Tips for Library Advocates

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General Tips for Working with Legislators
Writing to Legislators
Meeting with Legislators
Telephoning Legislators

It's Up to You: Advocating for Libraries

In order to become an even stronger voice for Wisconsin libraries, WLA needs the help of many more members. We need your help.

Don't worry if you don't have much political experience. Elected officials want and need to hear from their constituents. Besides, some of the most effective things you can do are the simplest ones. Vote--in both primaries and general elections. Legislators know who votes, and they pay more attention to people who vote than to those who don't.

Keep abreast of legislative issues which affect libraries by reading your mailings from ALA and WLA. Participate with your library colleagues in the WLA's Library Legislative Day (usually held each February). Attend the ALA's Legislative Day. Events like these are a great way to meet your legislators, and you'll have the support of your library colleagues while you do it.

Keep in touch with your elected officials. Write a letter to your legislator indicating your support for the WLA's Legislative Agenda. Cover only one or two issues in each letter, and use your own words. Call or visit your legislator to discuss your concerns about library issues as they arise. Remember that the personal touch is important; use e-mail only if something is urgent, and, if possible, address your e-mail message to the staff person in charge of that particular issue. The next step is to get involved in a campaign, either by giving time or money--or both!

Another option is to invite your public official or legislator to visit your library, particularly when there is some special event going on. They can see how busy you are, and by introducing them to folks present or even arranging for them to say a few words, you can help them score points with their constituents.

More Advocacy Tips

There are many advocacy ideas available to library supporters. Please let us know what you can do. Libraries are a unique and powerful part of a successful democracy, and so is your individual participation in the democratic process. Get involved today!