MALF's 2017 National Library Legislative Day Recap

vote_button_rgb.pngAn eight-member delegation from Minnesota joined 500 other library advocates from across the country earlier this month for the 43rd National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). Coordinated by the ALA’s Washington Office, the annual D.C. advocacy event drew its highest attendance in over a decade – a fact tied to the precarious federal funding climate. Keith Michael Fiels, executive director of the American Library Association, put it best: “Libraries are facing the challenge of a lifetime, if this [IMLS] funding can be done away with at the stroke of a pen. This is the time when the rubber hits the road.”

MALF president Judy Schotzko, secretary Nancy Guerino, and former president Carol Walsh formed the Friends of the Library contingent of this year’s Minnesota delegation. In addition to Fiels, they heard the Director of the ACLU’s National Security Project give an inspiring keynote, plus a number of panels, including:

Democracy Dies in Darkness: A look into how news bureaus' editorial staff determine what stories and opinions to run, followed by insights in how libraries can forge good relations with local press outlets.

The Political Dance: How to leverage social channels and traditional media to 'navigate the new abnormal in Washington.'

Speaking Truth to Power: How to leap beyond mere 'facts and figures' to make a compelling advocacy case.

Libraries Ready to Code: A panel discussion on coding and other STEM topics in libraries.

As useful as these panel offerings were, the true “meat” of NLLD occurred on Day 2. Attendees visited the offices of Minnesota’s congressmen and women. Judy, Nancy and Carol shared issues of greatest import to Minnesota library users: funding (including IMLS and LSTA funding), broadband access, and more.

MALF, through active organizational membership, represents nearly 20,000 Friends of the Library in all eight congressional districts. Legislators and their aides are always quick to jot down that number, which is indicative of our State’s abiding love for public libraries.

You can read more recaps – and even start planning for NLLD 2018! – by visiting ala.org/advocacy.