The Data About Library Supporters

The findings of the OCLC Awareness to Funding studies proved contrary to common library beliefs about who supports libraries and why.

The findings of the OCLC Awareness to Funding studies proved contrary to common library beliefs about who supports libraries and why.

For example, they found that library users were not necessarily more likely to vote yes for library funding measures and in fact, non-users were just as likely as users to vote for libraries. It also found that political support for libraries was not dependent on political party or affiliation. Instead it found that the most influential variable in voter support for libraries was the relationship and trust in the librarians themselves.


Register for the Library Advocacy and Funding Conference today and learn more about using data to build support for library funding.

Through this study, we learned that we need better data to more easily identify and understand likely voters and non-voters. If we had better data about library supporters (not users), we would be able to create standard profiles of typical library supporters, voters, and donors. This kind of profile is typically called “model voter data”, and the fact that the study did not help us determine model voter profiles was one of the biggest flaws in the study.

However, through this study, it became apparent that our lack of data meant that we have no way to use the most common tool to increase the efficiency of elections and political actions—enhanced voter files. Without data about the demographic makeup of library supporters we are unable to reduce the number of voter contacts, and voter contacts are one of the most resource heavy aspects of a campaign. For example, if we could determine the demographic profile of a library voter, we could use that data against an enhanced voter file to find similar voters and eliminate potential non-libary voters thereby significantly lowering the cost of campaigns and drastically increasing the success rate of library campaigns. By doing this, we could win elections more often in order better fund our libraries at a significantly reduced cost. 

This is why we are bringing in some of the nation’s best pollsters and political data companies to the Library Advocacy and Funding Conference to talk about using this kind of data to build voter support. You’ll learn from one of the largest political data vendors (l2political) and some of the biggest and best pollsters. This data is the first step in being able to build real meaningful and lasting communication strategies with your community of library supporters that will help you increase support, find more volunteers, and cultivate more donors. If you want to understand how to understand your supporters, this conference is for you!

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