“The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man” ― T.S. Eliot
What would America look like without libraries? EveryLibrary hopes to never allow us to find out.
The earliest known libraries date to antiquity and contain archives of the movement of humanity from prehistory to history. Libraries in Alexandria and Constantinople flanked wonders of the ancient world. In 1561, the Ming Dynasty library of Fan Qin had 70,000 volumes.
Closer to home, the first tax-supported public library in the United States was created in Peterborough, New Hampshire in 1833. Melvil Dewey published his classification system in 1876, and by 1929, the Carnegie library endowment had built 1689 libraries in the US and hundreds more around the world.
The internet and digitization of books has brought a reanalysis of what role a library should play in our culture. Today, many libraries are transforming into community based education and organization centers. In cash strapped locales, access to a library and it’s modern technologies has become a lifeline for a populous disenfranchised by technology growth.
In each election cycle, tens of millions of dollars are at stake for libraries, and EveryLibrary grew out of the need for a politically active organization dedicated exclusively to supporting local library initiatives at the ballot box.
EveryLibrary is the only national organization dedicated to political action at a local level to create and protect public funding for libraries of all types. As the law would have it, many library associations - both at the national and state level - cannot engage in direct voter advocacy or funding political campaigns under a 501(c)(3) educational association statute. As a 501(c)(4), EveryLibrary can act where these associations cannot.
While remaining non-partisan, EveryLibrary provide tactical and operational support to local voter awareness campaigns. This means providing strategic services from the ground up: consulting services, voter segmentation advice, assistance in developing ballot language.
The opportunity to fundraise and directly support library ballot initiatives is unique in the library world. Because of their engagement and continued presence, EveryLibrary has garnered the attention of a growing list of statewide library organizations, and has recently partnered with an experienced Washington D.C. based consultancy. If investment banks and oil companies can have political action committees and armies of lobbyists, shouldn’t your library have them as well?