One Year Impact Report - Fight for the First and the National Library Alliance

We are celebrating an important milestone: The one-year anniversary of Fight for The First, the only online digital advocacy platform that provides tools, funding, and other resources to local communities who want to take action against book bans in public libraries and school libraries around the United States.

Supported by generous donations from the author Nora Roberts and the Nora Roberts Family Foundation, the Long Ridge Action Fund, several independent family foundations, and hundreds of individual donors, Fight for the First and the National Library Alliance have become an indispensable ally in the fight against censorship in school libraries and public libraries.

The statistics prove our effectiveness. Over the last 12 months, 90 local Library Alliances and Education Coalitions have used the pro-bono tools and benefitted from direct support and advice from EveryLibrary (501c4) and the EveryLibrary Institute (501c3) in their fights to restore the right to read and oppose unconstitutional censorship. 


You can donate directly to this project through ActBlue here

What's Fight for the First and the National Library Alliance?

Fight for the First is a digital organizing platform that give library supporters the tools they need to take action against book bans in their communities and schools.

When anti-censorship activists create a campaign on the Fight for the First website, they are able to take advantage of the National Library Alliance, an extensive supporter and partner network. The EveryLibrary Institute also provides pro-bono consulting, training, and other support to make Fight for the First campaigns more successful.

"Fight for the First provides the digital tools, experienced guidance, and free anti-book ban resources to help any community group or concerned rally support and affect change for their library," said John Chrastka, Executive Director of EveryLibrary. "No one has to join us. We join them and bring all the experience and resources of the National Library Alliance to fight against censorship and discrimination.” 

How Has Fight for the First Benefited Campaign Organizers?

The Fight for the First site makes launching a local Library Alliance or Education Coalition around a local censorship problem very easy. Through the platform, groups are able to get together to discuss policies, create targeted calls to action, engage and advertise on social media, encourage attendance at meetings, and host rallies. The tools and resources on Fight for the First for National Library Alliance groups are unique in the library advocacy space. While the site includes toolkits and policy examples, it is best used to support and facilitate direct actions to restore the right to read and the rule of law in public libraries and school libraries.

Since it was created one year ago, the Fight for the First platform has facilitated:

  • 65,232 unique members joined
  • 90 petitions created
  • 74,4342 signatures collected
  • 214 direct actions like emails and rallies

“Fight for the First is a sophisticated digital tool that empowers local and statewide communities to defend free access to information," emphasizes Patrick Sweeney, Deputy Director at EveryLibrary Institute and Political Director at EveryLibrary.


You can donate directly to this project through ActBlue here

Impact of Fight for the First on Local Library Alliances 

"The support of EveryLibrary continues to be a beacon of light in our work that helps guide the way. Just as we rely on professional expertise in our schools, the support from the EveryLibrary team has helped ensure we keep the positive momentum going in the anti-censorship movement." - Raegan Miller, Director of Development and Finance, Florida Freedom to Read Project

"The support of EveryLibrary has been instrumental in the launch and the ongoing work of the Texas Freedom to Read Project. As attempts at censorship and book banning have skyrocketed across the state of Texas, the need to protect our First Amendment rights is more important than ever. We are incredibly grateful for and look forward to a continued partnership with EveryLibrary. We are optimistic about the future of Texas as we FightForTheFirst." - Laney Hawes, Texas Freedom to Read Project.

“EveryLibrary has been instrumental in helping us combat censorship and book banning in Idaho.  For three years the Idaho Legislature has brought up anti-library bills, and for the last two years, the bills have been defeated.  We hope this year's legislation will be defeated as well. Facts, information and important strategy methods from EveryLibrary have been invaluable to our communities and to our success.  We thank them every day for their help.” - Heather Stout, Co-Founder, North Central Idaho Alliance.

“When you’re a solo school librarian under fire from book banners, it’s tough to stand up on your own. But Fight for the First made it easy to spread the word, raise awareness, and grow support for the right to read. Thanks to Fight for the First, hundreds of community members are by my side fighting for intellectual freedom not just in our school district but also at the state level as we advocate for the NJ Freedom to Read bill.” - Martha Hixon, School Librarian, North Hunterdon High School.

“It can feel scary and potentially overwhelming to witness the emergence of pro-censorship and book banning efforts in your community and know that you need to do SOMETHING to fight back, but what? EveryLibrary understands exactly what new First Amendment Rights advocacy groups need to help get established and is a steadfast ally in combating censorship nationwide. The St Tammany Library Alliance proudly aligns with EveryLibrary, a partnership that began in 2022 when we, too, recognized that we couldn't just sit back and watch these attacks on our community and that we needed to take action to protect our libraries and defend our First Amendment Rights.” - Sarah on behalf of the St Tammany Library Alliance.

Successes Fighting Censorship and Erasure 

In Worcester County, MD

Fight for the First was designed to support free speech rights, including when the public engages library boards and school boards in our democratic republic. Its effectiveness is demonstrated in a recent campaign that took place in Worcester County, MD. The Worcester County Commission did not allow for a public comment period in their meetings. This lack of open dialogue meant that residents were unable to voice their concerns or opinions on issues before decisions were made. In this case, a Fight for the First campaign was organized by a local group called Worcester United to support petition and assembly rights. The campaign had a straightforward yet powerful call to action: "Every County Commissioners meeting should include time for public comment."

Worcester United fielded a successful petition that gathered over 275 signatures from across their rural county. EveryLibrary spent money on digital ads in their area to help amplify their call to action. Because they were able to be heard as a political and social force, the county has now committed to creating a new policy to allow for public comment.

In Marathon County, Wisconsin

The Marathon County Public Library was under attack for weeks after Supervisor David Baker proposed an Amendment to dismantle the library system. In response to this threat, the Marathon County Public Library Alliance launched a petition on our Fight for the First petition platform, urging supervisors not to defund the library. The public responded quickly and overwhelmingly in favor of the library. The requested budget passed without Supervisor David Baker's proposed amendment to reduce funding and abolish the library system.

In Glenn Ridge, New Jersey

Glen Ridge United Against Book Bans was an early Fight for the First Campaign. They successfully opposed a local pro-censorship group's attempt to remove six books from the Glen Ridge Public Library. These books included titles like "All Boys Aren't Blue" and "It's Perfectly Normal." Support included the Fight for the First Platform's digital tools for petitions and organizing, hundreds of dollars in digital ads, and pro-bono campaign consulting. The campaign mobilized nearly 3,000 petition signers and over 750 people to a board meeting, leading to a unanimous decision to keep the books.

In Douglas County, Colorado

The Douglas County Freadom Defenders utilized the Fight For The First platform to empower local activists in an important anti-discrimination campaign. We provided essential organizing tools, enabling community members and parents to initiate and propel their campaigns. Alongside granting up to $1,000 in digital advertising to broaden campaign reach, political director Patrick Sweeney and associate director Peter Bromberg collaborated with local campaign leaders to draft petitions and fostered a supportive network of community organizers. Read about this campaign on LGBTQ Nation.

The Entire First Amendment

Fight for the First is designed to help local communities safeguard free speech in libraries and also uphold the entirety of First Amendment rights, including the right to petition and assemble. An example of this commitment to all Five Freedoms was the successful campaign in Worcester County, MD, by Worcester United, demanding public comment periods at County Commissioner meetings, a right previously denied, stifling community input on decisions.

Utilizing EveryLibrary's Fight for the First digital tools, Worcester United mobilized over 275 signatures for their petition, supported by targeted digital ads, advocating for open public commentary as a standard meeting feature. This effort led to a commitment from the county to implement a new public comment policy, exemplifying the critical role of First Amendment rights in maintaining democratic processes and governance. The success in Worcester County underscores the importance of active, organized advocacy in upholding the principles of democracy and civic engagement.

How to Support Ongoing Fights for the First

Anyone seeking to support Fight for the First can do so by donating through the website at you are fighting book bans in your community library, or need to organize a public campaign to support free speech in your public library system, you can use Fight for the First to get started at

“We truly appreciate Nora Roberts, the Long Ridge Action Fund, the Bookey Family Foundation, the Allison Rosen Fund, and hundreds of personal donors for enabling us to launch and scale up the Fight for the First platform and the National Library Alliance training program,” adds Chrastka. “Every single campaign we host on the platform is supported by paid ads on social media to raise awareness and reach people who care. We are proud to be the only First Amendment group that advertises about the local libraries in crisis.”