Thank You for Attending Library Legislative Day

Posted by Brigitte Rupp Vacha on Monday, February 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Library Legislative Day draws record attendance, many new faces 

The Wisconsin Library Association partnered with the Wisconsin Educational Media & Technology Association to host Library Legislative Day on Tuesday, February 11, at the Best Western Inn on the Park in Madison. 

The registered attendance of 166 was an all-time high, including citizen and professional representation from all types of libraries and 45 individuals who participated in the event for the first time.  

A lively and informative morning program prepared library advocates for a memorable and productive day of meetings with legislators and legislative staff members.  All 132 legislators were either favored with an in-person visit on February 11 or contacted by colleagues and constituents within their districts. 

An address by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers kicked off the day’s activities.  Superintendent Evers highlighted the recent announcement of a library fiber upgrade. Funding for the fiber project comes from the federal E-rate program administered through Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH) program by the Department of Administration.  More information is available here, including a preliminary list of sites. 

This year’s Assembly speaker was 34th District Representative Rob Swearingen (R-Rhinelander) who chairs the Speaker’s Task force on Rural Schools.   Rep. Swearingen recognized the tremendous contrast between the libraries of his childhood and 21st century library technology and services. He drew on his capitol lobbying day experiences as a small business owner in the restaurant and hospitality industry as well as his new perspective from behind a legislators’ desk to offer insightful advice and encouragement.  

Speaking from the Senate side of the capitol was 32nd District Senator Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) who is the ranking Democratic Party member of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance.  Sen. Shilling shared her family’s appreciation of the value of libraries and affirmed her steadfast commitment to broadband expansion as a critical infrastructure priority, particular in rural Wisconsin. She presented practical tips for better communication and relationship building with legislators. 

The morning’s briefing session was conducted by WLA lobbyist Tony Driessen (DeWitt, Ross & Stevens), WEMTA lobbyist Michael Blumenfeld (Blumenfeld Associates), and WLA Library Development and Legislation (LD&L) Committee co-chairs Kathy Pletcher and Kris Adams Wendt.  

LD&L goals for 2014 include more active year around contact and relationship building with legislators within their districts, and establishing WLA as a clearing house for legislative proposals with library impact.  LD&L seeks to enhance WLA’s visibility as the place that our own members, as well as local officials and legislators go to find solutions to concerns that may arise at the local level.

Did you miss attending the best Library Legislative Day ever?  You can still participate!  Send a friendly note to your Senator and Representative inviting them to visit your library, hold a listening session, attend a program or simply invite them to soak up library awesomeness from a forwarded brochure or program flyer.

TOOLS:

 Who are my legislators? 

Senators’ home pages 

Senate email directory (including the names of Senate staff members)

Assembly Representatives’ home pages 

Assembly email directory (includes the names of Assembly staff members)

 

 

 

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