Advocacy is a central part of our responsibilities as library trustees. Advocacy is about making sure that libraries are valued, supported and connected to the community. As trustees, we know that libraries are a vital part of peoples’ lives. We know that they provide well-used and invaluable services, community enrichment and lifelong learning. But libraries can also be taken for granted.

Advocacy can be as simple as talking about the library with your neighbours and leaders in the community. And it can be as deliberate as designing an advocacy plan for your Library Board that involves meetings with government decision-makers and the development of advocacy strategies around specific issues, such as gaining support for a new facility or program.

It is also a core part of BCLTA’s work. BCLTA supports trustees in their advocacy efforts by providing training and resources such as the Trustee Orientation Program and workshops at the annual library conference. BCLTA also works on behalf of all trustees by advocating for libraries at the provincial level and by working with other library-related organizations such as the BC Library Association, the Association of BC Public Library Directors, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations, and others.

Definition: Library Advocacy...

  • is telling the world about libraries.
  • is about saying to potential partners, decision-makers, supporters, clients, any stakeholder, “your agenda will be greatly assisted by what we have to offer.”
  • is part public relations and part lobbying, but is not solely one or the other. Lobbying involves interaction with politicians to secure specific objectives at an appropriate point in the legislative, policy making, or budget process, whereas public relations is the promotion of a given group itself.
  • is deliberate, sustained effort to raise awareness of an issue or issues. Advocacy is an ongoing process whereby support and understanding are built incrementally.