MLA's Librarian Survival Kit
Writing Letters to Get Results
When writing a letter to an administrator (or any other influential person), you must be sure to address two critical points:
As suggested on the "Hints" page, you need to be thoroughly familiar with your organization and how your services fit into it. Remind the administrator how you and your library have furthered the hospital's short- and long-term goals. Provide specific examples of how your library is vital to other departments. You might discuss continuing education and computer training that you provide to hospital staff.
Describe how you provide information and how various departments are dependent upon your services. Give special attention to explaining how administrative staff depend, or could depend, on your services. An administrator can more easily cut funding or jobs if a department appears to stand alone. This task will be more difficult if the loss of funding or jobs could affect services deemed critical to carrying out the institution's mission.
Do not assume that administrators know about the services you provide. Explain the services in detail.
You should always write early, write often. If your job is threatened, you do not have time to skirt the issue. Do not sit around griping to yourself. Start writing letters to the numerous influential people that you know and serve in your institution. Reiterate how you fit into the organization, explain the cuts and the potential loss of your job, and tell them how such changes would affect their departments. Keep writing until you get a response. Ask for meetings to be held, and make sure you are invited. Committees are easily persuaded if they only hear one side of the argument.
Be aggressive in your defense! If your survival is at stake, it is critical for you to cause a commotion. If you link your skills and services with the institution's primary mission, your actions will not be viewed as selfish, but rather as an attempt to support the best interests of the institution.
Medical Library Association
Last Updated: 2007 May 30