Friday, January 16, 2015

Advocacy for All – Contacting Your Legislator

The strength of our democracy and support for our libraries depends upon citizens getting involved and engaging our legislators and other town, state and federal representatives.  Keep these tips handy when contacting your elected officials.

  • Politicians are primarily interested in the opinions of people who vote for them.  Identify yourself as a constituent.
  • Whether writing or calling, focus on a single topic.  If emailing, put libraries or library legislation specifics in the subject line.
  • Ask the legislator to take specific action, like support budget line items or particular legislation.  Ask for a written response that gives the legislator’s position on the issue.
  • Make your points concisely and quickly to focus their attention and to have greater impact.
  • Use your own words on the issue and use local examples of how the particular action will impact your library and your community.

The Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) makes Capwiz available to all residents of the Commonwealth to simplify contact with legislators.  Capwiz allows you to learn about current legislation and key votes, to set legislative alerts and updates, and to send advocacy messages to key legislators at the state and national levels. Access Capwiz at:
Thanks to MLA for providing Capwiz and to The League of Women Voters for the list of points regarding contacting legislators which we have customized. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Advocacy for All – Libraries in Action

The legislative season is upon us and, with a new administration, it’s a new ball game.  The 2015 Berkshire Library Legislative Breakfast is less than two weeks out. 
8:00 – 9:30 a.m. Friday, January 23 at the Berkshire Community College cafeteria
Please speak with your trustees and Friends to encourage them to attend.  You should have received the invitation / registration forms in delivery a few weeks ago.  In order to plan food and info packets, the Berkshire Breakfast Committee is looking for registrations by January 16, so start contacting supporters today.  There is no cost for the meal.  It is terribly important that we demonstrate to the legislative delegation that there are many “out there” that support our libraries.  Let’s fill the BCC cafeteria!