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Advanced eCourse: Winning Support and Influencing Communities for Library Funding
Patrick Sweeney
Item Number: 1541-9274
Publisher: ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions
Price: $500.00
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12-week Asynchronous Advanced eCourse beginning Monday, January 8, 2018

An ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions and SJSU iSchool Advanced eCourse facilitated by Patrick Sweeney


Please note: Your purchase at the ALA Store is only Step 1 of a 2-Step Registration process!

Upon purchase you will receive a registration PDF in the form of a digital download. This PDF contains a link to our Registration page and a password. You must download this PDF and follow the instructions in order to complete the registration. The download link can be found on the final confirmation screen after you complete your purchase, and may also be accessed from your Account History. Confirmation with login instructions, reminders, and alerts will go to the email address used in the registration.

This eCourse is licensed for a single user. For pricing on bulk purchases in excess of $1,000, please contact us for more information.

Estimated Hours of Learning: 72
Full participants earn the SJSU iSchool/ALA Publishing Advanced Certificate of Completion.

Nearly 90% of library funding is dependent on the will of local voters and local politicians. Understanding these power structures is essential so you can help influence these individuals to ensure continued funding for your institution.

In this twelve-week advanced eCourse, Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney provides you and your staff with the necessary information to understand these local power structures and get the tools you need to build support for your library. Through his experience at EveryLibrary, the nation’s first and only library advocacy Political Action Committee (PAC), Sweeney shares the secrets of major national PACs, campaign consultants, community organizers, and local and presidential campaigns that can help you build relationships to sustain or increase funding for your library. Whether you are a director in a major city or a librarian in a rural town, the theories and best practices taught in this course are scalable and can be implemented to enhance support and increase funding in your area.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and build large networks of library activists
  • Help raise money for your institution
  • Encourage community action to increase widespread support for your library.

Participants who complete this Advanced eCourse will receive a SJSU iSchool/ALA Publishing Advanced Certificate of Completion. This certificate will affirm your status as having completed all the steps of an Advanced eCourse on Winning Support and Influencing Communities for Library Funding and will provide proof of your participation that you can add to your resume.

Advanced eCourses—a format in which faculty from the SJSU iSchool will help you dig deep into cutting-edge topics during 12-week online courses, equipping you with potentially transformative knowledge and skills, and taking you from introductory through high-level content.

eCourse Outline

Week 1: Introduction and Guiding Principles

In the first week of this course, we are going to review the course and the major guiding principles of building support for libraries. These guiding principles will be revisited throughout the course and are the basic theory of political and community support building. We will talk about the difference between advocacy and activism, the overall strategies that we’re employing, and the foundational data that we have in librarianship that guides this work.

Week 2: Surfacing

In week 2, we’ll discuss the goals of our activities to build support for library funding. We’ll understand why we aren’t attempting to create or encourage more users for our library, but instead we’ll look at building more supporters for our library. We’ll also review the theory of political power, where it comes from, and how it’s cultivated.

Week 3: Surfacing (continued)

In week 3, we’ll discuss the goals of our activities to build support for library funding before we need to ask for more funding. This phase of any political or support building action is often referred to as “surfacing,” and it’s arguably one of the most important phases of a cause's activities. The work that you do before there is an action that needs to be taken will make future activities much more successful, and we’ll talk about the tools and tactics that you can start using today to build support for future action.

Week 4: Segmented Audiences and Data

Audiences of known supporters are what drives costs down on any cause-driven activity. This week, we’ll be looking at the data that’s available to use by libraries to build audiences of supporters and what data we need to create. We’ll talk about how we put that data into action to segment audiences and how data is being used to build support for action.

Week 5: Radicalizing Supporters

The fact is that donations, volunteers, and signatures on petitions don’t come from moderates. They come from people who are passionate about an issue or belief. The people who are most radicalized are the audiences that are most likely to take the highest levels of action and give their time, money, or other resources to the issue that they care about. This week, we’ll look at how major PACs, Political Parties, and National Causes radicalize supporters to take action on behalf of their cause.

Week 6: Messaging

This week, we’ll look over some of the current trends in messaging and marketing in librarianship as well as some models from outside of our industry.  We’ll talk about goal setting, with a special emphasis on the language and tone of library marketing materials.  We’ll look at a few examples of effective messaging from beyond the confines of the library industry and discuss the ways that we can use what is learned here to speak to various demographics of supporters in languages that they understand.

Week 7: Messaging (continued)

This week, we will discuss a wide range of tactics to help you create messages that work to engage your audiences. We will look at developing stories that resonate with your stakeholders, creating short and concise messages for specific audiences, how to test those messages, and a key format for messages that will move your community through a ladder of engagement and encourage action.

Week 8: Opposition

Anytime your library makes an ask of voters or community members, it will undoubtedly encounter opposition. Understanding how to positively counter that opposition will help dampen its effects on your library’s goals. We’ll talk through a number of tactics used by other cause-related organizations when they encounter opposition. We’ll also talk about opposition research and how to use it.

Week 9: People

In week 9, we’ll talk about how we identify people in the community who are willing to take action on behalf of the library. These aren’t necessarily users, but can be people who simply support the library but have no interest in using it. Then, we’ll talk about how we manage these databases of people and put our data about them into action as well as how we engage them to take more meaningful action, like volunteering, and how we need to manage them as volunteers.

Week 10: Money for Action

This week's materials will discuss fundraising aspects of a building political power, because one of the three resources of any organization seeking to institute change is money. Then, we’ll discuss how we can find audiences of potential donors cheaply and easily and where we can buy donor lists. Finally, we’ll discuss why people give, how to build a path-driven donor plan, as well has how to cultivate large donors.

Week 11: Tactics

Now that we’ve reviewed the theory and strategy of engagement and change for a cause, it’s time to put it into action through tactics. These tactics are the most commonly and widely used in political campaigns and includes tactics like direct mail, phone banking, canvassing, rallies and events, paid media, social media and digital, and much more. These tactics are only as good as the underlying theory when using them, and that’s why we spend so much time on the political theory.

Week 12: Putting it all Together

Finally, in this last week of our course, we are going to talk about putting all of this together into a comprehensive plan for supporter engagement and radicalization for your library. This can be a part of your library’s strategic plan or it can be a document that lives outside of the strategic plan. This plan will be a living document that should guide your work in the years before you have to ask voters, politicians, or the public to support your library.

How this eCourse Works

The eCourse begins on January 8, 2018. Your participation will require approximately six hours a week, at times that fit your schedule. All activities take place on the website, and you will be expected to:

  • Read, listen to or view online content
  • Post to online discussion boards
  • Complete weekly assignments or activities

Instructor Patrick Sweeney will monitor discussion boards regularly during the number-week period, lead group discussions, and will also answer individual questions. All interaction will take place on the eCourse site, which will be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It's recommended that students log into the site on the first day of class or within a few days for an overview of the content and to begin the first lesson.

User Requirements

Participants will need regular access to a computer with an internet connection for online message boards participation, viewing online video, listening to streaming audio (mp3 files), and downloading and viewing PDFs and PowerPoint files. ALA Publishing eLearning Solutions eCourses are fully compatible with Windows and MacOs.

At Your Service

Accommodations are offered based on user needs. For transcription or other accessibility requests, please contact us at

About the Instructor

Patrick “P.C.” Sweeney is co-author of Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding (ALA Neal-Schuman, 2017). 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 the politics of librarianship 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.


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