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Looking Forward: Advocacy and Legislation 2013

As 2013 progresses, we need to acknowledge the important advocacy work of the American Library Association and our ALA Colleagues.  When I first took on the role of Chairperson of the ALSC Legislation (AKA ALSC Advocacy and Legislation) Committee, I had no clue about the workings of our extensive efforts to influence legislators and policy makers.  I didn’t know much about the multi-faceted grass roots efforts and individuals busily working on our behalf.

The ALA Legislation Committee is a Council Committee that serves the engine for guiding the association’s total legislative program on the federal, state and local levels.  It serves as the watchdog and guiding light for all things legislative.  It serves to recommend legislative policy and programs for council approval and to take necessary steps for implementation along.  It raises awareness and leads the charge in protesting legislative or executive policy that may adversely affect the welfare and development of libraries. They support advocacy efforts through a variety of active, hardworking subcommittees including the Grassroots Advocacy. They provide a forum within ALA to seek information and to keep divisions informed and active in support of these important issues.  They guide and work in tandem with the ALA Washington Office.

The ALA Washington Office team under the skilled direction of Emily Sheketoff   monitors legislation and coordinates our grassroots efforts to influence our legislators.  They actively cultivate policy makers to develop legislation and initiatives to include library components as well as to garner support for the issues so important to us.  Their scope is broad, ranging from privacy and confidentiality to copyrights, the availability of government information, school libraries and more.  LSTA, ESEA and IMLS are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the alphabet soup of issues and agencies that they deal with.  You can find out more on their webpage or by visiting District Dispatch

The ALA Office for Library Advocacy (OLA) works closely with the divisions to provide ongoing communication and support for members involved in advocacy efforts on the national or local levels. They produce workshops and webinars to support our efforts.  The OLA staff convenes regular Advocacy taskforce conference calls to keep the advocacy leaders of the divisions engaged aware of current issues and tools.

So what is ahead for Advocacy and Legislation for ALSC in 2013?  You will be hearing more from us.

We will continue to get guidance and work closely with our ALA partners. We will also seek your assistance in contacting your elected officials as needed.

We will continue to enhance our communication — news to come.  We plan to highlight your stories and acknowledge your successes.

We especially want you to communicate with us to provide input on the tools that we might provide to help succeed in your grassroots efforts.

Penny Markey, Chair
2012-2013 ALSC Advocacy And Legislation Committee




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