Reaching Across the Aisle for Library Funding and Other Initiatives: Building Bridges with the Discovery Model

Talking with political opponents during trying times
Free webinar: Thursday, August 29, 2019, 2 pm to 3 pm ET
Isn’t there a better way to discuss ideological differences and win financial and political support for your library, agency, or belief

Recent political campaigns and philosophical confrontations online and in the press have destroyed lasting friendships, frayed family ties, and alienated neighbors and co-workers. Social media has devolved into a battleground of nasty diatribes and personal slurs.

The Discovery Model is about first listening to the other person’s point of view and being able to understand their values and the world they live in. The point? It’s about strengthening and sustaining workplace, personal, and online relationships, not trying to win the argument du jour. And learning to live in peace on the same planet with people you disagree with.

For libraries and other organizations looking for financial and political support, influence begins with empathy. Do you know the other person’s priorities? How your political opponents find the information that guides their decisions? What misunderstandings they might have about your positions? And, most importantly, what mistakes might you have been making when communicating your values and advocating for your causes?

Topics include the concept of listening with a “clean heart and fresh eyes,” the 75% rule, why emotions can be more important than facts, questions that elicit information, building trust and respect, turning enemies into allies, and how the Discovery Model might change your opinions as well.


  • Introduction: The Elephant and the Wise Blind Seers
  • The Key Idea: Are Conversations Battles to Win or Lose?
  • The Rules of The Game: Agreements About Civility
  • Start with Commonality and Foundation Ideas
  • Precision in Language and Concepts
  • Verifying and Evaluating Information
  • Avoiding Common Critical Thinking Mistakes
  • Next steps


  • Build and maintain positive relationships based on trust and respect during divisive political times, even with political opponents.
  • Attract people who want to discuss issues and learn instead of debating them as competing in a reality-show contest.
  • Create safe public environments for difficult conversations.
  • Win financial and political support for institutions and causes.
  • Set an example of civil behavior for the people you serve.

A joint project of the EveryLibrary Institute ( Pattern Research, Inc. (

Patrick "PC" SweeneyPatrick “PC” Sweeney, Political Director at the EveryLibrary Institute, is a tireless and innovative advocate for libraries. A 2007 graduate of the San Jose School of Library and Information Sciences, PC is the former Administrative Librarian of the Sunnyvale (CA) Public Library and was Executive Director of EveryLibrary California, a statewide initiative to support library Propositions.He was awarded Library Journal’s “Movers and Shakers” award in 2015 for his library advocacy work. He is co-author of “Winning Elections and Influencing Politicians for Library Funding” as well as “Before the Ballot; Building Support for Library Funding.”

Pat Wagner, co-owner of Pattern Research, Inc., is a management consultant and instructional producer. She has been serving libraries, higher ed, and allied institutions since 1978. Pat is a frequent speaker at state and national library conferences and has worked for libraries and library associations from Alaska to Puerto Rico, from the smallest storefront rural libraries to the largest urban districts and academic learning centers. Pat specializes in skills to support library success, including marketing, conflict management, customer service, strategic planning, and project management. She is committed to the ideal of an open marketplace of ideas.

8 thoughts on “Reaching Across the Aisle for Library Funding and Other Initiatives: Building Bridges with the Discovery Model

    • Thank you for your interest! The way we planned it is to collect questions and have people share comments in the “chat” box. Then, at the end, we will keep recording until we run out of questions. It will not be audio or video discussion, which eats up bandwidth. And we don’t unmute participants; too many people have terrible audio (smile).

      We do many free webinars; feel free to browse our site.

      If you have any pre-webcast questions, feel free to share them and I will take them into account during the program.

  1. I am traveling and won’t be able to attend. Will this be archived? Our library is hosting a preelection showing and panel discussion of American Creed in October and this would be excellent prep. Also, can we share with the public or just library folks?

    • Hi! It will be recorded and archived. We encourage folks to sign up even if they won’t be able to attend the live webcast, so that they receive the email with the link to recording – easy peasy.

      No restrictions on sharing, at all. Hope you find it useful.

  2. I didn’t see the email about this webinar until it was past. Is it possible to have access to the recording after the fact?

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