Navigating Politics to Advocate for Libraries: Introduction to Political Power Theories

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Over 90% of library funding is politically motivates. That means that almost all of the funding for libraries is dependent on the amount of political influence and power held by the library in the local political ecosystem. There is wide range of tactics that can be used to influence this power, but what are the underlying theories that can be applied to all of the activities performed by a library? From digital tactics like social media, websites, and email to building relationships in the community through partnerships and coalitions, these theories can be applied to every aspect of the library services. In this session we will explore many of these theories used by some of the best community organizers, political action committees, and politicians and discuss how we can apply them to librarianship.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the session, participants should be able to:

Understand how to better navigate political environments and increase support
Learn strategies for identifying, cultivating, and empowering library supporters
Improve their communications strategy


Patrick "PC" Sweeney is a tireless and innovative advocate for libraries. A 2007 graduate of the San Jose School of Library and Information Sciences, Mr. Sweeney is the former Administrative Librarian of the Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library and was Executive Director of EveryLibrary California, a statewide initiative to support library Propositions. He was awarded Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers” award in 2015 for his library advocacy work. He is co-author of “Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding” as well as “Before the Ballot; Building Support for Library Funding.” He was recently recognized with a “40 Under 40” award by the American Association of Political Consultants for his work fighting for libraries at EveryLibrary. He is a lecturer at the San Jose Information School where he teaches courses on politics and libraries. He is active across social media as PC Sweeney.

Public Library
This webinar is presented in Eastern time.

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