YALSA has made a sample letter-to-the-editor for librarians to download and send to their local newspaper or to distribute to patrons before May 14. You can copy the text that follows or download a Word document version.

Have you checked out a good book from the library lately or attended an event there that you enjoyed? If so, please take a few minutes to speak up for libraries. May 12, 2009, is National Library Legislative Day, an event sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) to raise awareness in Congress of the important role libraries play in the lives of Americans. The federal government provides critical funds to the nation’s libraries to help cover the cost of things like Internet access, computer terminals, online databases, outreach to community members with special needs and more.

So, be a part of National Library Legislative Day and please contact your Senator’s office before May 14th and ask him/her to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) in support of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program. The letter requests that the Senate include $300 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $100 million for the Improving Literary Through School Libraries program for the 2010 fiscal year. The deadline for Senators to sign the letter is May 14, 2009.

This is a tough budget year and only a select few programs will receive an increase in funding for the 2010 fiscal year. LSTA and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program are in serious danger of receiving cuts or level funding without a minimum of 60 Senators’ signatures on the letter. Please contact your Senator’s office by May 14th and encourage your friends and family members to do so as well!

Visit the ALA web site for contact information for your Senator and for talking points that you can share on the phone with the staff person in your Senator’s office. When you contact your Senator’s office you must ask that he or she call Andrew Odgren with Senator Reed at 202-224-4642 or Mathew Hussey with Senator Snowe at 202-224-5344 to sign on to the letter.

Thank you for making a difference–every phone call helps!

About Stephanie Kuenn

Stephanie Kuenn is the communications specialist for YALSA, where she is responsible for YALSA's web content, publications, and media relations. She is currently pursuing an M.A. in library and information studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and holds an M.S. from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and a B.A. in history and journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She enjoys baking, watching sports, and reading. Her favorite book is "All the King's Men" by Robert Penn Warren.

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