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Taking your love of the library to the next level!

Have you decided you're ready to be a library advocate? Way to go! There's a few great ways to do that, and they only take a few minutes. 

National Library Legislative Day is May 2-3, 2016. The American Library Association and library advocates will be in Washington, D.C. requesting $186.6 million to fund libraries, full support for programs that protect Net Neutrality and make broadband internet more affordable and accessible, and support for appointing Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress. Here's how you can help:

Write a Letter

You can send a letter to your representatives in Washington, D.C. to let the know that your library matters to your community. You can find the mailing addresses and contact information for our representatives available below or you can visit USA.gov - How to Contact Your Elected Officials or Fontana Regional Library's eGovernment Resources Guide.

If you're not sure what to write, here's a sample letter that you can copy or adapt:

Dear [Representative/Senator],

I’m writing to ask you to support needed funding for libraries.  I am a library user and resident of [Your Town or County], North Carolina. Libraries are essential to our community. The American Library Association is requesting $186.6 million to fund libraries, full support for programs that protect Net Neutrality and make broadband internet more affordable and accessible, and for your support in appointing Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress.  Libraries are vital to our community - it’s where I learned to love reading as a child, and today libraries in our community continue to put books and technology in the hands of children and adults in need.  As your constituent, I urge you to be a champion for libraries by supporting these requests and other recommendations from the ALA!

Thank you so much for your support!

Sincerely
[ Your Name ]

Tips for Letter Writing

  • Know who you are writing to- include their name & title. 
  • Local representatives serve their constituents. Be sure to mention that you are a constituent.
  • Encourage your friends and family to write, too!
  • Explain why the library matters to you and why you feel it is important to your community. 
  • Tell them what you want them to do- ask them to support funding requests and other recommendations made by the ALA. You may also ask them to vote, draft a bill, talk to their colleagues, make a public statement, etc. 

Make a Call

When you call your Senator or Representative, you may be connected to the Congressional Switchboard. Ask for your Senator or Representative by name. You may be asked for your zipcode or address to confirm that you are connected to the correct person. When you call your representative, you'll speak to a member of their staff. These staff members make note of how many calls they receive about particular issues and popular issues are brought to the representatives attentions - so every call counts!

If you're not sure what to say, here's a script you can use or adapt:

Hi, my name is ________ and I am a constituent living in [Lawmaker’s name]’s district.

I am calling to ask [Lawmaker’s name] to be a champion for libraries by supporting increased funding for these important programs. The American Library Association is requesting $186.6 million to fund libraries, full support for programs that protect Net Neutrality and make broadband internet more affordable and accessible, and for your support in appointing Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress.  I urge [Lawmaker’s name] to support this and other recommendations from the ALA!* 

I am a library user and supporter. Libraries are essential to our community. [Lawmaker’s name] must use their leadership to ensure that our public libraries are well-funded and able to meet the needs of our changing world.  

Thank you for taking the time to share my concerns with [Lawmaker’s name].

Tips for Calling

  • Phone calls are one of the most effective ways to demonstrate that you care about libraries. 
  • These calls are very short, usually under a minute, and you'll speak to a staff person. 
  • Even if you can't or don't vote, your representative represents you so it's important to voice your opinion. 

No Matter What You Do- Follow Up

Follow up and see how your government representative took action. 
  • If you like what they've done, let them know! A quick call or note to say "thank you" reinforces how much this issue means to you and your community. 
  • If you're disappointed in their actions (or lack of action), let them know! Again, a quick call or note will remind them that this issue is important. 
  • Remember: Members of Congress and our government representatives are there to represent the people in your community. It is our right and duty to voice our concerns and let them know what is important to us!
You've got everything you need! Go join the fight for libraries!

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