The term advocacy is very much misused and confused. Advocacy is not getting our message out: that is public relations and publicity. Advocacy is not telling our story: that is more often marketing. Advocacy is a planned, deliberate, sustained effort to develop understanding and support incrementally over time.
What are the implications of a different approach? This work will focus on the world and perspective of the decision-maker and funder, not on the world of the librarian or library worker. Advocacy becomes the responsibility of everyone, not just the director and the board. Advocacy is not about being a victim but about community development, however the word community might be defined. An advocacy plan plays to the strengths of librarians in undertaking research and developing partnerships. Advocacy is indeed about stories, the stories of our customers, but it is based on respect, respect for the political process and the people within it, and respect for people's time, priorities and beliefs. Specific, tested strategies and approaches can be used systematically by librarians and others to connect their agenda to the political and funding agenda, to ensure win-win propositions that engender support.