National Library Legislative Day 2018
On May 7-8, librarians from across all states and from all types of libraries will meet in Washington, DC for National Library Legislative Day. The attendees will meet with their federal legislators to ask for support for library issues that affect our patrons and our students. I bet you are thinking, “that sounds cool, but I have to work and can’t get to Washington, DC”, right? Did you know that you can support this work right from your school?
That’s right! The American Library Association provides a way for you to participate and it takes no more than 15 minutes to do. We know that the more voices that our legislators hear on a subject does sway their thinking. We have seen our voices heard on the national news during the teacher sick outs across the state. We have seen our voices heard when teachers marched on Frankfort. Now, it is time for you to voice your support for your profession as a librarian. And it is easy! Here are the directions.
Go to National Library Legislative Day. Register to participate. There are options to call, email, or tweet your representatives. By signing up, you will receive an email on May 7 reminding you to participate. This email will send you a link to the live stream and will give you talking points to help you make calls or send emails. Use the #NLLD18 as the hashtag for your tweets and to follow the conversation.
Then go to the ALA Legislative Action Page. You can put in your zip code and all of the elected officials from the President down to our state attorney general are listed along with their contact information. Specific details are available on this handout ALA Issues Brief.
Here are some of the things ALA encourages you to do.
- Thank your legislator for signing on to the funding for LSTA (Library Service and Technology Act) and IAL (Innovative Approaches to Libraries). I will save you time and tell you that only John Yarmuth in Kentucky signed this. If you are in his district, please, please thank him. This is what the ask entailed.
- ALA is asking for $27 million in FY 2018 for IAL. This enables school libraries to buy materials, books and supplies for the nation’s neediest students.
- ALA is asking for $186.6 million in FY 2018 for LSTA. This money helps fund public libraries. In Kentucky, we have seen about $2.3 million each year come to our public libraries.
- We can’t thank the rest of our representatives, but we can encourage them to reconsider. Telling them a story about how your students need the resources your library provides makes this a more real ask. Ideas would be to tweet a picture of your students using the library. Be sure to take the picture of the back of the students and avoid their faces for safety and security reasons.
- Invite your legislators, both state and federal, to visit your library when they are back home. There is nothing that politicians like better than to be seen in positive pictures with little kids. If they accept the invite to read a story, meet with a group of students, etc., invite the local press as well. This can be powerful.
I know that sometimes it feels as if we don’t have any impact after we vote but our united voices can make a difference. Join me on May 7th to make our voices heard in Washington, DC. Our students are depending on us!
Terri Grief, Legislative Chair, KASL