How to Prepare for a Meet-up

So you're thinking about attending one of ILA's upcoming Library Legislative Meet-ups, or perhaps have already registered? We've compiled some information here to help you get the most out of this opportunity to connect with your state and federal elected officials. 

First

Who are they? If you don't already know who represents you and/or your library (often not the same individual) in either the Illinois General Assembly or the United States Congress, you can search for them here.

Second

Are your legislators planning to attend an upcoming Meet-up? We update these lists daily as we receive confirmations:

If your legislator has not yet responded, why not reach out to his or her office to urge them to come? It is highly impactful for legislators to hear from constituents in addition to the ILA office. They've all been invited, but if the person you speak with isn't familiar with the event, just take his or her name and contact information and let us know at ila@ila.org. Please note: It is just as valuable to connect with staff members if the legislator cannot attend. Staffers often have more time to discuss issues, and they are often the ones educating the legislators on relevant issues and helping craft legislation or positions.

Next

What will you talk about at the Meet-up? Program content will vary a bit by location, but generally the speakers will focus on ILA and library legislative priorities and the value and worth of libraries. You can come prepared by thinking ahead about success stories--and statistics if you have them--from your own library, perhaps addressing legislators' areas of interest as noted on their web sites. For example, a legislator may be particularly interested in broadband access, veterans support, kindergarten readiness, or any number of other issues libraries regularly do so much to address. ILA has prepared two print resources for the Meet-ups:

  • The 2019 Palm Card outlines ILA's federal and state legislative agenda
  • The Illinois Libraries Transform brochure provides library stories from around the state, one for each region in which we have a Meet-up.

You may also wish to visit ILA's Advocacy page for additional resources and tools, including our Advocacy Toolkit and Top Ten Advocacy Tips.

Finally

Don't forget to have fun and be excited about taking this important step toward advocating for Illinois libraries, and the millions we serve! Consider following up with legislators following the event to invite them to your library or schedule an individual meeting. We look forward to seeing you at a Meet-up.