What is Advocacy?

Libraries are an intrinsic part of Scottish life. They connect people with their community, giving them a space in which to socialise, create and learn.

They are places which strive to remove social inequalities and enrich people’s lives – yet decision-makers may not realise just how much of a pivotal role libraries play.

In times of tough budget decisions being able to showcase just how many different services libraries provide and how cost-effective they are can make all the difference. Here you will find advice and guidance on how to raise the profile of library services. The SLIC Advocacy Toolkit is especially useful if you are looking for practical resources.

Advocacy - Getting Started

Deciding what your key messages are will help shape your campaign and give you focus. Whether you are a public library service, a university library or a specialist information hub your key messages will most likely centre around on service provision and economic impact.

Try to keep your messages short and positive. This allows you to concentrate on what’s most important and hold the attention of your audience. Remember to back up any claims you make with current facts and figures.

Creating case studies can be an excellent way of showcasing how your library is used. They not only emphasise the importance of your library services but also the everyday impact these services have on your users.

Reaching Decision Makers

It’s important to keep-up-to-date with government priorities at both a local and national level. This helps you to demonstrate how your library supports these aims.

Knowing who your local politicians and councillors are is also important. Make sure you have a current contact list in place and look into their interests. Knowing a policymaker is a keen supporter of libraries could make all the difference.

Both politicians and councillors like to be seen as active in the community and a timely visit to your library could help them achieve this. Developing a relationship with policymakers will help raise your profile and in turn could lead to ongoing support.     

Advocacy Toolkit

Our Advocacy Toolkit was initially developed for public libraries but can be easily adapted to support library services across the country. The toolkit is a way of making sure influencers and decision makers are aware of all the great things taking place in libraries and the impact of services within communities. This can then help them to make informed decisions.