Library Essentials Conference: Advocacy

Date(s) - 04/21/2017
8:30 am CDT - 4:00 pm CDT

FSU-Panama City Campus


Photo of Patrick Sweeney

Moving from Advocates to Activists for Libraries with Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney: In this session P.C. Sweeney will discuss moving the discussion from advocating for libraries to creating activists for libraries in order to build the public and political support that we need to survive. Through his experience as the Political Director of EveryLibrary, he will explore many of the strategies and tactics used by some of the best community organizers, political action committees, and politicians to discuss how libraries can adapt these techniques to encourage the public to take action on behalf of libraries. Patrick will emphasize the resources and skills that librarians and library staff need to develop if they want to have the political and community support that they need.

Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney is a 2007 graduate of the San Jose School of Library and Information Sciences. Mr. Sweeney is the former Administrative Librarian of the Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library, and was Executive Director of EveryLibrary California, a statewide initiative to support library propositions. He currently works as the Political Director for EveryLibrary, the nation’s first and only Political Action Committee for Libraries and is a lecturer at San Jose State University. He is a 2014 Library Journal Mover and Shaker recipient for his advocacy work in California and across the country.


Email, Facebook and Big Data with Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that big data, strong email, and effective Facebook tactics were some of the keys to winning the last three presidential elections. How can libraries harness that power to build effective audiences, reach non-users, and solicit for more donations and volunteers? In this presentation, P.C. Sweeney will debut some of the biggest and best data sources and digital tactics that are used by major campaigns and discuss the many ways that even small and underfunded libraries can harness that power for themselves.

Word-of-Mouth Advocacy with Kathy Dempsey: Having users and fans tell their peers about libraries’ usefulness is more important than ever. But you can’t just hope they’ll do it or assume they’ll deliver the right message. Word-of-mouth marketing has long been an effective tool, and you can use it for advocacy too. This session will show you the steps to take to start an effective word-of-mouth advocacy campaign. Learn who to start with, how to influence their message, and ways to keep them accountable so they’ll do the talking for you.

Community Partnerships: Make New Friends and Advocates with Kathy Dempsey: Partners can be helpful in many ways, from donating goods and services to sharing their physical spaces to funding special activities. And, if you educate your community partners about the goodness of libraries, they can do even more for you. Members of the Chamber of Commerce, parents’ associations, etc., can also be nudged into spreading the word about the value of libraries. This session will give you many suggestions for community partners and show you how to go beyond making friends so you can cultivate new advocates.

Academic Librarians and Personal Branding: Demonstrating Value Through Social Media with April Hines: Recent studies have shown that students, and even faculty, are often unsure of how an academic librarian can assist them. How can we provide a window into our world, so students, faculty, administrators and the general public can see what we do, and why what we do matters? This session will highlight an academic librarian’s successes in using social media as a tool for enhancing her personal brand as a subject specialist, while demonstrating the library’s value to the larger academic community. She will share her experiences maintaining a Twitter account to promote her role as the journalism librarian, having more than 1,000 interactions with students, faculty and staff over a three year period. Best practices will be discussed as well as challenges and lessons learned.


Building Relationships – How to Get Started with Amy L. Johnson: Amy Johnson will provide practical advice in building relationships at the local, state, and national levels, including helpful tools and information. Afterward, she will facilitate a panel discussion with Renae Rountree (Director of the Washington County Public Library), Debra Sears (Extension Services Manager at the LeRoy Collins Leon County Public Library System), Todd J. Humble (Director of the West Florida Public Libraries), and April Hines (Journalism and Mass Communication Librarian at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries) where they will share advocacy efforts that have worked in their areas.


Photo of Kathy DempseyKathy Dempsey wrote the popular how-to tome The Accidental Library Marketer and founded her own marketing consultancy, Libraries Are Essential ( Her work is dedicated to helping librarians and information professionals promote their value and expertise in order to gain respect and funding. Kathy has been the Editor of Marketing Library Services newsletter for 23 years, and was formerly Editor-in-Chief of Computers in Libraries magazine. She also blogs at The “M” Word. She’s an active member of the New Jersey Library Association, and Chair of the Library Marketing and Communications Conference (

This writer, editor, and marketing maven has been giving presentations across the U.S. and Canada for 20 years, always sprinkling them with humor to make marketing concepts more interesting and accessible. Ms. Dempsey continues to fight the stereotypes that librarians are boring and that “marketing” is a dirty word.

Photo of Amy Johnson

Amy L. Johnson serves as the State Librarian and Director of the Division of Library and Information Services (DLIS) at the Florida Department of State. Since joining the department in 2000, Amy has held several positions, serving as Chief of the Bureau of Library Development for the last three years.

Prior to joining the Florida Department of State, Amy was a librarian at the Marshall W. Hamilton Library at North Florida Community College in Madison, Florida. Ms. Johnson completed a Master of Science in Library Science degree at Florida State University. She completed her undergraduate education at The University of The South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Ms. Johnson has two children — Maren, a student at The University of the South and Jonas, a student at Leon High School.

HinesApril Hines is the journalism and mass communications librarian for the University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries. Her research areas include face-to-face facilitative processes, library marketing and outreach, and social media engagement. She has presented and published on such topics as academic librarians and personal branding, using ethnic newspapers to reach underserved communities, and developing a library student ambassador program.

Ms. Hines has participated on several grant projects and is one of the authors of Collaborating with Strangers: Facilitating Workshops in Libraries, Classes, and Nonprofits, published by ALA Editions.

Be sure to invite your Friends, Foundation members, or other people who can advocate for you to this free conference!

Registration is closed for this event.

For FY2021-22, 70% of the total costs for the PLAN Continuing Education program ($220,000) is supported by federal money, and 30% of this program ($92,991) is supported by state money. The total budget of the project is $312,991.