The Ontario Provincial Elections and Public Libraries
FOPL has a clear point of view (which is different than a political stance). We are not neutral. It is found here:
https://fopl.ca/what-is-fopl/. It helps me frame these key talking points.
Non-partisan does NOT mean silent.
Non-partisan does NOT mean unbiased.
- All-candidate meetings in library branch theatres and meeting rooms.
- Voter registration tables in library branches.
- Poll stations in library branches on election day. (Libraries tend to be very AODA accessible)
- Social media information strategies about the economic, social and cultural impact of libraries
- Populating major social media channels (just as the politicians have learned to embrace) with positive stories of public libraries with great visuals. Include Facebook, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram, etc. Each social media tools has different aspects of your community there. When they search Google about the library, what do they find? Ensure they find the key stories and value they should!
- Educational activities about the proven impact of public libraries on:
- economic impact
- student performance
- teen social engagement
- reading scores (summer reading programs, Forest of Trees, etc.)
- early childhood literacy (FOPL OISE study on pre-school reading program impacts)
- You can find a lot of these studies here: http://stephenslighthouse.com/2013/08/29/value-of-libraries-megapost/
- Offering columns and articles to print media on major issues (such as new branches, library funding impacts, services for the poor, students, community health, seniors, events, etc.). Print media shines during an election. Be strategic.
- Offer programs on understanding the local election process for teens, young adults, new Canadians, etc. Invite seasoned politicians and candidates to present.
- Up your TOUR game. Make sure that you invite incumbents and candidates to tour the library, present a program or read a story to kids (after coaching them on the pro skills). Make sure that they’re seeing the library(ies) and not just public perceptions – what’s there, what’s going on, how busy they are, etc. Have your talking points ready as you engage them in an educational tour. Make sure you take pictures (the Photo-Op) and even consider making a READ poster (virtually or in print) of politicians and community members,
- Do a census. You know your employees. Do you know whom they know? Do they live near a candidate or are they friends with them or an incumbent? Start your survey now and know what bench strength you have. Are they going to meet over the neighbourhood BBQ? Are they prepared with talking points about your library and it’s role and goals?
- Create events to get your message out there. Have volunteer thank you events and include key funding relationships at the civic staffing and political levels.
- Make everything viral. Use tools like social media, infographics, annual reports, and online videos to position the library’s goodness and impact well and memorably.
- Review your distribution lists to assess what you can use them for for promotion. Your ILS contains (or should) phone numbers, e-mail address, mailing addresses, etc. as well as demographic information. Decide the timing of your educational activities about the role and value of the library strategically.
The basics are:
- LISTEN first
- Be visible
- Be likable
- Be FOR something . . . not just against a policy or position.
- Be memorable
- Thank supporters for the past support – well and often
- Follow up with a thank you,
- And don’t complain, whine, attack, or be memorably negative.
Also, be clear about the split between the roles of key players in this ‘game’:
- Library board members (trustees)
- The CEO
- Library management team
- Library staff
- The union leadership
- Community partners
- Other municipal departments (that may be partners or competitors for public or funding attention)
- The community
- Your associations (FOPL, OLA, OLBA, OPLA, AMPLO, ARUPLO, CELUPL, CULC), agencies (SOLS, OLS-N, consortia) and suppliers/vendors who have a shared interest in your success.
- Be short and to the point
- Don’t try to talk about the whole waterfront of libraries.
- Avoid library jargon
- Be visual (pictures and charts)
- Avoid statistics and instead show measurements and impact
- Make your point about impact memorable.
- Train everyone connected to your talking points so that they can follow up and not just parrot.
Cialdini’s research and six tactics tell us:
- Authority (use your sources that are trusted and good)
- Consistency and commitment (stay on message so that you’re trusted more)
- Liking (this is a big one – people tend to like those they see more of)
- Reciprocity (offer to help them as well)
- Scarcity (know what you offer that they can’t get consistently elsewhere)
- Social proof (have others speak for you too – especially if they’re part of their network or community)
RETURN ON INVESTMENT:
many studies show that public investment in libraries delivers a measurable, positive return on investment economically, socially and for the capacity of communities to attract businesses and residents.
supporting small business and entrepreneurs who will drive local economic recovery, growth, and job creation by providing them with resources such as databases on market trends and information on regulatory obligations;
providing services and resources for career planning, job search, education, and upgrading skills;
WELCOMING NEW CANADIANS:
helping newcomers to Canada succeed through settlement support; language acquisition including ESL programs, accreditation and employment support and maintaining cultural connections;
EARLY LITERACY DEVELOPMENT:
supporting success in life and reading and school readiness through a vast array of pre-school and children’s literacy programs;
SUPPORT FOR FORMAL EDUCATION AND HOMEWORK HELP:
professional help and collections to support learners of all ages to develop advanced information fluency competencies, do research and complete projects. Open longer hours than school libraries, public libraries are also critical support systems for adult distance education and home schooling. Across the province, libraries are busier than ever with students at all ages and stages;
SERVING THE WHOLE COMMUNITY:
public libraries ensure that the whole community of Ontarians – including those with visual or physical limitations, from any cultural or language community, natives, and more – receive equitable access to the resources of our society for success.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO COMMUNITY RESOURCES:
public libraries are often the only place where all residents can access free computing resources, the internet, peripherals, training, and assistance to accomplish their goals as citizens, workers, and more.
ACCESS TO GOVERNMENT SERVICES:
providing professional support services, accessible locations, and technology infrastructure to serve as a major access point for e-government. Public Libraries provide cost-effective opportunities to reach Ontarians to deliver government services for everything from forms and information to advice;
QUESTIONS DESERVE QUALITY ANSWERS:
Ontarians have important information needs and deserve quality answers regardless of their economic status or location. On issues of health, parenting, finance, life choices, and more, libraries go beyond Google to improve the quality of questions and answers.
a critical piece of a community’s cultural framework, public libraries are essential to a healthy and sustainable society as social equity, environmental responsibility and economic viability; and local history heritage.
AFFORDABLE LEISURE ACTIVITIES:
offering free borrowing of books, music and movies and exciting library programs for children, families, seniors, and people of all ages and tied directly to community needs and demand.