Making Plans to Attend
Making Plans to Attend
Register all members of your group on the MLA website.
Make appointments with your representatives. Note that MLA/ITEM do not make the appointments; this is up to the region or to you individually.
Here are some hints for a successful Legislative Day both for you & Minnesota Libraries.
While there is some variation in how each public library region and multitype region handles their Legislative Day delegations, most of the information below applies to all.
Most regional public library systems & multitype library systems help arrange delegations of library advocates to visit the Capitol on Library Legislative Day. The system may make the appointments with the legislators. You can get in touch with your regions to see their plans & join a group. Each region handles this differently. The table at the bottom of this page will give you some information, but contact your region for details. More information specific to regions on page
- Make your appointments in advance of the day. Most legislative offices will ask if you have a constituent in your group, so if you are making appointments for a group, you will need that info. Only one person in the group needs to make the appointment.
- Allow walking time between appointments. The buildings can be confusing if you have never been there!
- If you do not want to go with your system, you are welcome to go on your own, but please follow the message of the current MLA/ITEM platform. Make your appointments directly with the legislators’ offices and tell them you are visiting on behalf of Minnesota libraries.
Please register everyone in your group for Legislative Day. This gives us the info we need for planning for space & breaks.
- The systems will likely have a packet of information for you to leave with the legislator. It will contain copies of the MLA/ITEM Platform, supporting information of various types (bookmarks, Legacy flyers, whatever seems appropriate.) You should bring business cards--yours or the library’s--to add to the packet and/or hand to the legislator. You want to be her/his resource on libraries!
- If you need copies of the MLA/ITEM Platform & other collateral, copies will be at the Briefings or you can find them here. You can add whatever info about libraries you wish--remember to include a business card.
If you were unable to schedule a meeting, you can still drop by the legislator’s office on Legislative Day and talk to a legislative assistant to see if the representative has some time to talk.
If you can’t get a meeting, be sure to leave the information packet--platform & supporting materials--along with a note about libraries & your business card. Be sure they know you are a constituent--you may be asked to sign in with your home address. If you are visiting someone who represents a district where you have a library/branch, indicate that, too.
You can drop by the office of any relevant legislator--one who is on a committee important to libraries, who represents an area where your library is, etc. Introduce yourself to the legislative assistant, leave a packet with a note, & your business card.
Preparing for the Visits
- Read the platform & statements of support before you get there so you know the issues.
- Attend one of the briefings from lobbyist.
- Read the Talking Points related to each of the Platform issues. These are prepared by the stakeholders of that Platform plank and give you the background & understanding of the issues so you can answer questions. These are for you, not for Legislators.
- Read MLA/ITEM Legislative Updates from lobbyist.
- Create your message and collect your stories. It would be best to have a written statement or notes to refer to when you are speaking with your legislator.
- Prepare/rehearse what you want to say. Depending on the session schedules & other factors, chances are you will have about 5-10 minutes with your legislator or an aide. Have your speech ready! You can use the talking points & platform to prepare.
- Inform your group about the message you want to get across. Written handouts that group members can refer to for talking points are helpful.
- Think of a story that shows how libraries transform—how does your region support your work.
- Don't forget the "Ask": "This is what we want you, Senator or Representative, to do for libraries."
- All of the 'leave-behind' material is available online on the Advocacy website. You can pick up copies at the Briefings.