The very best time for library supporters to influence their legislators is before the start of the legislative session. So instead of a Legislative Day in February the Kansas Library Association and Regional Library Systems are promoting November 2010 as Library Legislative Month. That means that we would like to ask every NEKLS library to speak with their State Senators and Representatives at least once in November, after the election, and well before the Christmas holiday season and the start of the legislative session. If you only make one contact with your legislators – and of course we hope you make more than one – please take the time to do that in November. That contact can take many forms:
- A visit to your library at which you talk about your library’s heavy use and the challenge of operating with reduced state funding. If you do this make sure you take a picture of the legislator (possibly reading at children’s story hour), provide a copy of the photo the legislator and make every effort to get it into the local newspaper.
- Coffee or other social visit outside of the library at a location most convenient to the legislator.
- Arranging a gathering with neighboring libraries to invite legislators to speak about the upcoming legislative session and hear your concerns.
- A phone call or personal note to the legislator.
The Kansas Library Association will be providing a “push card” with information to share with legislators early in November. The two legislative priorities are:
- Support for the State Library’s “enhancement budget request” that includes restoration of funds cut from State aid to libraries, the Interlibrary Loan Development Program, and Talking Books services during the past two years.
- Continued funding of Kan-ed from the Kansas Universal Service Fund.
NEKLS will be sending out more information about this in the near future, but I hope libraries will start planning now for November advocacy with state legislators.