In order to get some clarity on what our congressional delegation needs from the New Hampshire Library community as far as evidence of the value of libraries to our communities, I have spoken with the Congressional staff in Washington. We have worked with the staff of Senator Shaheen’s office and with Representatives Kuster and Shea-Porter for many years. We have established contacts with Senator Hassan’s office; I have spoken with Brittney Weaver, Senator Hassan’s Legislative Assistant, about the catastrophic effect the loss of federal funds would have on New Hampshire libraries and of course, more importantly, the direct impact on New Hampshire residents. We are in a somewhat unusual situation in that we do not have to persuade our delegation of the importance of these federal agencies; Endowment for the Arts, Endowment for the Humanities; the Institute for Museum and Library Services and the Parks Service. My hope is that we can help to develop the narrative of why these federal agencies are important to our citizen and that our representatives can share these stories with their colleagues.
I am sending information to the contacts we have The goal is obviously to establish a dialogue– they ask us for information they need and we supply it as quickly and completely as possible.
I think it is important to remember that the Federal Government has been under a Continuing Resolution (CR) since President Obama signed it in 2012 for FY 2013; we do not have a current Federal Budget. In New Hampshire we call this a default budget it keeps the lights on but it is tough to plan for the future. Everyone should continue to stay informed about what is taking place in Washington. And when our Congressional Delegation is in New Hampshire ( which is often), seek them out and let them know that you are concerned about funding for libraries. They are all very busy running two complicated operations 500 miles apart, so it will be a challenge to get them to your library but if you have a program that they might enjoy invite them you might be surprised. And a celebrity always sparks things up. If you have any questions or suggestions please contact me.