Waging a successful library funding campaign: a case study

Source: Brent S. Roberts, Cheryl L. Hoover, Library Management, Vol. 35 no. 3, 2014
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From the abstract:
Purpose – To identify common arguments and points of resistance to library development projects, and to outline effective political and communication strategies, which can be used by library administrators and supporters when pursuing funding campaigns.

Design/methodology/approach – This study analyzed media messages from local newspaper and radio stations, including open comments posted in online discussion threads, over a one-year period. Interviews were also conducted with the library’s director and foundation development officer.

Findings – Analysis of media coverage drew out primary points of resistance, while the interviews provided strategies utilized to counteract anti-library rhetoric.

Research limitations/implications – Further comparison with other library funding campaigns is needed. Particular areas to be studied include the relationship between the tone of online discussion forum posts and actual voting results; also, the impact of strongly opinionated posters on other participants.

Practical implications – Library administrators seeking public support should strongly consider the following points which contributed to the success of the campaign analyzed in this article: –The need to understand common public responses and points of resistance to proposed library projects. –The importance of a supportive city council. –The need to reduce uncertainty about potential physical locations. –Understanding the distinction between political vs. marketing campaigns. –Identifying potential supporters, regardless of whether they were library users….