Policy Number: 14-51
Policy Approval Date: August 28, 2014
Policy Review Date: August 2017
This policy defines when, why, how and who would engage in advocacy activities on behalf of the Huntsville Public Library (HPL).
Advocacy is an ongoing activity which lays the foundation for specific awareness and understanding of the importance of the HPL. This policy applies to the Library Board, the CEO/Chief Librarian, or designate, and any other staff members who are authorized the CEO/Chief Librarian to advocate on behalf of the Huntsville Public Library.
The Library Board shall:
- Participate in regular advocacy planning, using an agreed upon planning model.
- They will prepare and communicate an Annual Advocacy Plan to the Strategic Planning Committee, which will form part of the Strategic Plan.
- To ensure that advocacy remains a planned and sustainable ongoing process at the Library, advocacy planning will remain a standing agenda item at all Board meetings.
- The Board will create a plan that provides advocacy training to Board and staff on an annual basis.
- Fulfill its advocacy responsibilities by identifying and responding to issues, concerns and government policies that may directly or indirectly affect the HPL
- Encourage Board members, advisors, committee members, staff, volunteers, stakeholder organizations, concerned individuals and other community or professional organizations to bring advocacy issues to the Board's attention.
After discussion of the advocacy issue(s), the Library Board:
- Shall direct the Board Chair or the CEO/Chief Librarian to convey its concerns in person or in writing to the appropriate organization or government agency, and possibly to the media.
- May convey its decision to the general public and to the Library membership and customers.
- Shall advise government officials on the impact of current the proposed policies.
- May, at its discretion and by duly approved motion, undertake lobbying activities in support of or in opposition to these policies.
Either the Library Board Chair (or designate) or the CEO/Chief Librarian (or designate) will:
- Be the official spokesperson for the Library on advocacy issues, depending upon availability and the nature of the issue.
- Speak to the transformative impacts of the Library such as early literacy and preschool readiness programs, employment and small business readiness and support, technical and information literacy, and programs and support for retirees.
Coordination with Decision Makers
The Library Board:
- Advocates carefully to build relationships and understandings with the people who make the decisions.
- Shall be an effective advocate for the provision of good Library service by ensuring that the community is aware of the importance of the Library and that the government decision-makers at all levels fully understand the pivotal role played by the Library in the community.
- Will work toward having a 'voice at the table' to be part of the process when problems are identified, solutions proposed, programs and funding for the community are discussed and decisions made.
- Sees lobbying as necessary as a means of working to persuade the government to resolve a decision, policy or law in favour of the Library.
- Will work toward aligning the Library's mission and goals with those of the decision makers in all relationships.
Coordination with Stakeholder Organizations
The Library Board will
- Identify and develop relations with key stakeholders and supporters/champions and will participate in activities that foster optimizing these relationships further and engage these groups in creative problem solving and decision making processes.
- Make every reasonable effort to ensure that there is a consistent and coordinated response to advocacy issues from the Board, the Friends of the Library and other supporting and advocacy group.
- Collaborate with organizations such as the Friends of the Library to support the library in fundraising activities such as book sales, and tangible items such as reusable library bags, T shirts, and key chains, that promote the Huntsville Public Library.
- Will support special events held by the Huntsville Public Library such as Public Library Week and hold such events themselves such as volunteer recognition.
Relations with the Municipality
The Library Board shall:
- Ensure that there are regular communications with the Town Council and senior administration
- Meet at least annually with Council to review the Library's resources, services, plans and achievements.
Relations with Other Organizations
The Library Board shall communicate, cooperate and coordinate with other libraries, organizations, agencies and institutions in order to support the advocacy initiatives of the Library.
In addition to supporting events sponsored by the HPL, the Library Board shall:
- Ensure that the Library regularly participates in community activities aimed at increasing community awareness of the variety and importance of public library services.
- Communicate with the various media and focus on three main points:
Will communicate in one voice, in an informed manner, communicating the unique benefits of the library to the community.
Ensure communication will be positive and consistent.
Work toward understanding the needs and desires of the patrons, supporters and community by utilizing such tools as surveys, focus groups, exit interviews, so that future efforts are based on identified needs.
Ensure the CEO/Chief Librarian will provide reports using a variety of statistics so decisions for advocacy can be made with evidenced based data.
- Making the library relevant;
- Making it urgent and necessary to have a library;
- Having a conversation about the Library as a vital part of the community's infrastructure and future.