country facing similar issues.
The brilliance here isn't just the use of the website, but rather the lucid and compelling copy writing and the opportunity for visitors to take direct action. Right then. Right there. Visitors are encouraged to either "Contact Your Elected Official" or "Donate" -- both of which can be done in seconds right there on the site. The splash screens also make it clear to people what's at stake if cuts are made to the budgets. For NYPL, they list "Six- and seven-day service; Job search resources; Thousands of programs for children; and much, much more."
- Eliminate as many as 272 positions -- that's one out of every four full-time employees
- Reduce service to five days a week at most neighborhood libraries -- with limited weekend hours
- Buy 185k FEWER books, DVDs and CDs.
Brooklyn Public Library has also created a Facebook event for today called "Call-In Thursday" to encourage people to "Let your local city council member and Mayor Bloomberg know how important Brooklyn Public Library is to you and your community!"
Queens Public Library also has a a prominently placed message in the middle of their home page to encourage users to help "Save Queens Library."
I'd love to add more examples of savvy online library advocacy here. Please share links in the comments!