Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the literature on influencing upwards in organisations for practical approaches, which can be used in libraries. Design/methodology/approach – The literature is examined to see if there is any agreement on which factors are successful when influencing upwards within organisations. Both management and library literatures are examined and a list of possible influencing behaviours is complied. Findings – Although there is little specific library literature on this topic there is enough in the management literature to suggest influence strategies and behaviours which librarians might consider using in order to increase influence within organisations. Influence of the core group in particular is looked at as is the correlation between influence and leadership style. As well as identifying specific influence strategies there is some discussion of the underpinning values of librarianship and how these can be used to influence the organisation more widely. Originality/value – This paper provides food for thought for library practitioners on how they might work within organisations to take the library's agenda forward.