Sunnyvale Public Library

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Become a Library Advocate

What Is A Library Advocate?

A Library Advocate is someone who understands the value and importance of  public library service and who communicates that value and importance to the community, government leaders, and other decision-makers.  Advocates must present themselves as credible sources with a working knowledge of the political process and their role in it.  Library Advocates must be able to address library issues in ways that transcends  partisan politics, that acknowledges economic realities, and that positions the library as part of the solution to larger problems such as those related to literacy, the workforce and crime.  Libraries are cultural, economic and community assets and information resource centers for education, employment and recreation.  Providing access to information is a critical issue.  Whether offering traditional formats, like books and periodicals, or computer-linked databases, libraries serve the whole community.  It doesn't matter if you are male or female, from the city or country, rich or poor, knowledge is the great equalizer. 

Download the American Library Association's Library Advocate's Handbook (PDF).

Why Become A Library Advocate?

Although we know what an important place it is, libraries have been losing funding in recent years.  It's tough all over, you may say.  But, that is precisely why libraries so desperately need to fight for every dollar they get.  Library Advocates play a key role in educating our communities about why libraries and librarians are essential in an information society.  You understand and appreciate the important role the library plays in your community by providing programs, services and advanced technology to all people equally.  As a representative of the general public, you can make a more effective case on the importance of adequate funding for the library than the librarian who may be viewed as having a vested interest in a larger budget.

What Does It Take To Be A Library Advocate?

Being a Library Advocate takes no money and very little time.   A few times a year we will contact you and ask that you e-mail or call your legislator or Town Council person expressing your support for library services.  If you don't know who your elected officials are, we'll let you know.  We will give you the points that need to be made and we will make every effort to make the process of advocacy as easy and painless as possible.  Advocates also may wish to attend public hearings to demonstrate their support of public library funding.  You will not be asked to speak in public, unless, of course, you indicate your willingness to do so.

Regularly visit the Texas State Library (TLA) website and click on the Advocacy Tab at the top of the page to stay up to date on the latest legislative issues, position papers & fillings, and information about organized legislative activities such as the Library Legislative Day.

Do Elected Officials Care What I Think?

Absolutely!  They're people just like us and are eager to know what their constituents in their district think.  They can only do their jobs well if they hear from you.  It's unbelievable, but sometimes just hearing from three or four people on an issue makes it seem like they have a mandate.

How Do I Become A Library Advocate?

It's simple!  Just click on the link below and fill out the form with your contact information.  We will, of course, not share your information with anyone. 

Download and print Library Advocate Contact Information Form

Return your completed form to:

           Library Advocate
           Sunnyvale Public Library
           402 Tower Place
           Sunnyvale, TX  75182-9278

Or fax your completed form to:

           972-203-0310

Ways to Help

As an advocate, you can influence decision-makers by:

    • Contacting my librarian and finding out what the library needs and how I can help
    • Writing letters to the editor of the local newspaper
    • Speaking at local and state government budget hearings
    • Calling your town council members
    • Speaking to civic groups about the library needs and issues
    • Talking to friends about the library, its role in the community and its needs
    • Recruiting others to be Library Advocates
    • Supporting the American Library Association's national campaigns, libraries benefit from greater public awareness at the local, state and national levels
    • Attending Library Legislative Days in my state and Washington D.C.
    • Joining the Friends of the Sunnyvale Public Library
    • Calling in to local radio and/or TV talk shows and involve the library in discussions of employment, education, literacy and the internet