PRO MEDIA

Before the Ballot: Building Political Support for Library Funding

ALA. Jan. 2019. 272p. index. ISBN 9780838917794. pap. $54.99; ebk. ISBN 9780838918074. PRO MEDIA.
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In a follow-up to their previous title, Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding, Chrastka (founder, library PAC EveryLibrary; 2014 LJ Mover & Shaker [M&S]) and Sweeney (political director, EveryLibrary; 2015 LJ M&S) argue that any library that depends on public funds needs to build support years before Election Day. Librarians must understand and navigate the political nature of their work and build power by relying on time, money, and people. They tackle the subject of “surfacing”—bringing a candidate or cause into the public eye, identifying fans and supporters, building coalitions, and finding funders. The book draws heavily on tactics used in political and issue campaigns and points to examples from a range of candidates and organizations, including the Obama campaign, the National Rifle Association, the defunct Cambridge Analytica, Dale Carnegie, and the Sierra Club. The authors cover techniques such as power mapping, on-the-ground contact work, building databases of supporters, managing volunteers, and creating modern digital campaigns. The volume is well organized and free of jargon and concludes with a 36-month campaign plan.
VERDICT Essential for librarians, library employees, and board members who don’t want to be left in the dust when it comes to funding.

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