How to Talk to Local Officials About Libraries

Let’s talk about how Friends of the Library groups can help convince those in charge of money—like government officials—that libraries are essential. Think of it like suggesting a favorite book to a friend.

You must grab their attention, show them why libraries matter, and make it personal. Here’s how your Friends group can do that.

Tips for Success

Discuss Talking Points with the Library Director

The first step is to discuss possible talking points with the library director. The director is your best source of information for what the library needs. It is crucial that you partner with the director on any advocacy efforts. Your role is to support the director and their vision for the library.

Make an Appointment

Contact the official’s office and ask to set up an appointment. Sometimes, officials host open public meetings where you can request permission to speak.

Tell Real Stories

Start with true stories about how the library helps people. Maybe someone found a job because of a library class, or a child got excited about science. These stories show the library’s value.

Use Clear Facts

Politicians are busy, so give them short, powerful facts. How many people use the library? What good comes from funding libraries? Keep it simple but strong.

Make It Relevant

Explain why libraries are important for things they care about, like education, safety, or community. Help them see what we lose without libraries.

Offer Solutions

Don’t just say what’s wrong. Show how libraries solve problems. If there’s an issue in the community, it is likely the library has a program that helps.

Know Your Points Well

You might only get a few minutes to talk, so be ready. Know your main points and be prepared to answer questions. This isn’t the time to wing it.

Keep in Touch

After you talk, say thank you. Later, send an email with more information. Stay in touch without being annoying. Advocacy takes time.

Libraries are more than places to get books—the’re centers for learning, innovation, and helping the community. Friends of the Library groups can help make sure our government officials know this.

Gather your stories, facts, and enthusiasm, and let’s show them how valuable libraries are.

Let’s support our libraries as they support us!