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Making the Most of Your Legislative MeetupOctober 18, 2023
First of all, thank you for going to an ILA Legislative Meetup! I know from experience that it was an informative and rewarding use of your, your staff’s, and your trustees’ time. The Legislative Meetups are a coordinated effort between ILA, the ILA Advocacy Committee, and regional libraries. There are now seven across the state.
Whether you are a first time attendee or have been attending for many years, there are ways you can make the most of the experience:
- Share your stories. What impact does your library make in your community? What impact would prospective legislation have on your ability to serve your community? Give your legislators examples of the ways you benefit your population.
- Invite your Trustees and prepare them to be advocates. Legislators realize that as librarians we have a professional and personal stake in legislation affecting libraries. Trustees, as volunteers, can communicate the library’s value without a perception of bias.
- Invite staff. Advocacy isn’t just for management. If you are able to spare staff, register them too! Each staff member brings a unique perspective. Youth Services staff are great advocates who deal directly with families using the library. Technical Services staff understand the impact legislation has on access to materials and technology
Ways to stay connected after the Meetup:
- Follow up with your representatives and thank them for attending. While they will already be receiving thank yous from the Meetup coordinators, that extra acknowledgment of appreciation can go a long way! Didn’t have an opportunity to share a great story or photo with your legislator? Now’s your chance!
- Keep abreast with developing legislation. The ILA website is an excellent source of information and resources regarding advocacy. The ILA Legislative Issues page contains current information to help you stay informed.
- Volunteer! Submit your name to volunteer for the ILA Advocacy Committee. The Legislative Meetup Coordinators always welcome extra help, too. Helping with a Legislative Meetup often means making phone calls to regional libraries and representatives. The Advocacy Committee can help connect you with your region’s Coordinator.
This information was prepared by Kate Kite, MSLIS.