A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Library Snapshot Day

by on March 25, 2013

Library Snapshot Day is an engaging way to capture “a day in the life” of libraries and their support of communities. Through reports and statistics, patron participation and testimonials, and photographs, we can reveal the invaluable contributions of libraries.

Library Snapshot Day was born of a collaboration between the New Jersey Library Association and the New Jersey State Library. The idea began with the question, “what would happen if libraries went away, even for a day?”  After holding two very successful “Snapshot Days” in New Jersey in 2009, the program was taken to a national level. To date, thirty-eight states have participated in Library Snapshot Day!   This program provides persuasive data during difficult economic times, with ever-shrinking budgets, and having to do more with less.

Participating in Library Snapshot day is an easy, inexpensive approach to advocacy.  Much of the information gathered are statistics that are already assembled for recurring reports. In addition, by collecting customer comments, libraries can show qualitative data as well. Sometimes, a photograph or a constituent’s personal endorsement can prove more meaningful than bare numbers.

Gloria Meraz, Director of Communications for the Texas Library Association, says, “Texas librarians have really embraced Library Snapshot Day. It has become an embedded celebration in libraries and offers a great opportunity for libraries to reach out to their communities, gather information, and promote themselves to decision makers. I hear a lot of feedback from our members and am constantly surprised at the range of programs and celebrations as well as the uses of Snapshot Day information. From supporting annual reports to personalizing promotional materials, the experiences chronicled through this event really lend themselves to all sorts of library activities.”1

If You’re Planning a Library Snapshot Day

From the ALA Web site: If you’re planning to host your own snapshot day, please help ALA make the case for what happens in libraries across the country in a single day! It’s easy as 1-2-3.

  1. Let ALA Know! If you are interested in hosting a Snapshot Day, or if you have already hosted one and would like to tell us about it, please contact Joaquin Falcon, ALA Office for Library Advocacy, or Michael Dowling, Director of the ALA Chapter Relations Office.
  2. Visit the Library Snapshot Day Primer  to get you started. If possible, please use some or all of these criteria as part of the information you gather. Although the main purpose of Library Snapshot Day is to help libraries at the state and local level, ALA would like to translate statewide results into national results that can be used for national media and advocacy efforts. View a recording of the archived Library Snapshot Day webinar from March 30, 2011.
  3. Send ALA your results! Please fill out this form (Word document or PDF) and help ALA compile information about what happens in libraries across the country in a single day. Once complete, you can email the form to jfalcon@ala.org or fax it to (312) 280.3255, attention Office for Library Advocacy.
  1. 1.     Add information for direct quote above. I,e.: From a telephone conversation with author and date or from an email with author and dat

Resources  to Get You Started!

Library Snapshot Day Primer: a step-by-step guide on creating your own Library Snapshot Day. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/librarysnapshotday

New Jersey State Library & Library Association Snapshot Wiki (with printable forms and sample handouts)

Library Snapshot Days by State

ALA’s Library Snapshot Day Webinar