Political literacy for librarians

Twitter Chat with John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary

  1. Welcome to our Chat on Political literacy for librarians chat w/@MrChrastka Executive Director @EveryLibrary #mclschat
  2. We’ll get started in just a moment, but first tell us who you are and where you are tweeting from! #mclschat
  3. Excited to be here with the MCLS community today! #mclschat
  4. Beth Sheridan, the Orion Township Library, MI #mclschat
  5. #mclschat Judi Terpening from Jefferson County Public Library in Madison Indiana.
  6. Dejah from Ferris State. I'm also the poli sci liaison, which may have been a bad decision because I can never escape it now lol #mclschat
  7. Samantha Minnis, Grand Valley State University #mclschat
  8. Q1 What do you mean by political literacy? #mclschat
  9. A1 Political literacy is knowing where the library's money comes from, who can block it, and how you get more of it. #mclschat
  10. A1 Political literacy is understanding how the “power map” of your community - both influence and authority. #mclschat
  11. A1 For librarians, political literacy is a vocabulary not only abt service but also abt how you put taxes to work in community #mclschat
  12. A1 Knowing how the various pieces of government work and how levels of laws, ordinances, etc interact. Extra bonus for philisophy! #mclschat
  13. .@dejah_thoris A1 For each and every library out there, it is about motivating their voters/constituents/donors… #mclschat
  14. A1 For library communities, political literacy is understanding that your budget should matter to other organizations... #mclschat
  15. A1 ...and building coalitions to secure or extend it. #mclschat
  16. A1. Basically, @EveryLibrary we try and teach political literacy skills that not about ‘use of the library’ but about funding it #mclschat
  17. Q2 How did you get started in this work? Where did you see a need? #mclschat
  18. A2 My colleagues @pcsweeney @efindley and I got @EveryLibrary started in late 2012 to support libraries on the ballot. #mclschat
  19. A2 Our first campaign was in Feb 2013 (with a win) for Spokane PL. We're helping them do their renewal this April! #mclschat
  20. A2 We looked at the ecosystem of support and ID’d need for PAC to do local political work. #mclschat
  21. a2 There wasn’t one b4 us working at zip-code level for wins. #mclschat
  22. A2 @EveryLibrary provides advising & coaching to library boards & staff… #mclschat
  23. A2 on Info-Only Communications that are core part of campaign. #mclschat
  24. A2 As a PAC for libraries @EveryLibrary also works with local GOTV and ‘vote yes’ committees… #mclschat
  25. A2 for voter-to-voter engagement about library ballot measure. #mclschat
  26. A2 We’ve helped win over $210 million in stable tax money for libraries; 46 wins out of 61 campaigns since 2013. #mclschat
  27. A2 Because of industry interest we’ve started working w/ school library communities on state-level ESSA implementation plans too #mclschat
  28. A2 Our biggest growth and impact will be in building a unique list of the public who care about libraries… #mclschat
  29. A2 and have taken action like signing a petition or contacting an elected official about #libraries via  http://action.everylibrary.org  #mclschat
  30. A2 Right now, we’re on the way to 250k people on our reachable-list who have done something that matters for libraries… #mclschat
  31. A2 On social media we can reach 150k Americans instantly & 1.5 million through the network today about libraries/librarians #mclschat
  32. @MrChrastka have you worked with any libraries in Indiana or Michigan? Were they successful campaigns? #mclschat
  33. A2 @EveryLibrary is donor-supported by individuals and vendors. #mclschat
  34. A2 With that support, all our campaign work is pro-bono for libraries (public, school, etc). #mclschat
  35. Q3 Why should librarians be involved? #mclschat
  36. A3 If you are at a town/city/county library, it’s vital to know a) where your money comes from, and b)… #mclschat
  37. A3 who can raise it or cut it. And how they do that. #mclschat
  38. A3 If you’re in a school library, how does your local school board really make a decision about funding… #mclschat
  39. A3 or is it the sup or principal? How can you nudge that? #mclschat
  40. A3 If you’re an academic librarian, you already know which office has the purse strings… #mclschat
  41. A3 but are student elections or alumni pressure the way around that block? #mclschat
  42. A3 As an org @EveryLibrary works on Election Days & budget days & decision days. It’s very diff than everyday advocacy. #mclschat
  43. A3 Political lit is not only talkin to voters. It’s knowing how tax policies are set, ed policy is changed & how money flows. #mclschat
  44. A3 #Librarians should be involved in setting their own funding destiny. #mclschat
  45. Q4 Since when has this been so important? #mclschat
  46. Q5 How can libraries become more involved? #mclschat
  47. A5 There are 2 big paths for public libraries folks to become more politically active on the local level. #mclschat
  48. A5 It starts with writing your strategic plan with its funding in mind (not just how people will 'use' the library). #mclschat
  49. A5 So what does the strat plan look like if funded? and if not funded? Are there 'unreachable outcomes' without new money? #mclschat
  50. A5 Then ID ‘who else cares about those possible outcomes’ and build a partnership for your funding future around that. #mclschat
  51. A5 For school librarians the paths are: realize that you and the principal are prob the only 2 at your school… #mclschat
  52. A5 ...who work with every kid and interact with every kid. #mclschat
  53. A5 You are teaching in the biggest classroom in the school. #mclschat
  54. A5 Then the case needs to be made about overcrowding and under-resourcing of that ‘biggest classroom’… #mclschat
  55. A5 ... to the same constituents as the principal’s: sups, boards, and parents. #mclschat
  56. A5 For every librarian in any type of library, the other political path is to join local and state coalitions, board, and… #mclschat
  57. A5 ...and commissions that already exist but need #librarians involved. @EveryLibrary is trying to do that as an org this year #mclschat
  58. A5 Adding librarians to those existing coalitions can/will make your budget priorities important to other orgs… #mclschat
  59. A5…provided you tell them. We're announcing our first big national one tomorrow. Joining is nice but it's key to contribute #mclschat
  60. A5 There are a ton of existing coalitions, boards, and commissions in your state, region, town. They are looking for members. #mclschat
  61. A5 ...but unless you are my #unicorn #librarian, there are no librarians on them today. #mclschat
  62. A5 Eligible coalitions/boards/commissions: pre-k, career ready, entrepreneurs, livable cities, housing and at-risk… #mclschat
  63. A5 ...food security, immigration and citizenship, after school, early childhood, workforce, transportation. Huge! #mclschat
  64. Q6 What are some key points librarians should always have ready to talk about? #mclschat
  65. A6 When talking to another org, your points should be ‘mapped’ to the impact on population u both serve. #mclschat
  66. A6 Your “databases” are ‘biz intel and analytics’ for biz community and biz dev. No one outside knows what 'databases' mean. #mclschat
  67. A6 with education and storytime, be sure to update the perception that voters have from their own youth… #mclschat
  68. A6 (or last time they brought their kids). Storytime is ‘first language literacy’ and not just ‘fun time’. #mclschat
  69. Q7 What should voters know about libraries? #mclschat
  70. A7 we'd like voters to get their nostalgia updated about libraries & librarians BY librarians and library leaders #mclschat
  71. A7 voters want to hear about tax ‘leverage’ from libraries. Not ‘more with less’ but ‘maximum impact’ on issues that matter. #mclschat
  72. A7 That big question ‘why do we need libraries anymore?’ is an actual question and not a challenge or thrown shade. #mclschat
  73. A7 The voter who asks that question deserves an answer about your current impact on the community and individuals. #mclschat
  74. A7 Voters are also concerned about how taxes are spent by other parts of govt. #mclschat
  75. A7 ...it’s important to tell/show them how the library is well-run. #mclschat
  76. Q8 What should libraries know about their community? #mclschat
  77. A8 The biggest data points are “how do non-users value the library” & are "they willing to be tax for someone else’s benefit”, #mclschat
  78. A8 asking that question and believing the answers is active listening to your community at its finest #mclschat
  79. A8 But we keep asking questions designed to get people to become users. #mclschat
  80. A8 Do know how your community of non-users thinks/feels/believes about libraries and librarians? #mclschat
  81. A8 And we need to sample actively - like door-to-door - to have a better understand of what people really think and feel. #mclschat
  82. A9 Well, we don’t want to alienate never-gonna-use-libraries voters by emotionally requiring them to become users. #mclschat
  83. A9 we sometimes say @EveryLibrary that #librarians are the proxy for voters’ compassion about literacy, skills building, etc. #mclschat
  84. A9 If that’s true (& we know it is) then allow the voter to exercise their compassion for humans thru you and their tax bill. #mclschat
  85. Q10 What else should we know to become more politically involved in the future of our libraries? #mclschat
  86. A10 Being more politically involved in the future of libraries starts with small personal actions like petitions and emails. #mclschat
  87. A10 It extends to your involvement in the orgs that work for libraries. Join state and national orgs. Donate to @EveryLibrary #mclschat
  88. A10 It is thinking and writing and dialoguing about policy issues. Not library policy but public (tax) policy. #mclschat
  89. A10 We are looking to bring librarians to a lot of other coalitions. Our 2017 @EveryLibrary agenda is at  http://everylibrary.org/2017everylibraryagenda/  #mclschat
  90. A10 We are inviting folks to participate in it and inform it. #mclschat
  91. A10 Our action site has training guides (we don’t do tool kits) for campaigns and campaigning  http://action.everylibrary.org  #mclschat
  92. A10 we also want to shift to a pro-active approach to planning local campaigns and other state/local funding asks. #mclschat
  93. A10 contact @EveryLibrary or me directly to talk about an idea. #mclschat
  94. A10 If we start to talk to voters where they are at, we know from experience that you can have a very successful conversation. #mclschat
  95. If you’re interested in supporting this kind of work, @EveryLibrary and  https://www.facebook.com/everylibrary  to follow/like. #mclschat
  96. Out of time! Great information, and many thanks @MrChrastka! #mclschat
  97. Thanks to the community and @mclsorg for hosting me & @EveryLibrary today! Feel free to ping me anytime. #mclschat