Preconference: Advocacy Boot Camp

Jointly presented by ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy and the Office for Intellectual Freedom

"Who needs libraries?" Beneath those three words is an iceberg of challenges, from delivering on-point messaging, gathering compelling statistics, and the need re-educate key audiences on the value of libraries, fundamental not only to librarians, but to our democratic society at large.

Building on ALA’s new public awareness and advocacy campaign, Libraries Transform, this program will cover advocacy basics such as messaging, intellectual freedom, networking and community engagement. Attendees will focus on working on an advocacy plan that they can implement in their library.

James LaRue
Marci Merola

James LaRue is director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation. Author of "The New Inquisition: Understanding and Managing Intellectual Freedom Challenges," LaRue was a public library director for many years (including a 24 year tenure as director of the Douglas County Libraries in Colorado), as well as a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. He has written, spoken, and consulted on leadership and organizational development, community engagement, and the future of libraries.


Marci Merola has been the Director of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy since its formation in 2007, providing advocacy resources, tools and support to librarians, staff and advocates at the state and local levels, speaking nationally and internationally on library advocacy, as well as working to integrate advocacy efforts throughout the association. She came to ALA in 2001 as the Advocacy Specialist within the ALA Public Information Office. Marci vaguely recalls having other careers and interests prior to her work with libraries, including a career in the publishing industry, working as a freelance writer in the not-for-profit sector, and a passion for poetry, other creative writing and all things language. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from Northern Illinois University and a Masters in Library Science from Dominican University. She lives in Chicago, where she was born and raised.