Greetings from the newly created ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee. You may recall seeing ALSC-L posts from the ALSC Legislation Committee. You will continue to receive those updates plus more! In addition to our responsibility to monitor and garner support for legislative issues, our role has broadened “to provide tools and information to empower [ALSC] members in support of grassroots advocacy efforts on behalf of libraries, children and families…”
So, what is ADVOCACY?
A quick look in my online dictionary tells us that ADVOCACY is the public support or recommendation for a particular cause. It comes from the Latin word Advocatia: “summon or call to one’s aid.”
ADVOCACY –So What?
When I started in the library biz some 30 + years ago, libraries were sacred traditions, like mom, apple pie and Fourth of July. Sure our budgets took a hit now and again, but we never doubted the importance of our role in the community. Times have changed. Local governments struggle to stretch limited budgets and are bombarded with battle cries of no new taxes. With the advent of the Internet, many people think that they have ready access to information 24-7. Skeptics question the importance or need to fund public libraries.
As children’s services practitioners and supporters, we need to be able to articulate how library services impact the children and families in our communities. Our services must be valued. Our voices must be strong and we must work to ensure that they are joined by others in our communities.
ADVOCACY is the top priority in the 2012 – 2017 ALSC Strategic Plan. The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee is working to develop the information and tools to help all of us to forward that goal. We will need the commitment and enthusiasm of each of you to help us in our goal of making advocacy a part of our organizational culture.
Please follow our posts monthly on the ALSC blog. We would love to hear about your experiences in the advocacy arena. We need to hear about your successes and failures. What tools and training can we develop to help you to be successful in your efforts? Let us know and stay tuned!!!
Penny Markey, Chair
2012-2013 ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee