The harvest season is a time for celebration, but often in libraries we don’t set aside the time to celebrate the fruits of our bounty.
Harvesting your bounty gives you and the library the tools you need to toot your horn to drive resources to the library. Use the documentation you’ve collected to share your story!
You’ve developed some techniques to document what has come from your seeds/seedlings – it’s now time to share out your bounty in the most effective way possible. In other words, we’re talking about communication and advocacy.
Advocacy is a perennial need for librarians – we know that the squeaky wheel gets the grease but we are not always completely successful at advocating for what we need.
There are lots of toolkits on library advocacy, but in the context of our toolkit what we are especially eager to encourage is advocating through our relationships.
What do we mean by that? LaJuan Pringle of North Carolina’s Library Advocacy and Legislative Section and also the branch manager of the West Boulevard branch of the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, says “You Are Not Alone” – Community Partnerships can be a form of Advocacy. Learn more in presentation on this topic.
According to LaJuan, partnerships are important for library advocacy, because:
- Through your relationships, you’ve identified causes that have community-wide implications;
- Through your relationships, you’ve identified goals that can be better pursued with expanded networks and resources; and
- Shared goals can result in laws, legislation or policy changes.
So, when we are talking about harvesting our bounty, we aren’t talking about just sending out a press release or posting photos to Facebook about the programs you held. Instead, we’re focused on thinking strategically about how and your partners can use your shared documentation of your collaborations to strategically advance your goals, your partner’s goals, and the goals of the wider community.
An example of how to share about your successes: You can empower your partners to be advocates for your library – speaking on your behalf to encourage more organizations and individuals to collaborate with and form working relationships with you and your library. In Paducah, Kentucky, Mike Muscarella of the Healthy Paducah Coalition brings applications for library cards to meetings, serving as a library advocate everywhere he goes.
How can you empower those you work with to advocate on your behalf? How can you in turn advocate for those with whom you work? You scratch my back, I scratch yours. We like WebJunction’s article on how to “Build New Community Connections with Partnership Marketing.” Share with us what inspires and shapes the work you do!