Brandy Hamilton is the public policy chair for the North Carolina Library Association and the regional library manager at the East Regional Library in Knightdale, Wake County, NC. Hamilton coordinated the North Carolina group of the 2012 National Library Legislative Day event in Washington, D.C., helping the advocacy team earn the distinction of being the largest state group to participate this year. Learn about how this 13-year library veteran is working with the NC Library Advocacy Taskforce to support libraries by collecting personal stories and using videos to influence legislators.
How did you get involved with library advocacy?
Advocacy has been one of those things that I went into because someone asked me for help. In 2009, I was invited to participate in National Library Legislative Day. For the next few years, I learned advocacy skills by observing and participating. I had three years under my belt before I was elected earlier this year as one of the spokespeople for the North Carolina Library Association and I took the reins as the state coordinator. It was a little intimidating at first, but the more you get involved, the more your passion for things grows.
“We’ve worked to get personal library stories on the website because we want legislators and community members to see the emotional connection people have with libraries.”
How do you work with your grassroots team to advocate for libraries?
This year, the North Carolina Library Association created an advocacy team called the NC Library Advocate Taskforce, which is an ad hoc group of the state association. Our group joined various library organizations across the state to create the NC Library Advocacy Taskforce website in order to advocate better for libraries. This year, we’ve worked to get personal library stories on the website because we want legislators and community members to see the emotional connection people have with libraries. We also wanted to show them how libraries support workforce development and job creation. Our goal is to get stories from each congressional district. The stories are coming mostly from library patrons. For example, one library patron came in to a library for a writing workshop, and got the courage to write her own story, which turned into a bestseller. You can read stories like hers on our website. We’ve recently started creating two-page brochures out of the stories.