On May 2nd, I traveled to Washington DC with YALSA President Sarah Hill and other YALSA members to participate in National Library Legislative Day. We focused our conversations on
- Preserving federal funds and support for libraries in the FY18 budget, including the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA), Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
- Keeping the Internet free and open to all by preserving existing net neutrality rules. Learn more about this issue from an earlier YALSAblog post.
Sarah and I met with Congressional staff who work for committees that are relevant to libraries, such as the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology. We participated in seven meetings in seven hours and here’s what we learned from this speed-dating with Congressional staff:
- Your emails, calls, Tweets and letters are working—especially your calls and letters—but we need more. Everyone we met admitted that Congress is pretty old school. So, calls and letters get more attention than social media or email. This includes letters to the editor and op-ed pieces in local newspapers. Please keep sending letters and making calls! As of May 4, only 20 Senators have signed the letter supporting federal funds for libraries in FY18. Check out this earlier YALSAblog post for sample messages and a ready to use letter to the editor (docx).