Getting the word out about your public library is important, but perhaps never more important than when you have a referendum or measure on the ballot. Whether funding is adequate for your needs — or continues at all — often depends on how much voters know about your library’s impact on the community.
How do you encourage voters to support your library without violating campaign law? With an information-only campaign that reminds voters of what will happen if the ballot measure passes (Plan A) and what will happen if the measure fails (Plan B). EveryLibrary, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works on local library ballot initiatives, has used this effective communication strategy with more than 100 libraries seeking voter approval.
Fort Vancouver Regional Library District (FVRL) operates the Woodland Community Library in the state of Washington. Residents in the areas surrounding the city of Woodland do not have access to library services, but an effort is underway to change that. A measure has been placed on the November ballot to create the Lewis River Library District. The new district would have the option of joining or contracting with FVRL for library privileges. If it passes, residents outside the city limits would be able to use all of the library’s services without having to pay a non-resident fee. Creating the new library district would also accelerate the timeline of the construction of a new Woodland Library to help meet the needs of this growing area.
Woodland Community Branch Manager Jennifer Hauan is thrilled LibraryAware is providing templates for information-only campaigns. “The templates are easy to use, and the designs are inspiring,” she told us. “It’s saving us so much time having these resources.”
Let us make it easy for you
Take Jennifer’s advice and save yourself time by checking out our new templates. Like all LibraryAware templates, they’re entirely customizable. Change the colors to coordinate with your branding, edit the text to reflect your ballot initiative, and add your own photos of your library and community. Need custom branding just for information-only campaign materials? Use our ready-to-go branding templates, upload your custom branding in Publisher or any design program (specs are here). Have a special need? Just jump on a live chat in LibraryAware or send us an email. We’ll be happy to help.
Want to learn more about how to prepare for a ballot measure and get the full scoop on drafting your library’s Plan A/Plan B strategy? Our friends at EveryLibrary can help. You’ll also want a copy of Before the Ballot Box: Building Political Support for Library Funding by John Chrastka, EveryLibrary’s executive director, and Patrick “PC” Sweeney, EveryLibrary’s political director.
No measure on the ballot? No worries.
Libraries need to communicate with voters year-round, not just at election time. Make sure your community knows your library’s value with our infographics. LibraryAware customers can go to Flyer-Signs and search “infographic” to see several options. They make great annual reports on your website, handouts for town hall meetings or visits with elected officials, and super engaging social posts.
There may come a day (we hope!) when all libraries are fully funded, and residents in all areas have equal access to the many programs and services libraries offer. Until then, keep reminding your community how your library transforms lives. When people believe it enough to adequately fund libraries, that day we all wish for will arrive.
Want to learn more about LibraryAware? Sign up for a demo today!
Kathy Lussier is the Engagement Manager at NoveList. She is currently reading God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Lawrence Wright.