On May 13th and 14th I was fortunate enough to attend ALA’s Legislative Days in Washington DC. It was a truly great event – many thanks to ALA, especially the Washington Office, who worked so hard to make this important advocacy event possible again this year. Having never been to National Leg Day it was quite an experience for me as I watched librarians rush from one legislative office building to the next, working to speak up on behalf of libraries and librarians. I spent a lot of my time with the Executive Directors and Presidents of AASL and ALSC as we spoke to legislative staffers about vital topics like the SKILLS act and social networking. Two highlights for me were the offices of Congressperson Judy Biggert and Senator Edward Kennedy. We stopped by these offices and had the opportunity to speak at length with staff for what I felt were very productive and meaningful conversations. Meanwhile, every state delegation of librarians, with the help of a state coordinator, spent much of their time talking to their individual state representatives about various local and national issues of importance to libraries.
I have to admit that after this experience I am feeling a little addicted to advocacy! And so next year, I will find a way to participate in National Library Leg Days again. This participation will likely be virtual and I look forward to that entirely new experience too. I urge everyone to strongly consider being involved in this important annual event. After all, if librarians don’t make the case for libraries with our legislators in a loud and clear voice, who will?
Paula Brehm-Heeger, YALSA President