How to advocate for libraries this summer

Rob Wittman with CRRL Deputy Director Caroline Parr

Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) visited a Virginia library in 2012.

It’s August, and most political activities are moving to home districts for the summer. Fortunately, legislators return to local districts during this time, leaving plenty of opportunities for library advocates to schedule advocacy meetings or invite legislators to visit their local libraries. It is also an election year, so many legislators are campaigning for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

Library champions can use this time to continue to advocate for library issues, such as federal funding, reader privacy and copyright reform, among other issues. Make sure that both candidates know what is happening in your library, so when issues come up, they remember what you are doing to serve their constituents.

One American Library Association (ALA) division is releasing a set of tools that library supporters can use to invite legislators and the candidates they are running against to visit their libraries. This week marks the beginning of District Days, a month-long advocacy campaign spearheaded by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). For the next five weeks while Congress is out of session, YALSA is encouraging librarians to invite members of Congress and the opposing candidates to visit their library.

The ALA Washington Office also provides helpful information on library advocacy. Advocates who would like to learn how to bring candidates in to their libraries can view the (free) archived webinar “They’ve Got to See it to Believe It: Getting Decision Makers Into Your Library.”

They’ve Got to See it to Believe It: Getting Decision Makers Into Your Library from ALA Washington on Vimeo.

Jazzy Wright is the Press Officer of the American Library Association's Washington Office. Email her at jwright@alawash.org.

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