Host a House Party for Libraries
Become a library activist and host a house party for libraries and help libraries win!
Become a library activist and host a house party for libraries and help libraries win!
Help libraries win!
A houseparty is a great way to connect with other library activists, neighbors, coworkers, and friends and educate them about why Libraries are so important for communities and about how is fighting for libraries of all kinds. We are all working together to help libraries reach their full potential to help communities. One of the most effective ways to help libraries succeed is by throwing a house party to support libraries through EveryLibrary.
What is a house party?
House parties are gatherings of people who come together to learn more about the fight for American Libraries and the ways that EveryLibrary can work to support libraries in order to ensure a healthier, more vibrant, and more desirable community. But, the most important thing is to have fun and get everyone to join in the fight by signing up to get involved in EveryLibrary’s work to support libraries.
People just like you can host a house party and you don't need any special skills because we’ll show you what you need to do. All it takes is a little planning and organization and a passion to support libraries. The best parties are the simplest and they don’t need to complicated or overly planned. Some house parties are nothing more than potlucks where people can connect and learn about EveryLibrary and find ways to work together to support libraries. Typically, all you need are food and drinks and some signup sheets to collect everyone's information but you can also do a lot more!
Why host a party?
Houseparties are important because they help us build the resources we need to win. People are more likely to sign up to support libraries or make a donation if they’re encouraged to do so by their friends, family and colleagues. These parties provide an opportunity to connect and build national voter support for libraries through our work at EveryLibrary.
What else can I accomplish?
If you’d like to do more or if you’re a more experienced community organizer, EveryLibrary can help you take even more action to build national support for libraries.
We would love to see house parties take the time to phonebank to raise the money and build the support that we need to win. If you’re interested in phonebanking, we will supply you with a list of phone numbers to call. We’ll even give you the scripts you need to be successful. Phonebanking can be used either for fundraising to support EveryLibrary’s work or to ask people to join our email list or sign the pledge to support libraries or one of our petitions at action.everylibrary.org.
It’s also important that we talk directly with the public about the importance of libraries. That’s why we encourage you to take the time to encourage your attendees to write letters to the editor in your local papers. These letters can talk about the importance of libraries, how libraries had a profound affect on you or your attendees, or how libraries improve communities. You can find the strong list of local newspapers here.
How do I host a house party?
Select a date
- Check for local library campaigns to see if there are any in your area that might make your friends more excited to attend your house party, as well as potential conflicts. There are also many national and state issues that you can help organize around. Contact us to find out about local issues in your area. If there is a local library campaign, let’s talk about how you can support that campaign too!
Choose your venue
- Most house parties will take place in someone's house. However, the location will help determine how many people to invite. You can invite 5 people or 500; whatever makes you feel the most comfortable is the right number.
Invite your guests
- Set a goal for how many people you want to attend. Remember that not everyone you invite will be able to attend, so invite about double the number of attendees you actually want to show up to be sure to hit your goal.
- You can invite local librarians and library staff, Friends or Foundation group members, your family, friends, coworkers, people you know through civic or community groups, members of your religious community, and your neighbors. Cast a wide net to ensure you get anyone who might be a supporter.
- The best way to get people to attend your event is to pick up the phone and call them. There's just no substitute for a personal phone call. But definitely use email, social media, and any other method you can think of to reach out to your networks.
- Ask them to RSVP so you can get a firm headcount for your event. You definitely want to re- confirm everyone's attendance a few days before the event, and remind them you're getting ready for them. That will make every attendee feel special and more likely to attend your house party.
- If you like, identify a few friends to act as co-hosts and to help you spread the word and invite the people in their networks to attend if you've got space to fill.
Plan your agenda. Here's a possible agenda for your party. But don't worry, these are just suggestions—you know your attendees best, so customize until it works for you.
- Introduce yourself, and share some reasons why you believe that libraries are fundamentally important in American communities and share ways that your attendees can support libraries through our Action.everylibrary.org website. It’s from this page that you can encourage your attendees to sign up to support libraries or make donations.
- Make sure that there's plenty of food and drink so that your guests will have a great time.
- If you have good internet access and a place to show it, you might show the latest video about the work that we’re doing from our Executive Director, John Chrastka. If you’re hosting a houseparty but don’t want to show the video, we highly suggest you watch it because it includes a great overview of our work and excellent talking points for you to know about the fight for libraries in the United States
- Take a few minutes and brainstorm how you and the attendees can work as part of the campaign for American Libraries. You can work together to set goals and responsibilities for what you can do in your area. Specifically, think of ways that you can all work to get more people in your area to sign up to support libraries or make a donation at action.everylibrary.org.
- Take action! Get your attendees involved by asking them to write a letter to the editor, phonebanking, and directly asking their friends and family to sign up to support libraries or make a donation at action.everylibrary.org. If you’re interested in having your guests phone bank for you, we will send you the call lists and the scripts you need to teach them in order to be successful. Please send us an email so we can get those supplies to you as quickly as possible. Just an hour of phonebanking with 10 people can reach hundreds of Americans.
- Use a signup sheet to get information and have your guests fill it out to collect contact information such as email addresses. The most important goal from your party is making sure we can continue to engage your guests and get them involved so we can continue to take action on behalf of libraries.
- If it makes sense for your party, feel free to ask your guests to support EveryLibrary by making a donation. Guests can make donations online to our campaign for libraries at action.everylibrary.org. Larger one-time donations are fantastic for our campaigns and smaller monthly donations make sure that we can continue our work in the future.
- Remember that the costs associated with the party must come from donations or your personal funds. EveryLibrary is currently using all of the funds we have to support the over 250 libraries that will be on the ballot this November.
After the party
- It's not over! Make sure you send thank you notes to everyone who attended. Or, if you give us their names and addresses, we would be happy to send them a thank you postcard on your behalf.
- Don't forget to make an "ask" to your guests, whether hosting an event of their own, donating, or volunteering. If your guest made the commitment to come to your event, they might be willing to make more commitments to you, the campaign, and libraries across the country. Make the ask, because chances are, your friends will say yes.
- Report back to us about your plans, successes, and even any failures! We want to hear from you to make these as successful as possible.
We want to thank you so much for your support. Just getting this far means a lot to libraries across the country. Please take the next step and host a houseparty to support libraries!