Tips for Cultivating Library Advocates in Your Community


While libraries remain a trusted public institution, the number of people in the U.S. who say they support public funding for libraries is shrinking. That means this is a critical time for libraries to build community advocates to help change public sentiment on library funding.

EveryLibrary Political Director Patrick “PC” Sweeney joined us on an Innovative webinar to share practical tips with libraries on how to mobilize community members from passive library supporters to active library advocates. Here are a few of his recommended steps for engaging with your community:

1) Know your supporters

Sweeney recommends knowing who your supporters are so you can keep them engaged and quickly mobilize them to advocate for the library when the time arises. For example, capture the names and email addresses of attendees at events and keep track of who interacts with your posts on social media.

2) Leverage social media

Social media offers a variety of ways to engage with the community. Building a large social media following and likes for your library’s page can demonstrate your value to local lawmakers. Most social media platforms have business tools that are free to use and will help you learn about your patrons and your community. Use this information to tailor your messaging.

And keep your patrons in the social media conversation so they will be primed to support a next step of a crowdfunding or capital campaign.

3) Make it fun to be part of the “in-crowd”

Everyone likes to feel that they’re part of something exclusive!

Your library may already have something like a donor wall thanking major donors, but there are also free or low-cost ways to give those on your mailing lists a special experience. Consider planning events that are only open to those on your mailing list, or sneak peeks at new parts of your collection.

Offer incentives to keep people engaged. They’ll look forward to opening that email or clicking on that post!

To get more details on how to implement these strategies at your library, watch our webinar “Cultivating Community Support for Library Funding” with Patrick Sweeney. The webinar includes:

  • Tips about what to post on Facebook to get the most likes
  • What tools are available to keep track of your database of users
  • Specific ways to increase community engagement

You can learn more about Patrick Sweeney and EveryLibrary at