The Check It Out: Independent Library Funding Inquiry is coming to a close, and all this talk about dedicated funding for the Jacksonville Public Library has community members excited about advocacy. Folks are ready to grab clipboards and start gathering petitions. As plans for a citizens’ initiative and/or a political campaign begin to gel, community members can get involved.
Speakers in our Inquiry have emphasized the importance of a grassroots movement and relationship-building with top leadership for the dream of dedicated funding to come true. Our speakers say that advocates for dedicated funding for the JPL will have to effectively engage the community (think: petition-signing, outreach, campaign ads, building community consensus, and spreading the word). They will also have to make meaningful connections with City Council members and the Mayor, and—in the case of an independent tax district—the Florida Legislature and the Governor.
Committee members are excited about putting the advocacy gears in motion. As those gears begin to turn, committee and community members who want to show their support for sustaining and revitalizing the Jacksonville Public Library need not wait—they can begin advocating for the Library any time with this digital advocacy “kit”: Save Jax Libraries, Friends of the Public Library, i <3 JPL
· Save Jax Libraries seeks to propel advocacy efforts in the political arena and in the community. Depending on the direction leaders of an initiative and referendum take, it can potentially lobby political leadership and fund a local campaign for an independent tax district.
· The Friends of the Public Library work to support the JPL and promote appreciation of its services. They raise funds through book sales to preserve and strengthen community libraries.
· The “i <3 JPL” blog “celebrates and supports” the Jacksonville Public Library and promotes advocacy efforts including writing to elected officials and spreading the word to family and friends to encourage additional support. They invite volunteers to contact them to learn about advocacy positions that match them with a public school, library branch, or neighborhood.