Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

AmazonSmile as Easy Fundraising Opportunity

Like it or not, everyone is shopping at Amazon these days. Okay, not everyone. But you get the point. We might as well get used to it. Not only that, we might as well take advantage of it. At least, we might as well know our options. Libraries operate on increasingly tight budgets. And we advocate on a regular basis for greater funding. Sometimes, we get it. And even when we don’t, we’re increasingly clever with how we spend what we have to effectively reach all of our patrons. We’re good at what we do. Still, a few extra bucks never hurts. Enter AmazonSmile. An easy way to earn a few cents on eligible purchases which, depending on supporter’s purchasing habits, may add up to substantial donations. After all, as of October 2018, according to their site, AmazonSmile’s charities have earned more than $105 billion. Here’s how to sign up,…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Because Children’s Libraries Are Community Investments

I often hear about the importance of advocating for youth services to the rest of the library; however, youth services librarians are also excellently poised to help their communities recognize the lasting, positive outcomes of investing in their public libraries. It was good news last year for American libraries when President Trump signed a bill that increased the IMLS budget by about $2 million. However, an updated study by ALA and OCLC, From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018, found that most voters don’t realize how much public libraries are not funded by federal sources like IMLS: “86% of public library funding comes from local government sources; yet, 59% of voters think most library funding comes from non-local sources.” This is a problem when voters show less financial commitment to their local libraries than they did a decade ago: “only 58% of respondents are…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Advocacy Resources at ALA Midwinter 2019 and Beyond

The Midwinter Meeting is coming up fast! In case you want to brush up on how to best advocate for yourself and your library, here’s a quick rundown of the advocacy-related meetings taking place in Seattle. The best part? All the meetings listed below are open and included in your conference registration. Start off your Saturday with Breaking Down the Barriers to Advocacy for School Libraries.Part of the Symposium on the Future of Libraries, attendees can join ALA Policy Corps for a conversation surrounding political advocacy for school librarians. Attendees will also learn how to connect with local legislators and break down barriers that stand in the way of effective advocacy efforts.   For the first two years of the Trump Administration, librarians have been politically active and energized. But with a new Congress, what happens next? Libraries & Public Policy After the Midterm Elections & the Midpoint of the…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Community Storytimes Support Library Advocacy

I work in an urban environment, nestled tightly into a downtown grid, separated from many communities where families live. We face an assortment of barriers, most notably parking expenses and easy public transit access, that limit the availability of our kids area for those families who live in our service area. Barriers to access such as these are well known to many of you, I am sure, and they amplify the need to reach out into surrounding communities. This outreach is a part of our daily lives. And, hey, it’s also library advocacy! We meet families where they are. Through our programming we highlight the importance of early learning for families and community partners. We’re building relationships with stakeholders who gain a better understanding of our role in their lives and develop support for the library in the communities we serve. Although there are many ways we program throughout our…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy Resources: Helping You Tell Your Library’s Story

Midterm elections are right around the corner. For many of us, that means library advocacy is at the forefront of our minds. The ALSC Advocacy and Legislation Committee wants to make sure that you feel empowered and informed so you can advocate for yourself, your library, and the children and families you serve. Yes, it can seem daunting. But advocacy is something we library folk already excel at: sharing information and building relationships. Advocacy is all about helping your patrons and elected officials better understand your library’s role and value to community. But how do you start organizing all of that information? How do you tell your library’s story in a clear, engaging way? There are so many wonderful resources available to help you get started. However, it can feel overwhelming to slog through everything to find what you need. ALA’s Everyday Advocacy focuses specifically on library services to youth…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Summer Reading is Library Advocacy

Greetings from your Committee on Advocacy and Legislation! It’s August. For many public librarians that means an end to summer reading. Our daytime rush of readers slows and we begin our fall outreach into the many schools we serve. It’s a wonderful time of year, one full of high-fives and celebratory applause for the hard work our readers have done all summer long. Let’s reflect the achievements of our readers and its obvious link to advocacy work, both for us, the teachers, and the school librarians we serve. Highlights of my summer include the sense of accomplishment on the face of a reader who has finished their requisite number of books or pages. It takes determination for these kids, even when it’s fun. And if your library is like mine, the number of readers meeting their goals each year is growing. It’s obvious that for many kids our summer reading…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Advocacy: Think Nationally/Act Locally

Image courtesy of EveryLibrary.org Few of us have the opportunity to participate in ALA’s National Library Legislation Day—but did you know that very best and most effective library and political advocacy is actually local? Here are a few simple “how to’s” that will keep you in the know and build your knowledge and skills around advocacy… for national library legislation, for funding, and sensible Federal regulations that can have a powerful local impact. 1. Register to vote via your local Board of Elections. or by mail . Though many folks prefer not registering for a specific party (they like their Independent voter status) being a party member does allow you to vote in party primaries. 2. Vote in every election you can. If you cannot vote in person—be sure to secure an absentee ballot. (My Congresswoman in the NY–9 was primaried this year. I was able to vote before I left…

Blogger Advocacy and Legislation Committee

Serving on the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation Committee

After three years, my time on the ALSC Advocacy & Legislation Committee has come to an end. When I was first asked to serve on this committee, my initial reaction was to decline (hard pass). What did I know about advocacy (besides being a loud mouth) or legislation (besides that it is usually complicated), in relation to libraries? After talking it out with friends, I regained my composure to accept the initial appointment, and a later appointment as co-chair. Because, ultimately, I saw not only an incredible opportunity to make a positive impact in the profession, but a learning opportunity for myself. As my final act on this committee I wanted to share with you some of the work this committee has done, and encourage you to be involved in a process committee in the future.   During the last three years, this committee has: Changed to a fully virtual…