Beyond stories

15.50 – Thursday 5th July

Beyond stories

We are taught often taught that if we just tell good stories about the library then the public will support it. The problem is that someone who heard a story or even a few stories about the library is still unlikely to take action. That’s because the simple storytelling model of advocacy relies on the belief that if our leaders hear how important and impactful something is then they will simply take the necessary steps to support it. However, this is simply not the case. In this session, we’ll explore the significant amount of work that’s necessary beyond storytelling to engage leaders and enact change. We’ll specifically focus on building ladders of engagement and creating audience engagement maps that ensure that we get the support and action that we need to change the advocacy landscape.


John Chrastka, Executive Director, EveryLibrary

John Chrastka is executive director of EveryLibrary, the first nationwide political action committee for libraries.  Since 2013, EveryLibrary has helped 62 library communities with ballot measures for funding, operations, and buildings, winning 46 and securing over $220 million in funding on Election Days. A long-time library trustee, supporter and advocate, Mr. Chrastka is a former president of the Board of Trustees for the Berwyn (IL) Public Library (2006 – 2015) and is a former president of the Reaching Across Illinois Libraries System (RAILS), a multi-type library system. Prior to his work on EveryLibrary, he was a partner in AssociaDirect, a Chicago-based consultancy focused on supporting associations in membership recruitment, conference, and governance activities, and was Director for Membership Development at the American Library Association (ALA).  He is a current member of ALA, the Illinois Library Association (ILA), and the American Political Sciences Association (APSA). He was named a 2014 Mover & Shaker by Library Journal for his work with EveryLibrary.  He tweets at @mrchrastka.

Patrick Sweeney, Political Director, EveryLibrary

Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney is co-author of “Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding.” He is the former Administrative Librarian of the Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library and 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 national Political Action Committee for Libraries and is a lecturer on politics at the San Jose State University iSchool.  He is a 2015 Library Journal Mover and Shaker recipient for his advocacy work in California and across the country. He can be found online as PC Sweeney