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Legislative Advocacy for Illinois Libraries
Advocacy is a major ILA function, and we influence public policy in many different ways. The goal of the ILA Legislative Action Network (LAN) is to establish a network of library supporters who will directly and personally contact public officials at key points in the legislative process.
Members of LAN are asked to contact their local public officials and ask them to support ILA’s public policy position. This may be as simple as asking them to vote YES or NO on a particular bill. It might also include making them aware of a major issue and asking for their support. It might even be that a local official has taken a position harmful to libraries and he or she needs to hear why libraries are opposed.
LAN will be most effective when its members have first established a strong relationship with their local and national public officials. The power of the network is that public officials will hear directly from local constituents. Constituents that they know and trust on library issues.
We invite you to make the important commitment to become an advocate for libraries. ILA will also make a commitment to you. When asked to make contacts to public officials, we will tell you when, who and why. We will give you the information you need to make the most effective contact. We will respect your time, and only ask you to make a personal contact to a public official when it is crucial to our advocacy effort. “LAN Alerts” will be timely, targeted, and thoughtful.
Libraries have a great story to tell, and especially in these difficult budget times, we can't expect our elected leaders to support our needs unless we let them know what matters to us!
Advocacy simply means to actively support a cause. Libraries are our cause. Many people in the community recognize libraries are an important asset; but there are people who feel that technology has made library services obsolete and the current economic situation often makes their argument compelling. Library supporters must remind their neighbors, community leaders and elected officials of the fact that libraries provide great learning opportunities, excellent public service and serve as invaluable contributors in their communities.
Advocacy is such an easy word, yet is so complicated in the minds of so many in the library community. Why is it that most library supporters, who themselves are strong community driven people, have no idea the importance of speaking out in support of their libraries?
The ILA Advocacy Toolkit was put together for you, the library supporter and Illinois citizen, so that you can learn to be a true library advocate. Your voice will make a difference, especially if it is heard at the right time and in the right place and by the right person. All legislators want to know their constituents; they need to know the opinions and views of their constituents BEFORE they vote on a piece of legislation. You can make the difference. This toolkit is a compilation of the basic advocacy tools, and includes the following sections: