Urban Librarians Unite: Advocacy Strategies that Work
Lauren Comito, Director of Communications and Operations, Urban Librarians Unite
Urban Librarians Unite (ULU) is a not for profit in NYC dedicated to advocacy for and the enrichment of urban libraries and librarianship. Most specifically we work in NYC to advocate for sufficient or increased funding for library services in all three library systems. ULU is unique in that we exist outside of the three library systems. This means can say and do things that's larger more politically dependent library can't, and we frequently do.
Save NYC Libraries has had two major strategies for advocacy, large events and grassroots communications. We hold an annual postcard drive to allow our customers and other library fans to let their elected officials know that libraries are important budget priorities for them. Each year we collect between 2 and 4 thousand postcards, this is in addition to the postcard and petition signatures that the library systems collect. In addition to the postcards, we have held a yearly 311 call in day. 311 is New York City’s information phone number, but it is also a place where citizens can call to let the mayor know what they are thinking. To concentrate the effect, we try to get everyone to call on one scheduled day. Our website, www.savenyclibraries.org, stands as a place where interested people can go to see the full effect of cuts. We try to keep it as a clearinghouse of information for the public and for activists who are interested in helping out.