Communicating with Legislators

How to find and contact your Minnesota Senator or Representative

  1. Visit the Who Represents Me website.

  2. Enter in your home address.

  3. Click on your Minnesota Senator or Representative, which will bring you to their webpage.

  4. On your Senator or Representative webpage, look for contact information.

Calling:

Plan to call your Legislator to ask for their support of Minnesota libraries? Here's a template to use as a starting point.

Hello, my name is ____________________. As a voter in your district, I’m calling to ask the [NAME OF Senator/Representative] to support library legislation this session.

I [use/work at] the BLANK library [Share a story about how your library makes a difference in your life. If you are library staff, share a story about how libraries/library systems make a difference in your community]

Libraries are just as relevant today as they have always been; students and Minnesotans of all ages use their libraries at a high rate. But while the demand and costs for library services have grown, state funding hasn't kept pace.

Please support library legislation as it is introduced this session. Specific bills introduced include [HF XXXX or SF XXXX Or you can choose to omit bill references.]

Thank you for your time.

Other Tips

  • If you are apprehensive about calling on the phone, consider leaving a voicemail after hours for your legislator.

  • 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. What is your elevator speech about how libraries are important in your community?

  • Make your communication as personal as possible (share how you use a library service, for example)

  • When you call, it’s best to advocate for a specific issue or bill, and particularly if that issue or bill is under consideration in one of the committees where your legislator is a member.

    • Review the MLA/ITEM legislative priorities and documents on specific issues of interest.

  • 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 them for their time.

Email

Download the following email template, customize, and send to your Minnesota Senator or Representative. Any text in brackets is either a note and should be removed before sending, or a section that should be edited by you, the writer. Each letter references bill numbers if they exist.

Other Tips

  • Subject line matters.

  • Make your communication as personal as possible.

  • Be respectful and polite.

  • Stay on message and keep to your main points. LESS IS MORE.

  • Don't forget the "Ask": "This is what we want you, Senator or Representative, to do for libraries."

    • If you're emailing to set up a virtual meeting, "I am asking for 15 minutes on your calendar to discuss library legislation." Save the details for the virtual meeting.

  • Thank them for their time.