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Talking Points for Today's Libraries

Sample Key Messages

Library Use
Talking Points on the Value of Librarians
Talking Points on the Theme of Opportunity
Talking Points on the Theme of Changing and Dynamic

The following should be kept in mind when communicating about libraries:

  • Illustrate or at least allude to the diverse set of experiences and opportunities available to users of all ages.
  • Continue to emphasize the family-friendly, safe-haven aspects of libraries.Point out that libraries offer more than just printed materials — they provide access to computers, the Internet, activities, etc.
  • Reassure users that old-fashioned, in-person service along with traditional printed materials are not about to disappear at the expense of new library technologies.
  • New technologies should be stressed — especially in terms of offering vastly increased resources along with the library staff to help users navigate these resources.
  • Communicate that while people can access some of these resources at other places, the library offers them all in one place.
  • Profile the changing role of the librarian (friendly, tech-savvy and skilled at guiding patrons in the right direction).
  • Link the value of libraries to personal benefits.
  • Stress the concepts of economic opportunity and self-growth and improvement.


Libraries are part of the American Dream. Because they offer free access to all, they bring opportunity to all.

Libraries are unique. Where else can you have access to nearly anything on the Web or in print – as well as personal service and assistance in finding it?

Democracies need libraries. Libraries ensure the freedom to read, to view, to speak and to participate. Only free countries have free libraries.

Libraries are for everyone, everywhere.

Libraries bring people and ideas together. Think of the library as the living room of your community.

In a world where knowledge is power, libraries make everyone more powerful.

Investing in libraries is an investment in education and lifelong learning.

Library Use

Library use continues to climb. Libraries see more than 1.1 billion visits and circulate almost 1.8 billion items every year!

Americans spend about $25 a year for public libraries, much less than the average cost of one hardcover book. They also check out an average of more than six books a year.

From July 2003 - June 2004, state spending on public libraries in Montana equaled 35 cents per Montanan.

Montanans used their public libraries a total of 3,658,200 times from July 2003 - June 2004.

There are a total of 753 of all types of libraries in Montana (public, school, academic, and special). Of them, 79 are public libraries (with 29 branches).

A total of 5,393,101 items were checked out from Montana's public libraries from July 2003 - June 2004.

47.31% of Montanans are registered public library users.

The top five Montana towns with the highest percentage of registered borrowers from July 2003 – June 2004 were:

  • North Valley Public Library, Stevensville
  • Madison Valley Public Library, Ennis
  • Petroleum County Community Library, Winnett
  • Twin Bridges Public Library
  • Sheridan Public Library.


Your ability to get information shouldn't depend on your ability to pay for it.

Millions of Americans pass through the library each year but without adequate support these valuable resources may not be there when you need them.

If people speak up and speak out they can save their libraries.

Talking Points on the Value of Librarians

Librarians are the ultimate search engine. Librarians are trained experts in finding information, wherever it is — in books, in archives, on the Web.

In a world of information overload, librarians are information navigators — clearing a path, pointing you toward the information you need.

Talking Points on the Theme of Opportunity

In a world where knowledge is power, libraries open doors to knowledge and bring power to any who want to enter.

With yourself as your teacher and your librarian as coach, libraries are a place of lifelong learning.

Talking Points on the Theme of Changing and Dynamic

For many libraries, miles are meaningless. Libraries today are connected to information and resources around the world. Pittsburgh reaches Paris, small town Maine connects with Los Angeles, Boise accesses Beijing. Today's library technology means that information from around the world is just a few clicks away.

What's happening at your library? In one typical library, three o'clock on Mondays means children are listening to a storyteller, first-time computer users are learning to navigate the Web, retirees are in a discussion group on the latest bestseller, and students are surfing the Internet in search of information for their term papers.

Libraries are your neighborhood's "How To" resource. How to cook the perfect soufflé, write a better resume, find government information, do your homework — it's all at your library.

Libraries are the ultimate equal-opportunity resource.

Courtesy of American Library Association.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov