Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Legislative Day: A Guide For Newbies

“Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their libraries.”

The Legislative Day Bus is organized and underwritten by the Friends of WMRLS. Legislative Day is sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) and in recent years MLA joined forces with the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA). The sponsoring organizations pay for the lunch; there is no cost to you or your legislator.

The drill for the day is pretty straightforward.

~ The bus arrives between 10 - 10:30,
~ The rally is at 11.
~ Lunch is at noon,
~ The bus leaves at 2:30.

When we arrive at the State House:
1. Proceed to the General Hooker entrance of the building and go through security.
2. At the Hall of Flags, visit the sign in desk and pick up information packets for legislators. If you've attended a legislative breakfast you will have seen the MBLC Legislative Agenda packet.
3. It is now time to go to visit legislators. A list of legislators and office numbers will be available, and there are plenty of people and signs to help you find your way.

It is not imperative that you make an appointment. Library Legislative Day is a significant recurring event. Legislators and their staff know to expect library visitors. The important thing is to:
• Stop by your legislators’ offices,
• Speak to your legislators. Describe what your library provides for your community, why the Massachusetts Library System and the Central/Western MA Automated Resource Sharing network are important for your library, and why your library is important and necessary for your users. You'll have a few minutes to make a couple of key points on the value of state funding for libraries and to ask for their support. Specific local examples of library use or need are particularly effective.
Invite them to join you for lunch. (The podium will recognize all legislators present at the luncheon.)
If you can’t speak with your legislator or an aide directly, leave your card, an info packet or a note so that they know you were there and what action you would like them to take. These notes and your presence are very important. Our legislators are aware of the commitment we have made to take the day and travel to Boston. Your note, even if your legislator is not available, makes a significant impression.

Join us March 28. It's easy, it's fun, and it benefits our libraries. See Eric's March 7 post for registration details.

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