Engage politicians and decision makers

Libraries Week is a great opportunity to build relationships with your local MP and senior decision makers by inviting them in to your library to showcase your services and the impact you make.

Similarly, many library events are boosted by the participation of popular local figures or relevant high profile people taking part in main events as guests of honour, giving presentations and so on.

If your MP is the person you most want to get to the library, you don’t have to assume that they will be too busy to come along. MPs generally spend Fridays in their constituency, so most will naturally be at home at the end of the week. Even cabinet members and prime ministers have been known to take part in events in their local community.

There can be political sensitivities about libraries, but remember it’s easier to engage and interest your MP, Mayor or councillor if the approach is positive and upbeat and if they are going to be part of a community celebration or showcase. They are busy people though, so if you are inviting them, make sure they have a specific role to play, e.g. making a brief announcement, formally opening an event and so on – then they are more likely to consider coming.

In general, most high profile people have websites or online biographies with details of how to contact them (or you might just catch them if you send them a message via twitter). 

Get in touch with your chosen VIP as early as possible – their diaries will fill up quickly, even for weekends. Call their office first to ask for the appropriate contact information. Send your letter to their office via email, if you have not received a reply after a few days, give them a call.  

If you succeed and they do attend, ask them on the day for a comment about your service which they are happy for you to use in your press release.

Download a template invitation letter for inviting a political figure.

And see our Top Tips on Influencing Decision Makers.