How to Build and Maintain Library Advocacy

Learn how to secure funding and procure meaningful partnerships to create ongoing support for your library and how to address contentious political issues without burning bridges.



Course Overview

Guest speaker sessions via Zoom:
Tuesdays, May 16, 23, and 30, from 2:00-3:45 pm ET (recordings available)

Asynchronous, facilitator-led workshop over 3 weeks

Between budget cuts, staffing shortages, defunding efforts, and censorship challenges, many libraries are facing unprecedented challenges. This course will teach you the foundations of library advocacy, including finding and applying for grants, building relationships with municipal offices and legislators, lobbying and political organizing, and uniting data and storytelling to advocate for libraries. You will learn tangible strategies to add to your advocacy toolkit and have the opportunity to find solidarity and build meaningful relationships with other librarians.

You’ll complete assignments over 3+ weeks in an interactive online classroom environment with personal coaching from an expert in the field. In addition, you’ll have access to our foundational bonus content—rich supporting materials you can explore at your own pace, including a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors, readings, activities, and videos.

The transformational speaker program has given thousands of librarians the tools and vision for meaningful change. The live sessions run on Tuesdays, May 16, 23, and 30 from 2:00-3:45 pm ET (recordings available) with an ongoing facilitator-led workshop over 3 weeks. Don’t miss this opportunity!


When you sign up early, you’ll have immediate access to our Early Access On Demand Resources—a series of webinars from Library Journal and School Library Journal contributors along with rich, supporting materials in the form of readings, activities, and videos—to explore at your own pace.

Learning Outcomes

When you attend this interactive online course, you’ll gain the tools to:  
  • Discern what lobbying and activism is and isn’t allowed for your type of organization

  • Organize and lobby for your library with a clear plan and strategy

  • Craft your library’s story for both funding and advocacy purposes 

  • Navigate contentious political issues with a range of people without burning bridges

  • Identify and build relationships with municipal offices and legislators 

  • Proactively prepare for grants

  • Find and apply for grants

  • Utilize data storytelling and visualization to make your grant applications more compelling

  • Understand next steps after securing a grant, including how to create compelling reports for your funders

Who should take this course

Any librarian who wants to learn how to take a more active role in library advocacy. This course is for all levels of library staff, from frontline workers to directors.

Live sessions are also available on demand for six months

Can’t make a live session? All guest speaker sessions are recorded and available on demand for six months following the initial broadcast. Asynchronous workshops allow you to complete assignments and receive feedback from experts.

Certificate of completion provided

15 professional development credits are available

For support with online courses, please contact


All guest speaker sessions feature live captioning and are made available on demand after the initial broadcast. Please email upon registration if you require any special accommodations and we will make our best efforts to facilitate them.


Course Curriculum Advisor


Lance Werner, Director, Kent District Library

Lance is an attorney and librarian. He has worked in academic, public, and government libraries in a variety of capacities and leadership roles.  Lance has been the Executive Director at the Kent District Library (KDL) in Kent County, Michigan for more than 12 years. He is a former president of the Michigan Library Association (MLA), Chair of the MLA Legislative Committee, Advisory Board member of the Wayne State School of Information Science, and Chair of the Lakeland Library Cooperative Board. He was the Michigan Librarian of the Year and Library Journal Librarian of the Year. He was also recognized as a Mover and Shaker by the Library Journal and was recognized as WSU's Distinguished Alumni. For two years in a row, he has been named Grand Rapids Business Journal's "Grand Rapids 200", The most powerful business leaders in West Michigan. Lance is a former registered lobbyist. He is also a member of the Everylibrary Institute Board, the Library of Michigan Board and OCLC Global Council. 





Group Rates

Have a team attend and increase your impact!

Discounted registration fees are available for groups of 3 or more. When you register your team for our online courses, they will be placed in the same small workshop group, where discussions and project-based assignments receive feedback from an experienced librarian.

Send us a request for a quote.

If your group prefers to work separately, just let us know.


By registering for this event you confirm that you have read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

For support with online courses, please contact





Week 1: Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Political and Advocacy Strategies and Tactics for Your Library

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Lobbying for Your Library: What’s Allowed and How to Do It

So you want to get involved in advocacy for your library - but where do you start? This session will begin by briefly explaining the legislative process as well as what lobbying practices libraries are and are not allowed to participate in. From there, you will learn the foundations of how to lobby, including the resources you’ll need and the roles and responsibilities everyone should take. 


Bob DeVries, Governmental Consultant Services, Inc. (GCSI)



Workshop Q&A | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course


Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

Political Strategy and Organization: How to Apply Effective Methods to Your Library

Libraries often don’t have access to the most effective tools and training for political advocacy. This session will teach you political strategy and organization from outside of a library perspective in order to diversify the strategies that librarians have access to that might help drive support for your organization. Learn what political activists and organizers are doing and how their tactics can be applied to your library. 


Sandy Chung, (she, her) Executive Director at American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon

Jude al-Ghazal Stone, (he, him, his) Lead Administrative Associate at American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon


Week 2: Tuesday, May 23, 2023 
How to Advocate for Your Library with Storytelling and Relationships

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Advocacy Storytelling: How to Tell Your Story and Gain Support

Storytelling is at the heart of all effective advocacy efforts. This session will teach you tangible tools for how to construct and communicate your library’s story. You’ll learn what appeals to funders and legislators, how to narrativize your data, and how to tell your story in concise and engaging ways. 


Lance Werner, KDL Executive Director


Workshop Q&A | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course


Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

How to Build Relationships with Local and State Legislators 

Finding allies in your state and local legislators can be instrumental in gaining support for your library. This session will teach you best practices for how to get started by identifying potential allies and scripts for reaching out to them. From there, you will learn how to build and maintain relationships with your allies and ways to seek their support for your library.


Jamar Rahming, Executive Director, Wilmington Institute Free Library


Week 3: Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Advocacy through Funding: Strategies for Your Library

Session 1 | 2:00-2:45 pm ET

Stay Ready: How to Prepare to Apply for Grants and Use Data to Tell Your Story

Applying for grants can seem daunting, but the process is much easier if you stay ahead by preparing proactively. This session will teach you methods for anticipating the information grants ask for and creating an organized system for continuously collecting that information in order to streamline your application process and save you from scrambling at the last minute. You will learn the foundations of data visualization and storytelling so that you stay ready to apply any time a grant opportunity arises. 


Kristin Gootjes, Senior Fundraising Consultant, The Breton Group


Workshop Q&A | 2:45-3:00 pm ET

An introduction to this week’s assignment and an overview of what to expect from the online workshop in this course


Session 2 | 3:00-3:45 pm ET

How to Find, Apply for, and Report on Library Grants

This nuts and bolts session will teach you how to find and apply for grants for your library. Learn tips for making this process as light a lift as possible while still increasing your chances of receiving the grant. This session will also teach you strategies for reporting on grants once you have them. Leave this session confident in your ability to gain financial support for your library. 


Patricia Hswe, Program Officer for Public Knowledge at the Mellon Foundation.






For support with online courses, please contact




Online Course Preview

A preview of how we build your library skills and bring inspiration to your projects with our online learning experience.

Course Format

One-Week Timeline (Course Runs 3+ Weeks)

DAYS 1-2

On Demand


2.5 hours

DAYS 4-7

1-2 hours (optional)



- Resources

- Discussions

- Bonus Content


- Guest speakers via webcast

- Q&A via chat

- Recordings available on demand


- Project-based homework, applied to your job

- Personalized feedback from a facilitator

- Group discussion in an asynchronous workshop setting via discussion forum


- Facilitator-led feedback


Establish goals and priorities


Prepare for your collection assessment


Begin audit or select materials for a collection




Inspiring Live Guest Speakers + Facilitated Group Workshop for Project-Based Learning



Live session with Andrea Blackman and Tasneem Ansariyah Grace

Live Guest Speakers Each Week

  • Engage with presenters via live video stream, visual presentations, and chats
  • Map out your own equity initiatives with guidance from an expert advisor
  • Leave with refined, robust strategies designed to make a lasting impact on your community
  • Workshop tangible antiracist approaches to your work with input from peer groups


Online Course Features


Recordings of guest speakers

Recordings Available After The Live Session

  • Real-time guest speakers and conversation via live video stream (with recordings available afterward)
  • Instructor-led online course features personalized interaction over 3+ weeks


Facilitator-led workshop

Online Classroom Organizes All Materials

  • Workshop assignments to help you make progress on your goals
  • Individualized attention from course facilitators who work with you in a coaching environment in the workshop to help sort out challenges
  • Ongoing group conversation via discussion forums


Early Access On Demand Resources

Early Access and Ongoing Resources To Support Learning

  • Supporting resources (articles, videos, worksheets) in the online classroom to provide a foundation for your work
  • Access all course content for six months after the course ends
  • Bonus: Register early and get immediate access to archival video recordings from related courses and other bonus content




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