Can New Hampshire Libraries lead the way in garnering Congressional support for libraries?
Here is a chance for library staff, trustees, Friends, volunteers and patrons to tell Congress how important libraries are in New Hampshire. First, the ALA has asked for our help before April 1 (http://www.districtdispatch.org/2017/03/house-library-champions-release-fy18-dear-appropriator-letters/) asking Congressional House members to sign the FY18 appropriation letters. (Senators will be asked later) Ask all your stakeholders and then friends and family across the state and the country to speak out as well.
Then get involved for the long haul…
As you know, the White House budget that was released last week calls for eliminating the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. You have likely also seen State Librarian Michael York’s letter concerning our NH delegation in Washington. So what is the most effective way to get and stay involved and aware of what is happening over the long period between now and a final budget?
Here’s what you can do right now:
1. Sign up via this web page to receive updates on the #SaveIMLS effort
2. Become informed! When the opportunity to speak to friends, family, neighbors and other local stakeholder arrives, know what you need to about IMLS and its work with libraries, here in NH and across the nation.
–Visit https://www.imls.gov/grants/grants-states to learn about the money sent to each state.
–Take a look the interesting map showing where IMLS monies have been going recently – look at NH and then share with others.
3. Gather stories and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will collate and have them for our Legislative Day visits and beyond. Consider our audience: how has your library changed lives? In addition to numbers, gather and share stories about job hunters, “new Americans”, entrepreneurs, career changers, career explorers and others. Topics that resonate with elected officials include things that save money or make solid investments in education and jobs. Youth literacy is another talking point and anything helping to keep young people in school, through high school and beyond. Please ask permission to use a name and town to personalize where possible.
4. A handwritten letter or a phone call has twice the value of an email. Now that you are informed and have some stories, you are ready to contact representatives as the occasion appears. Put your representatives in your Contacts. Do you know how to reach your Representative and our Senators? Save email, phone and addresses:
5. Like, if you have not already, IMLS, ALA and PLA on Facebook
6. If you are a regular Twitter user, follow our NH delegation on Twitter and encourage others to do so: Here are the Twitter handles for US Senators and Representatives
Our Senators and Representatives are good at updating on Twitter. And while our delegation may not necessarily need a lot of pushing, making our voices heard is a good tradition and will be shared out to other states for their members of Congress to see.
If you wish to tweet yourself, please be clear, brief and focused. Here are some samples:
Students depend on libraries to succeed in school & prep for jobs. Say no to cutting the Institute of Museum & Library Services
Job seekers depend on libraries for internet access and research. Say no to cutting the Institute of Museum & Library Services
NH residents depend on access to research databases. Say no to cutting the Institute of Museum & Library Services
7. Talk with local media – perhaps you or a trustee can write a letter to the editor. Tie an advocacy message to a library program and get a two-for-one with your local media.
Youth/Teen and school librarians specifically:
–Want to take further action to support teens and libraries? Check out the free online resources YALSA offers.
–Use the sample messages in this document to contact the offices of your members of Congress
–Use the resources on YALSA’s wiki
We will post appropriate resources, news and stories to the NHLA website so stay tuned, stay informed and keep advocating.
Questions? Please feel free to contact me, NHLA President Marilyn Borgendale or Legislative Committee Chair Randy Brough.
Christine Friese, Chair, Advocacy Committee