Best Practices

Collaboration for Advocacy Best Practices

In 2013, IFLA Leaders conducted a survey to understand how librarians approach and understand collaboration to support their advocacy efforts. We received responses from approximately 300 librarians from around the world. The IFLA Leaders have distilled these responses into a list of 9 common best practices for successfully leveraging partnerships to support your advocacy efforts.

Below you’ll find this list of best practices accompanied by direct quotes from our survey respondents, further highlighting how librarians around the world are taking simple steps that allow them to leverage partnerships and accomplish their advocacy goals. We hope you’ll see that you are likely already applying many of these best practices in your own work, and find ways to adjust or add new practices to strengthen the impact of your advocacy efforts.

  1. Recognize and utilize the unique expertise of each partner.
    “The Imagination Library does the creation of tools, materials, etc. We provide the public with awareness and then opportunity to participate.”
  2. Create or co-create materials that your partners can use to advocate for libraries beyond your reach.
    "We have a fact sheet where we took our circulation statistics and assigned dollar amounts to the books, DVDs, etc. that went out that year. This flyer was given out to local and county government officials to show how much the library "saves" the community each year.  We also did the same for our program attendance. We also randomly chose a family from each of the townships/boroughs that we serve and stated how much that family "saved" during one year by using the library."
  3. Provide the training and support your staff needs to let everyone on your library team become an advocate.
    “Train library staff to become more and better communicators. Provide staff with opportunity to reach out. Put the library high on the agenda of the organization. Modernize the library and make it part of this age.”
  4. Get a library presence embedded into your local government.
    “Participate in state association legislative committee; head various commissions and committees, part of intergovernmental task for but library administrators. Develop messages for state government. Present to elected officials.”
  5. Find the issues that local, national and regional governments care about – and show how your libraries are creating solutions to those issues.
    “We tend to work with others as there are issues affecting our joint communities. We find that joining together as an association of interest gives us greater bargaining power and credibility.”
  6. Set aside a separate budget for advocacy.
    “The importance of the positive changes advocacy can bring to LIS communities warrants libraries to set aside specific amounts of funds for their advocacy programmes.”
  7. Partner with organizations with varied backgrounds: governmental, non-governmental, business world and others.
    “LIS services and activities impact on the lives of all facets of the human society”. “There is the need to create partnerships beyond the LIS communities that equally constitute information stakeholders.”
  8. Develop advocacy programmes and/or policies.
    “For clarity, focus and follow up, libraries need to develop appropriate programmes/policies for advocacy.”
  9. Get national library associations involved in advocacy programmes.
    “As the umbrella bodies for the national LIS community, it is important for national library associations to be implicated in the advocacy programmes of libraries in one way or the other.”

LDP (Library Development Programme), Advocacy, Toolkit

Last update: 29 July 2014

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