Make Your Voices Heard: Join IACRL in Washington

Illinois Association of College & Research Libraries Forum (IACRL)

March 12, 2018

Jim Deiters, ILA Advocacy Committee
Oak Lawn Public Library

Last spring, President Trump was threatening to cut off federal funding for libraries, and 42 Illinois librarians joined hundreds more from across the county to lobby legislators in Washington, D.C. This year, the 2018 National Library Legislative Day takes place May 7 & 8. Two of the main goals this year are restoring net neutrality and passage of a federal budget that includes Institute of Museum and Library Services funding.

First, the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 reauthorizes the IMLS and the Library Services and Technology grant that provides more than $183 million dollars to libraries and the communities they serve. LSTA money is used by the Illinois State Library to support system funding for interlibrary loan delivery, services for patrons with disabilities, access to online databases, and programs for at-risk students.

The second big push is to restore net neutrality. The FCC recently voted to remove protections on the free flow of information. Internet service providers can now pick and choose if and how quickly individuals access websites and applications. Librarians want a free and open Internet for their patrons.

National Library Legislative Day is an enlightening two-day event that brings many librarians, trustees, and supporters to the Capitol to express their goals and concerns about federal legislation. Monday, Briefing Day, is a full slate of updates on key issues and lessons on advocacy training at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel. Members of state delegations will have a chance to meet and make plans for Tuesday’s scheduled appointments with their lawmakers.

The Illinois Library Association is hosting a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club on Monday night for Illinois advocates and their library-supporting friends. Information about the featured speaker will be announced soon. Dinner registration is available through ILA’s website.

Advocacy and public awareness are part of ILA’s strategic plan, which has an explicit goal to “Enhance ILA’s recognized leadership and success in legislative advocacy by becoming more proactive in the legislative process.” If you’ve never attended NLLD before, now is your chance! If you are a seasoned veteran, thank you for your continued support!