LAFCON 2022 Reframes Political Action and Organizing for Libraries
Over 500 Library leaders from around the world gathered online to learn and collaborate on effective advocacy and activism
The Library Advocacy and Funding Conference (LAFCON) is designed to help library leaders and advocates build new skills and better networks to address long-standing problems with library funding in communities and schools. On September 26 -28, 2022, EveryLibrary and the EveryLibrary Institute hosted LAFCON 2022 to help librarians stand up to defend the core principles of librarianship and equip themselves to overcome politically motivated attacks on education and our anchor institutions.
The conference consisted of 84 high-quality sessions from 87 noted experts in the political, philanthropic, and policy space focused on improving funding for libraries including 10-Year retrospective conversations on “Wake the Nation” and "The Haycock Reports”.
New Censorship and Banned Books Track focused on a wide range of First Amendment issues including the separation of church and state, protections and limits on petitioning and assembly, and the legal frameworks supporting access and the right to read through school and public libraries.
Several partner organizations like PEN America, Red Wine and Blue, Americans United, the Free Press, the Woodhull Foundation, and FIRE - the Foundation for Free Expression presented expert sessions. Tracks included sessions on fundraising, marketing, campaign planning, data, and advocacy best practices. As an entirely on-demand event, registered attendees will have access to the extensive LAFCON knowledge base and professional network for the next three months.
About the Banned Books Voter Poll
The EveryLibrary Institute commissioned a public opinion poll of American voters in order to understand political support and opposition to book banning. This voter-facing survey found that the overwhelming majority of voters strongly oppose book banning and, most significantly, that 75 percent of voters will consider book bans when voting for legislators in November.
The release of the new “Voter Attitudes about Banned Books Report” from the EveryLibrary Institute and Embold Research, a voter-facing poll of 1137 registered voters, shows wide support for the freedom to read and strong opposition to politicians who push a censorship agenda.
Embold Research hosted a deep-dive session at LAFCON 2022 to help library leaders use this research to fight back against the wave of politicized book bans and legislative censorship targeting school libraries and public libraries across the country.
About the Freckle Report
Since 2019, the Freckle Project has been tracking the reading habits of Americans, especially how they use and interact with libraries to source their reading. The release of the Freckle Report 2022 of American reading habits and libraries shows libraries maintaining a significant role in both discovery and access to reading through both print and digital formats.
The report clearly shows that through the pandemic, more Americans have shifted to reading ebooks and that public libraries are used more frequently to get their ebooks as well as print and audiobooks. Tim Coates, the lead investigator for the Freckle Project, hosted a session to discuss actionable insights for library leaders from the Report.
Support for State and Provincial Library Associations
LAFCON continues its commitment to share 25% of all conference registrations with state and provincial library associations to build the vitality of our library advocacy ecosystem.
"LAFCON helps to build an ecosystem of support for libraries and librarians throughout the nation, at a time when support is needed more than ever," said John Chrastka, executive director, EveryLIbrary and the EveryLibrary Institute. "I am pleased to announce that this year's LAFCON was a success for attendees and presenters. I'm already looking forward to 2024."