Metropolitan Group was retained by the Public Library Association to develop a tool to assist members in advocating for the resources they need to be successful in delivering library programs and services in their local communities, and building capacity to sustain those resources.
Though the tool needed to be relevant for all public libraries, the primary audience was identified as rural libraries, which have the greatest need to advocate and are the least likely to have professional capacity to do so.
Metropolitan Group collaborated with PLA’s Smartest Card Advocacy Task Force (comprised of staff from public libraries around the country) throughout the development process. The advocacy tool was developed in a laboratory process, in collaboration with the target audiences, over the course of nearly two years. Development of the toolkit included initial focus group testing in 2006 and a pilot advocacy training at PLASpring Symposium in 2007.
The toolkit has been noted as an ALA Store “Bestseller” and several state libraries use the toolkit for community advocacy efforts.