CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Guide to Campaigning, Advocating and Lobbying

Campaigning and advocacy are about persuasion, influencing for change, and demonstrating value.

You can advocate to anybody, including friends, family, the media, bloggers, sponsors and funders, and so on.

Lobbying meanwhile is a type of advocacy insofar as it attempts to influence change. However, while advocacy refers to attempts to affect some aspect of society, lobbying specifically relates to attempts to influence legislation. Lobbying is about making a case for political change and is targeted towards political representatives.

Both lobbying and advocacy are key instruments for creating awareness of the value of professional skills and the importance of library and information services to society.

How can CILIPS support me?

CILIP Scotland is happy to support you to advocate for your service by providing advice and evidence. We will also respond to consultations or write to any Council or organisations where cuts to library services or library staff is being proposed and where this will affect our members. You can read our latest consultation responses online.

What can I do?

We have found that campaigning, lobbying, and advocating on a local level can be one of the most effective ways of influencing decision makers. This can take the form of a local campaign group or perhaps via organising a petition (there are a number of online sites that allow this functionality) or writing to your local council.

Visit the CILIPS How can I help? advocacy hub for letter templates, posters and further campaign inspiration.

When writing to your local council, it is important to acknowledge that the local government funding model in Scotland has significant funding challenges often with large budget shortfalls and a legal obligation to balance budgets. On this basis you may also wish to contact either your local MSP or a relevant Cabinet Secretary or Minister to ask what they can do to help.

If you are a staff member, there will usually be restrictions on what you can do directly, however if local residents can become active in supporting library services it can raise awareness and hopefully influence decision makers.

You will find useful resources and tips for advocacy and lobbying on this page. To get started, read our Guide to Advocacy and Guide to Lobbying pages. You can also visit our Campaigning page to find out more about successful campaigns that have demonstrated the value of libraries and protected library services.

You can see what a local campaign might look like at the following links:

Save Aberdeen Libraries

Save Glasgow Libraries 

Save Moray Libraries

Argyll and Bute School Libraries.

And we have a series of blog pieces from amazing campaigners over the years.

You can also see our Evidence pages for key stats and facts about libraries that can support your advocacy, including those from our #LibrariesAreEssential – Scotland’s Stories advocacy campaign, and view relevant legislation. Challenges under equalities law have been most successful in the past.

Also, it is good to be proactive as well as reactive. That is, you do not need to wait until there is a proposed change to a service before advocating for the profession. For example, simple,  initiatives such as Meet our Members blog can be a good way of showcasing the value of the information profession and the achievements of individual people or services. Why not start a similar blog/publish case studies of your own for your area or organisation? This can be a way of raising positive awareness throughout the year, rather than waiting for negative news.


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