This week, the ALA Washington Office kicked off the 42nd National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington, DC, with a little help from over 400 library supporters. Attendees had the opportunity to hear from keynote speaker and former Member of Congress Rush Holt, and also heard from a number of expert speakers. Panels included an issue briefing with Washington Office staff, training on press, media, and holding productive meetings with legislators, and tips on how to keep libraries in the spotlight during an election year. A recording of the first half of the day is available on the ALA Youtube channel.
This year, National Library Legislative Day advocates asked their congressional representatives to fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and support programs that provide school libraries with needed funds for materials. Advocates also asked legislators to support the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden for Librarian of Congress, ECPA reform, and the Marrakesh Treaty.
During the event, the ALA Washington Office awarded Dan Aldrich, a library advocate from Georgia, the 2016 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIST) Award. Given to a non-librarian participant attending National Library Legislative Day, the award covers hotel fees in addition to a $300 stipend to reduce the cost of attending the event.
This year, the NLLD advoacy efforts were bolstered by a collaboration with the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA). Over 700 HPA members agreed to take action as part of Virtual Library Legislative Day, along with over 700 of the ALA’s own membership who pledged to take similar action and amplify the message being sent in Washington this week.
The ALA also took this opportunity to launch a new video series, also a collaboration with the HPA. Called Spark, the series aims to help demystify the advocacy process for young adults and new advocates.
Many thanks to all of the library supporters who participated in National Library Legislative Day, both in person and virtually. It is your hard work and support that made this event a success.