Everyday Advocacy

More Than One Day!

Attending Legislative Day & talking directly to legislators is one of the most meaningful ways to move the library agenda forward, but it’s important that you continue your efforts throughout the year. These tips work for local library issues, too.

Staying Informed

  • Keep up-to-date on the latest issues and trends in library advocacy so that you’re ready to discuss them with legislators, lobbyists, and staff members.
  • Read MLA/ITEM Legislative Updates from the lobbyist & the other information in the Legislative Update Newsletter.

Attend Your Precinct Caucus

Minnesota operates on a precinct caucus system. Caucuses are organized and run by the political parties. Going to a caucus is a great way to show support for a candidate, raise an issue that’s important to you, influence who the party will endorse for many offices, and meet people in your community. While there may not be library issues discussed at the caucus, you can meet the candidates/incumbents. Learn more here.

Things to know about the caucuses:

  • To participate, you must be eligible to vote in the November 2020 general election and live in the precinct. You also must generally agree with the principles of the political party hosting the caucus.
  • The caucuses are the first in a series of meetings where parties may endorse candidates, select delegates, and set goals and values (called party platforms).
  • Depending on the year, you will vote for who you want to be the party's nominee for Governor & other Constitutional Offices. There may be other candidates seeking endorsement.
  • Precinct caucuses will be held February 25, 2020, one week before the Presidential Nomination Primary. Use the Secretary of State's Precinct Caucus Finder.

You can learn more about Elections & Voting on the Secretary of State web site.

Everyday Advocacy

Grassroots work is not only effective but also a good way to involve coworkers, friends, and others who may be interested in library advocacy but unable or unwilling to advocate in person. Here are some tips and tricks for making the most of calls and emails or letters.

Letter writing/emailing

General Tips

  • Make your communication as personal as possible, which will be more effective than a form letter.
  • If you are pressed for time, call with your message. Email is also an effective method of communicating with your legislator, but make sure you check with his/her website to see if there is a specific form that needs to be filled out. Email sent to a legislator’s email may be filtered as spam, so it is best to check the website for details.
  • Snail mail is acceptable, but if you are pressed for time, it may not be the best method of communication.
  • Be respectful and polite.
  • Be concise, specific, and support your argument with facts that can be verified.
  • Stay on message and keep to your main points.
  • Thank him/her for their time.

How to write a letter about:

School libraries

Systems support

Minitex

Academic libraries

Other

Phone calls

  • Don’t expect to speak to your legislator directly. Phones are often answered by staff who are responsible for taking messages, which are then passed along to your legislator.
  • Be prepared with a written statement that will help you stay focused and on message.
  • “Talking libraries”—what is my local, regional, state level elevator speech about how libraries are important in my community
  • Follow the same general guidelines as listed above for writing a letter or email.