We have been blogging all week about District Days starting next week. District Days are when legislators return to their home states and is a great time to schedule a meeting with them to advocate for your library. Check this site for more information, or read previous blog posts about District Days. If you haven’t heard, Legislators really like to hear personal stories to go along with our pleas for library support. So how do you get those personal stories? Here’s a few ideas I’ve had:

1. Thank you notes. I have received a few thank you notes from co-workers and one from some patrons for a program that I did. These are fantastic ways to show personal stories. If you don’t have any of your own, talk to a Children’s Librarian, they will probably have several. Those nice handwritten ones with the’ shaky kids writing are too memorable not to use. Scour your email looking for those thank you’s from teens or parents or co-workers.

2. Photos. A picture is worth 1,000 words, right? Who doesn’t have several pictures lying around of teens having a BLAST at a program? Bring some pictures with you to show how much your teens enjoy being in your library. Show off what a great place your library is.

3. “Why I Need My Library” contest. These are great stories from teens across the nation about how important their libraries are to them. Did you start and not quite finish your video with your teens? Finish it for your Senator. Did you mean to do this and just didn’t have the time? Do it for District Days (and get a head start for next year!) Put it on a digital camera that you can bring with you, burn a copy onto a cd to leave with them, create bookmarks with URLs to the video for the whole office.

4. Ask for a story. You know the library has made a real difference for this person, and their story would really hit home about why libraries are important. So ask them to help. Ask them to visit your senator with you, or ask them if you can share their story. Ask them to write it down, or if you can video tape it, or something like that. It doesn’t hurt to ask, all they can do is say no. Ask someone to be an advocate for libraries, in even just a small way by sharing their story with you so you can share it with someone else.

Some of these are small ideas, easy to implement. And you just might be surprised by how much you find when you start looking. Other ideas are bigger, but here’s a place to start. We’d love to hear your ideas for how to get personal stories too. These are a great way to help our legislators connect with the people they serve and see how important these resources are.

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