A new volunteer group of library workers and advocates wants to help you get more involved in your community library. Libraries For the People aims to reach progressives by providing information about how to engage with their public library, advocate on its behalf, and help to ensure these public institutions remain viable amid ongoing interest in defunding and delegitimizing their value. What sets For the People apart is their commitment to local action. There is no overhead and no administration; the goal is to connect with and exchange ideas with other library advocates and get to work in your own backyard.
This weekend, they’re offering a free workshop for those eager to learn more about what they can do to get involved “The ABCs of Getting Involved in Your Local Public Library” will be offered Saturday, April 15, from 2-4 pm Eastern time. The panel of experts will cover topics such as how libraries are funded, what and how library boards and friends groups operate, and where even to find this information for your own library.
In addition to workshops, the group has compiled several opportunities to take direct action. You can help build a database of library boards across the country or plan ways to champion your library during National Library Week later this month.
If you’re passionate about helping libraries but don’t know where or how your talents might fit into a group like this, never fear. You’re invited to share a bit about yourself and to sign up for their newsletter that will keep you abreast of projects and news.
This week also marked the official launch of EveryLibrary’s new platform for organizing around book bans. Fight For The First allows groups who are working to end book bans and censorship in their communities to build a campaign platform. Those platforms not only allow for organizing and sharing information, but they are also directly supported with funds and tools from EveryLibrary.
Groups using Fight for the First — which already has several local groups and successful campaigns utilizing it — will have access to resources and knowledge, as well as the platform to launch petitions that help collect information on people who want to help make change.
In the first eight weeks of Fight for the Fight’s existence, over 20,000 people have gotten involved.
Making change does not happen with a hashtag, nor does it happen by retweeting news seen on Twitter. Those things bring awareness to a cause, but they are not ways to put that knowledge into action. For The People and EveryLibrary’s tools do just that, and both are welcoming and encouraging of those new to activism to jump in and learn.
Don’t have a local anti-book ban group? Use both of these resources to find and build your own. Groups like Florida Freedom to Read Project have done just that and have been — and continue to be — at the forefront of showing up across their state, challenging well-funded, well-connected groups like Moms for Liberty. Florida Freedom to Read Project epitomizes the grassroots action and networking bolstered by these sets of tools.
We will not change the tide of book bans and defunding of libraries by sharing a hashtag. We’ll do it by showing up, speaking out, and getting others to do the same thing. Organizing and showing up put your words into direct action.