I’m getting ready to head to Washington D.C. for National Library Legislative Day on May 7 and 8. And that means more than just watching reruns of Parks and Rec and Veep! It means taking the time to prepare for the conversations we will have with representatives to advocate for libraries. You don’t have to be in Washington in May to advocate for libraries, you can call and email your representatives, too!  Register via the ALA site (it’s free) and they’ll send you free resources so you can easily participate from home. Here are some great tips from a recent NLLD webinar:

Know Your Audience

Create a legislator profile for the person you are contacting. Know their committee assignments, their history on library support and funding and try to find a personal connection if you can (you both have young kids, you both went to University of Pawnee, they are the caretaker of an aging parent). Whether you are talking to your elected official or their staff, this shows that you took the time to prepare and you really care! Read More →

The proposed White House budget for FY19 that was released February 12, 2018 calls for eliminating federal funds for libraries and the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. Now it’s up to Congress to decide whether or not they want to change that.  ALA and YALSA need your help to ensure that IMLS and federal funds for libraries are saved, because without libraries teens will not have the resources and support they need to succeed in school and prepare for college, careers, and life.  Here’s what you can do right now:

  1. Send an email or Tweet to your members of Congress.  ALA has ready-to-use messages waiting for you in their Action Center.
  2. Sign up via the ALA site to receive action alerts so you can easily email or call the offices of your Congress members at critical times during the budget process between now and Sept.
  3. Read and subscribe to District Dispatch, the ALA Washington Office’s blog, to stay up to date on the issues.
  4. Encourage your library users to share their stories about what their local library means to them.  ALA will use these with their advocacy efforts.  Direct patrons to this quick and easy form.
  5. Brush up on your advocacy knowledge and skills by checking out the resources on ALA’s shiny, new ala.org/fund-libraries site and YALSA’s web site.
  6. Sign up to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 8, online, at your library, or in Washington DC, and check out YALSA’s NLLD resources.
  7. Connect with your members of Congress when they’re in their home districts to keep them informed about the many ways the library helps community members.  Congress is typically not in session the week of a national holiday, like Presidents’ Day.  Schedule a meeting at their local office, and/or invite them to your library.  YALSA has free resources and tips to make this an easy task!
  8. Join YALSA, or make a donation, because together we’re stronger.  YALSA’s the only national organization that focuses its support and advocacy on teen library services. Dues start at $63 per year.  Your support will build our capacity to advocate for teens and libraries.
  9. Encourage your patrons, advocates groups, friends, family, and colleagues to do the above as well.

Don’t know much about IMLS?  Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state or territory’s libraries and museums.  In FY17 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $156,103,000.  In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for.  In FY17 they awarded competitive grants to libraries and library-supporting institutions totaling more than $27,469,000.  Visit the IMLS site to see how much funding your state receives from them.

Want to take further action to support teens and libraries?  We salute you!  Check out the free online resources we have to make speaking up for teens and libraries easy.

by Jenna Nemec-Loise

When I applied back in March for YALSA’s 2013 Advocacy Travel Stipend, I listed 19 reasons for wanting to attend my very first National Library Legislative Day (NLLD)— my rock-star teen volunteers.

NLLD 13 (I Love Libraries!)

But get this:

Just one short year ago, my 19 reasons freaked me out. And I don’t mean in a gee-I’m-a-little-bit-nervous-around-teens kind of way. I’m talking white-knuckle-deer-in-headlights terror here.

I mean, come on. I’m an early childhood specialist. My days are filled with Mother Goose on the Loose, phonological awareness, and three-dozen two-year-old “boyfriends,” all searching for that elusive Thomas the Tank Engine book. I love the little kids. I’m awesome with them. What was I going to do with teens?
Read More →

National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is May 7-8 in Washington, DC. This important event puts hundreds of librarians, library advocates, and citizens in front of legislators to champion national funding. If you cannot attend in person, there are a number of ways you can advocate!

  • Be on the lookout for emails from YALSA promoting the Tweet Your Senator Map and a NEW map, the Tweet Your Representative Map!
  • Get up-to-date on NLLD activities at the District Dispatch blog.
  • Follow the ALA Washington Office on Twitter and Facebook for up-to-the-minute details on activities and ways you can advocate from home.
  • If you do attend, the YALSA Legislative Committee wants to highlight your NLLD story! Please email chair Lizz Zitron to share your story and inspire your colleagues.


If you could not attend National Library Legislative Day in person, ALA provided ample opportunity to participate virtually.

The ALA Washington Office Twitter feed (@ala_wo) is an informative resource year-round, but their tweet-by-tweet coverage of the day was an excellent way to track the action. Many advocating librarians took the time to Tweet their activities in between meetings using the #NLLD hashtag. It was truly heartening to see so many librarians on the frontlines.

‘ Those who could not meet their legislators in person still had (and have)’ the opportunity to communicate their concerns. YALSA’s Tweet Your Senator Map is a quick and easy way for those with a Twitter account to connect with their senators regarding library issues. The Map saw a lot of use over the days. The Legislative Action Center‘ is an excellent clearinghouse for understanding legislation impacting libraries and how to communicate with legislators. Though the official day has passed, advocating for libraries is a year-round endeavor.

‘ If you are considering attending next year’s Library Legislative Day from May 6-7, check out‘ this informative piece on NLLD in American Libraries Magazine to get a clearer picture of the experience. ‘ And take a minute to browse the ALA Washington Office flickr account to see the action for yourself and hopefully get pumped to advocate.

It’s National Library Legislative Day! Today, library supporters across the United States are participating virtually by contacting their representatives to encourage them to support libraries. YALSA has created the Tweet Your U.S. Senator Map to simplify the process for you. Two clicks, and you’re a library advocate. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Visit the Google Map (below or at this link). Make sure you’re logged into Twitter through your web browser.
  2. Click the Tweet Me button on your senators.
  3. A message automatically generates, encouraging your senator to fund LSTA and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Act with the #nlld hashtag. All you have to do is click “Tweet.”

It’s that simple. Share the map and advocate for libraries today!

View YALSA Tweet Your US Senator Map in a larger map