Using Videos for Library Advocacy

When it comes to advocating for your library, having someone other than the library director or trustees carrying your message speaking out for you is incredibly effective. Local elected officials and the general public expect library staff and trustees to be positive. They don’t necessarily expect your neighbor or friend or the president of the local chamber of commerce to carry your library’s advocacy message.

At the Rockville Public Library in Vernon, CT, our advocacy goal is to increase the Town’s funding. One of the ways we’ve been getting our message out is through a series of videos featuring everyday patrons as well as library trustees. These are not Oscar worthy but simple, straightforward 1-2 videos that let folks express themselves. Click here to see the videos Communication Services produced for Rockville.

Videos Are a Powerful Tool In Your Library Advocacy Plan

You need to go into this exercise with a plan. Reach out to folks who mean something to the library and to the community. Make sure you have at least one youngish mom—believe it or not, those are the most popular videos. When you reach out, make sure you explain clearly what you’re trying to achieve—that you need them to speak positively about the library and your advocacy goal.

Schedule folks to come to the library and videotape them where they’re most comfortable. Try to get all the videos shot in one to two days. Talk them through what you’re doing, why your goal is so important and then ask them questions that will guide them through the taping. Why is the library important to you and your family? How does the library impact your quality of life? What do you want your elected officials to do?

Once taping is done, produce the videos. You can use Adobe Premiere or iMovie or any other video software. If you’ve never done this before, ask a tween/teen or college age student for a quick tutorial. Many of them have been working with videos since they first held a smartphone. It will take a few hours to produce a 1-2 minute video. You have to go through the clips, determine which are the best moments, intersperse with still photos (so it’s not just a talking head), make titles so you can identify who is talking, choose some music and have some intro and outro graphics to identify your library advocacy campaign.

Once the video is done, post it on your library advocacy effort’s Facebook page. (Check state library law to see if you can post it on your library’s page.) Or, create a YouTube channel or put it on Instagram—basically exploit social media to your advantage. Click here to see the Vernon Taxpayers for a Stronger Library Facebook page.

So, why should you have at least one mom? They use social media and they share. Of all the videos on the Vernon Taxpayers Facebook page, the one featuring the mom has been shared and viewed the most!

Using videos for library advocacy is simple. Just like all other library advocacy work—have a goal, have a plan, have the people, have the skills and have the time.

Library Advocacy Services – Start Your Library Advocacy Campaign Today

Interested in more information on advocacy for libraries? Need help with a library marketing campaign or creating videos? Since 2005, Communication Services has worked with dozens of libraries to help them achieve financial stability and sustainability. Learn more about our library advocacy services, read our case studies on marketing libraries then contact us at 518-438-2826 or send us a message online to see how we can help you today!