CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Help us show why #LibrariesMatter

In the lead up to the local government election in May CILIP in Scotland will be campaigning for libraries across Scotland and showing why #LibrariesMatter.

We will be writing to those standing for election and highlighting some key facts about libraries to follow on from our open letter earlier this year. The campaign also has the support of a number of organisations and authors from across Scotland.

In order for the campaign to be truly effective though, we need people across Scotland to help us get the campaign messages to the people standing for election in their local area. That can either be CILIPS members, their family or friends or library users.

Here are some tips on how to carry out your own advocacy:

Social Media

Throughout the campaign we will be using the hashtag #LibrariesMatter.

Between now and May we are asking that people Tweet or Instagram photos of library staff and users holding a sign to say why libraries matter to them – you can download a sample sign here:

LibrariesMatter main sign

LibrariesMatter sign (#LibrariesMatter because….)

LibrariesMatter sign PDF (#LibrariesMatter because….)

Please also post positive library stories with the hashtag throughout the campaign.

Speak to candidates when they come to your door on the campaign trail

Be ready to ask the candidates questions such as the following:

When did you last visit your local public or school library?

If elected what will you do to support our public libraries and the vital contribution they make to community cohesion, social and economic wellbeing, digital skills and literacy?

If elected what will you do to support professionally staffed school libraries and recognise their value to education and the raising attainment agenda?

If possible, you could invite them to visit the service you work in.

Write to your current elected members

Political representatives value information from constituents presented in a concise way so your lobbying will be most effective if you prepare in advance.  Draw up a list of the key points you want to get across, and make sure you address all of them.

Gather evidence to support your points

  • Use our set of key facts
  • Do your own research
  • Find extracts from relevant official documents

Write a brief letter and include:

Your contact details;

A clear heading identifying the subject you want to address;

An initial paragraph introducing yourself and the issue;

Use your examples and evidence;

End the letter with a question so that the person has to send a reply rather than a simple acknowledgement.

Arrange a meeting with your current elected members

Identify yourself as a constituent and ask for a meeting.

Prepare your case in advance;

Be clear about what you are asking them to do;

Be positive, concise and clear about what you are asking them to do;

Highlight an issue and suggest a solution;

Leave the representative with written information to ensure s/he has a record of the points you have raised;

Afterwards send them a note of thanks and keep CILIPS informed of the meeting and the points discussed in case there is any follow up activity needed from us.

Whether you write to your representative or meet them keep in touch – try and develop your relationships with them by keeping them informed of any recent development.

Respond to stories in the media

We all see stories about libraries in the media that have a negative spin or feature comments that are misinformed. Why not respond to these with a positive message using our facts or linking them to the campaign webpage?