Ohio Library Council Uses Libraries Transform Campaign to Speak to State Legislators

The Ohio Library Council (OLC), the voice of Ohio’s public librarians, will use Libraries Transform to speak to state legislators as it ramps up its advocacy efforts. With state funding approved biennially, OLC will us this off year to showcase Ohio libraries' return on investment.

The OLC has adopted the theme Ohio Libraries Transform for this year’s OLC Legislative Day. A key component of OLC’s efforts will be the campaign’s “Because” statements.

Linking these statements with specific examples of how libraries transform in Ohio, OLC representatives will distribute two-sided 8.5-X-11-inch handouts – one side will show one of four “Because” statements, replete with its attractive color branding, while the other side will offer a blank space that librarians are encouraged to fill with specific testimony backing up that statement.

“There were three or four of the ‘Because’ statements that our Government Relations Committee really liked and wanted to utilize. But they had this great idea, because we like to try to have a uniform message as much as possible but then allow the individual libraries to personalize it and give their specific local examples,” said Michelle Francis, OLC director of government and legal services.

In meeting with legislators, the OLC plans to match up the “Because” statements with specific talking points.

One statement, “BECAUSE MORE THAN A QUARTER OF U.S. HOUSEHOLDS DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER WITH AN INTERNET CONNECTION,” will be matched with talking points explaining, “The digital divide is real. 28% of Ohio households do not have broadband. Libraries play an essential role in bridging the divide and not just through access. According to Pew Research, 63% of newcomers feel they need some assistance in learning how to use the internet.”

The OLC is also encouraging librarians to use social media by posting selfies with legislators while holding up the 8.5-X-11 cards.

“I have heard nothing but positive feedback about the ALA campaign,” Francis said. It is excellent branding. It’s really something that everyone can get behind.”

The OLC is a statewide professional association which represents the interests of Ohio’s 251 public libraries, their trustees, Friends and staffs. A major component of its work is advocacy, with the primary push taking place on Legislative Day, where library directors, trustees and administrators urge legislators to maintain their commitment to state funding for public libraries.