Cultivating Library Advocates in Your Community


EveryLibrary Political Director Patrick “PC” Sweeney has suggestions for libraries to further engage their communities to mobilize members to go from library supporters to library advocates.

Why Libraries Need Advocates

While libraries remain a trusted public institution, the number of people in the US who say they support public funding for libraries is shrinking. If public sentiment continues to grow against public library funding, libraries could be in serious danger of losing public funding and being forced to close.

Know your supporters

Sweeney recommends knowing who your supporters are so you can keep them engaged and mobilize them to advocate for your library if and when the time arises.

This means capturing the names and email addresses of attendees at events and keeping track of who interacts with your posts on social media.

Leverage social media

Social media offers a variety of ways to engage with the community. Gaining robust social media involvement in the form of a large number of followers and likes for your library can demonstrate to local lawmakers that your library is valued by your community.

Most social media platforms have business tools that are free to use and will help you learn about your patrons and your community, giving you information that can help you tailor your messaging.

Keeping your patrons in conversation with you on social media as a first step also means they are primed to support a next step of a crowdfunding or capital campaign.

Make it fun to be part of the “in-crowd”

Everyone likes to feel that they’re part of something exclusive!

Your library may already have something like a donor wall thanking major donors to your institution, but there are also free or low-cost ways to give those on your mailing lists a special experience, like events that are only open to those on your mailing list, or sneak peeks at new parts of your collection.

Offering an incentive to keep people engaged means that they’ll look forward to opening that email or clicking on that post!


When you watch our webinar “Cultivating Community Support for Library Funding” with Patrick Sweeney, you’ll learn more specifics:

  • Tips about what to post on Facebook to get the most likes
  • What tools are available to keep track of your database of users
  • Specific ways to increase community engagement


You can learn more about Patrick Sweeney and the EveryLibrary at