A few months ago, ALA raised the call to #saveIMLS funding. Dubbed the “fight for libraries” we all worked to tell our representatives and senators how important federal funding for programs that support libraries, the Library Services and Technology Act and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy. We spoke up to ask them to sign dear appropriator letter to preserve funding for these programs. And they listened! The proposed budget includes funding for both of these important programs and will continue to help us create, promote and sustain vital library programs for our communities.
But the fight is not over. Congress just left on recess. So you may think that we can take a break too…but it is more important than ever that we get engaged with our elected officials. Now is your chance, while they are home in your district, to do more than email. You have a chance to show them how important libraries are in the communities they represent. When they go back to D.C. this fall they will have to vote on the budget…and who knows what could get cut at the last minute. Let’s make sure we show members of congress the true value of the library!
While congress is on recess connect with your elected officials. Invite your member of congress to the library to:
- Visit the library for a tour
- Attend a back-to-school night
- Join in a celebration for the end of your summer learning program
- Create a pop-up office at your library so they can meet with their constituents
YALSA has all you need to plan a great visit on the wiki’s District Days page . Of course, we want to bring members of congress into the library to see the impact we have on the community first-hand. If they aren’t available to come to the library, take your message to them:
- Ask to meet with them about why teens need libraries and what we do for them
- Bring teens with you to talk to tell their stories themselves!
Nervous about talking to a member of congress or their staff?:
- Remember, you won’t always be able to meet with your elected official face-to-face. For us YALSA members, this is no stress at all. Their staff are often just out of college (which means hasn’t been that long since they were a teen in the library). And we know how to talk with teens!
- Prepare what you want to say ahead of time. Check out the 2017 Advocacy Toolkit for some great resources, especially the section titled “Developing & Delivering Your Message.”
- YALSA has lots of great resources you can take with you to illustrate your point
Everything you need to make an impact on your elected officials this August is available on the District Days wiki. And if you are inspired by one of the ideas above, but you don’t think you have time to do it justice this month, take a look at the schedule to see when your representatives will be home next! Advocacy isn’t just something we do once a year, but something we should be doing as often as possible.