What Is Library Legislative Day?
Each year at the beginning of the new legislative session, MLA & ITEM invite members and library supporters from across Minnesota to head to St. Paul for the annual statewide library advocacy event to meet with elected officials in their offices in at The Capitol. We need to see supporters from across the state to voice their experience with libraries and the need to keep Minnesota libraries strong. See below for information on current & previous Legislative Days.
Activities begin the afternoon before the 'big day' with a briefing from the lobbyist on the current issues. This is a time to hear the current situation at the legislature, hear overviews of any library bills or bills that affect libraries, meet other advocates, and ask questions. This verbal report will get you motivated and prepared to speak with your representatives.Documents that list the bill numbers, copies of the current Platform, supporting documents such as white papers are available at the Briefing.
The briefing repeats at 9am on the following day. Since 2018, the briefing has been in L'Etoile du Nord in the basement of the Capitol, but watch for the current location. Following the 9am briefing is our major in-person advocacy day. Contact your regional library system for information on scheduling an in-person appointment with your officials. Help us show our elected officials just how much Minnesotans value their libraries!
Can't make it to the Capitol? You can still participate the entire week of Library Legislative Day through Virtual Legislative Week. Reach out to your legislators by phone, email, mail, Twitter, or other means all week long. Even if you do go to The Capitol, keep in touch the rest of the week! The Minnesota Advocacy website has sample tweets, letter templates, email samples, and other suggestions how to reach out. Learn about Virtual Library Legislative Week.
Why should I participate in Library Legislative Day & Library Legislative Week?
Deliver the message about Libraries.
It is important that legislators hear how your library helps people as they learn & play and how library systems help libraries by providing services & infrastructure. School, public, academic, and special libraries all play important roles in their communities especially in difficult economic times. Systems help local libraries serve their users.
Build & strengthen relationships.
Your meetings on Legislative Day are important because they lay the groundwork for future contact with your representatives. You want your legislator to come to you with questions about the needs of your library.
Raise our profile.
When many people gather for a single purpose, we send a strong, visible message to our representatives. Minnesotans rely on their Libraries!
Learn new things.
At the briefing you will learn about legislative activity or legislation affecting libraries to help you prepare for your meetings with legislators later in the day. It is likely you will learn other things, too, from other people there.
Send an important message.
Libraries play a vital role in democratic societies by protecting free and open access to information. The message about intellectual freedom is important for all to hear.
Meet new people & have fun.
Library Legislative Day is hectic and the day can be packed with meetings (and walking). Still, take time to meet other library people there for the same purpose. It is a great experience—see you in St. Paul!