Hints for a Successful Visit
It's here! You have your appointments made, you have formed delegate groups, you are in St. Paul. Now what?
Attend one of the briefings. There is one the evening before & one the morning of. The information is the same at both: bill numbers, re-enforcing our message, any last minute issues or information, plus an opportunity to ask questions.
- The most important part of the day is your visits with your legislators.
Legislators need to hear from their constituents on what is important to them. We know you think libraries are important and you need to share that with your representatives and ask them for their support! The MLA & ITEM Platform includes these funding requests:
- Increase in funding for Minnesota's regional library systems.
- Creation of a funding pool to expand access to school library media specialists in districts where they do not exist now.
- Maintain funding for Library Legacy programming at the same level as the previous biennial budget.
Hints for a Successful Visit
- Be on time, but understand that your legislator is busy, they might be running late. You might even need to speak while walking with your elected official to another meeting. There is also the possibility that you will have to speak with a member of the staff instead of the legislator. They will carry your message & materials to the legislator.
- 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 don’t have to be a constituent to visit, but they will want to know.
- You may wish to have a designated person to lead the first part of the conversation. This may be that legislator’s constituent. Everyone should introduce themselves.
- Explain why you are here—to ask for their support on our library legislation for budget increases & other issues.
- Take notes in the meeting. You will be hit with a lot of info you will want to share with your colleagues. Note any follow-up you promise.
- Be professional and diplomatic in your conversation.
- Refer to your written notes to ensure you stay on message.
- Listen carefully; try to draw out specific answers to your questions. If a legislator asks you a question you don’t know the answer to, let them know you’ll get back to them (and do so).
- Put the issues in human terms, and be as inclusive as possible, attempting to find common ground if there are disagreements. If possible, bring along citizens or Friends that can speak to the issues & requests.
- Invite the legislator to visit your library and offer to be a contact for library issues.
- When your time is up, thank the legislator for their time.
- Leave your packet of information & business cards.
- End your visit with a thank you and repeating the Ask, “We hope we can count on your support for our requests."
- Take a picture of the group with the legislator. Tweet, Instagram, whatever with the hashtag #MNLibLegDay19. You can have a designated photographer in your group or ask the aide or receptionist.
Find hints for your personal success/comfort on Legislative Day here.