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Advocacy Resources for Academic Libraries and Librarians

ACRL-Oregon supports academic libraries in Oregon by fostering communication, sponsoring educational programs, and advocating in the political, social, and professional arena at the local and national level.

These resources are intended to help Oregon’s academic librarians advocate for their institutions. In addition, the ACRL-Oregon Board may be able to connect librarians and library staff with further resources, to publicize regional advocacy issues, or to connect regional issues to the national ACRL association.

Oregon Library Resources

Here are some of the ways ACRL-OR has supported advocacy efforts in the past–often in partnership with the Oregon Library Association (OLA.)

  • Written letters to college and university administrations, supporting libraries in crisis and placing cuts in the larger context of higher education in the state.
  • Advised library staff on communications with administrators, fundraisers, and other stakeholders.
  • Referred library staff to other agencies and resources.
  • Issued press releases about library closures and other crises, to raise awareness across the profession.
  •  Provided a strategic connection to ACRL-National, OLA, or other professional organizations.
  •  Engaged and informed our own membership on advocacy and crisis issues as they arose.

Practical Advice

  • Don’t panic.
  • Read this page.
  • Determine your best point of contact within the professional associations. Academic librarians may contact the current Chair of ACRL-OR, while public librarians may contact the Public Library Division (PLD) of OLA. School librarians may contact Colette Cassinelli at the OLA School Library Division/Oregon Association of School Libraries (OASL.)
  • Consult the accreditation guidelines for the academic programs your library supports. Look in sections describing required resources for language mandating library support.
  • Know who the key stakeholders and decision-makers are, and understand their priorities. Consider the academic or professional background of your audience, and frame your argument in terms they will most appreciate.
  • Know your numbers. Statistics about usage, services, collections, circulation, instruction, budget, and other aspects of the library can address stakeholders’ concerns. Frame investment in terms of concrete outcomes.
  • Know your comparators. Relative funding levels, usage, and services at peer institutions can help make your argument. Case studies of both success and failure at similar institutions can be helpful too.
  • Engage your users. Encourage your patrons, donors, alumni, faculty, and other stakeholders to help make your case. A display of support from your community can make a big difference.

The Library Advocacy toolkit from the Illinois Library Association offers practical advice on framing issues, handling tough questions, meeting with legislators, and other practical topics.

Helpful Professional Organizations

The Libs-Or discussion list is the main list for the Oregon Library Association. It may be a good way to connect with colleagues, ask for help and advice with advocacy issues, and publicize your work.

ALA Office for Library Advocacy is ALA’s main advocacy unit, with links to talking points, toolkits, alerts services, and other resources. Not primarily academic in focus.

The ALADNOW discussion list is ALA’s national discussion list providing support for library advocacy.

Background Reading

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