Just after an election is an excellent time to reach out to your elected officials. Your officials will be gathering information and making the connections they need to be successful in their position, and it’s a good opportunity for the library to build new relationships and reinforce existing positive relationships with elected officials.
Here are a few ways you could help build relationships with your local elected officials just after election time:
- Send a congratulatory letter to your recently elected officials and invite them to visit your library for a tour. Here’s a sample letter you can adapt for your needs: Sample Letter to Elected Officials
- Along with your letter, you might include:
- Statistics about your library’s usage: The Wisconsin Public Library Statistics Portal – where you file your annual report – includes some basic templates for infographics that you can adapt and share.
- Your library brochure, bookmark, or other promotional materials
- Library-branded swag items
- A copy of your latest newsletter or clipping from a local newspaper showcasing one of your services or events
- Information about your library system, such as the Northern Waters Library Network brochure
- Sign your elected officials up to receive your library’s email newsletter.
- If your newsletter software allows it, consider setting up a separate contact list for elected officials, and send them an adapted version of your latest issue that includes a congratulations message, explanation of why they are receiving the newsletter, and instructions on how to unsubscribe if they don’t want to receive it.
- Attend a meeting of your town/village board, city council, county board, or school board. Being in attendance at these meetings lets your elected officials know that you care about their work. Try to attend meetings throughout the year when possible, not just when there is a library item on the agenda. Be sure to wear your library name tag so board members and audience members recognize you as part of the library.
- If your library serves a town (rather than a village, city, or county), there may be an annual meeting of the electors. Find out from your town clerk when that meeting is, and ask whether it is customary in your town for departments such as the library to give an annual update to the electors.
- Consider partnering with other libraries when working with county boards or with nearby townships. You could attend meetings together, share the work of preparing advocacy materials, and support each other’s advocacy work.