by Dustin Fife
This week I want to highlight two organizations that fight for, and with, libraries: EveryLibrary and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (more about EFF in the next post).
Advocacy can be difficult, but EveryLibrary is here to help. EveryLibrary is a nonprofit Political Action Committee (PAC) “chartered to work exclusively on local library ballot initiatives.” Their call to arms and motto is what first drew me to this organization: “Any library initiative anywhere, matters to every library everywhere.” The library world is small, and we politically share in victories and defeats.
EveryLibrary helps libraries at the most basic level. They help individual library organizations secure funding through ballot initiatives. They help train local stakeholders, manage social media campaigns, react with a Rapid Response Fund, and delivery a substantial amount of money for libraries with each dollar they spend. If you do not believe me, check out their annual report.
Advocacy is an essential part of the modern library, and EveryLibrary is an important innovation in library advocacy. The value of libraries and librarians is being questioned and undermined. Unfortunately, this is mostly due to people not understanding what we do. And guess what, that is not their fault! It is our job to show people what we do. It is our job to be an active and dynamic force in our communities that cannot be ignored. It is our job to touch the lives of people, not so we can keep our jobs, but because we believe in intellectual freedom, diversity, and a need for universal access to information.
EveryLibrary generally monitors library issues, such as intellectual freedom, and helps with advocacy. They are currently helping fight against a heinous new law in Nebraska that would politicize and de-professionalize libraries. They helped catapult a petition to veto Michigan’s new law that prohibits library employees from talking about local ballot issues for sixty days before an election. They even helped spread the word and advocated when Chicago students were fighting to save their librarian. The small staff of EveryLibrary, and their volunteers, have an amazing grasp of the issues and opportunities facing libraries.
Whether you are fighting censorship or trying to raise money for your library, there are partners that can help you. EveryLibrary is one of those partners.
Dustin Fife is the Outreach and Patron Services Librarian at Utah Valley University Library. Prior to coming to UVU Library, Dustin spent six years as a public library director for San Juan County, Utah. Dustin is currently the President of the Utah Library Association. He can be reached at email@example.com.