National Library Legislative Day

May 7-8, 2018

Liaison Hotel, Washington D.C.

This two-day advocacy event brings hundreds of librarians, trustees, library supporters, and patrons to Washington, D.C. to meet with their Members of Congress to rally support for policies for all types of libraries. Participants will receive advocacy tips and training, along with important issue briefings prior to their meetings.

Registration is now closed, but you can still participate virtually!

The Liaison Hotel is fully booked, click here to find other hotels in the area.

One year ago, the White House proposed eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and slashed millions of dollars in federal funding for libraries. Twelve months and tireless advocacy efforts later, ALA advocates have helped libraries:

  1. $9 million more for IMLS than it had in FY 2017, including $5.7 million for the Library Services and Technology Act.
  2. restore $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
  3. provide $350 million for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Congress also appropriated an unexpected $700 million for Title IV education programs, which opens doors to new funding for school libraries. (For a more detailed look at federal library programs, view our FY2018 library appropriations snapshot.)
As most of you know LSTA funding is essential to New York State as these funds help to support the State Library, the Division of Library Development and the NOVELny program. NLLD is an opportunity for us to let our legislators know the importance and value of libraries and how essential federal funding is for New York libraries.

Take Your Advocacy Skills to the Next Level

What is it?
National Library Legislative Day is a two-day advocacy training event held in Washington, D.C. every year. Attendees spend one day learning effective advocacy techniques and learning about key library issues, like funding or net neutrality, and have the opportunity to attend a reception on Capitol Hill. Armed with talking points, attendees spend day two with their state delegations, meeting with elected officials and telling them about the importance of libraries in their communities.

When is it?
May 7-8, 2018, at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Who can attend?
This event is open to the public and anyone who wants to support libraries is welcome to attend. Whether you've been advocating for two days or twenty years, you have something important to contribute. But sign up soon - we have a limited amount of space each year and it fills up quickly!

How do I sign up?
Visit the event page to register online. Registration this year is $75 and includes a continental breakfast, entry into a reception held on Capitol Hill, and a folder full of briefing materials, talking points, and information.

What if I can't make it to D.C.?
You can still participate from home! Register now, and on May 7th we'll send you everything you need to call or email your elected officials. That includes a link to a live briefing and update session, talking points and email templates, and other tips for reaching out to your Senators and Representatives.

To learn more about the event, check out our FAQ page or reach out to Lisa Lindle at if you have any questions!

The Pre-Fly In Checklist: Archive Now Available

The "Pre-Fly In Checklist" webinar, hosted last week by the Congressional Management Foundation (CMF), is now available in the CMF archive. This video will be available to all National Library Legislative Day 2018 participants until May 7, 2018. This presentation walks participants through a step-by-step preparation for meeting with Congress and their staff, and includes:

  1. How to research legislators before a visit;
  2. Identifying and mapping your library's “economic footprint” to demonstrate its impact in the community; and
  3. Creating personal stories that connect issues facing libraries to public policy.

Click here to access the webinar.

Join the New York Delegation!

Photo Credit: Adam Mason

What should a delegate expect?
The ALA Washington Office (WO) arranges the event hotel and meeting spaces, sets the legislative agenda, develops the briefing documents documents (take a look at last year’s documents), invites the presenters for Monday’s briefing session and arranges a Congressional Reception. First time delegates may participate in an advocacy training sessions on the Sunday afternoon, usually at the WO offices.

How should delegates prepare?
Delegates need to familiarize themselves with the issues that will be on the legislative agenda and be prepared to share local stories about how these issues may affect the residents in their communities.

The Representatives’ web pages are similar in terms of their layout, with tabs that include “about” biographical and District information; “services” available from their local constituency offices; “newsroom” with links to articles, press releases, etc.; “legislation” including Bills sponsored, voting record and committee memberships; “issues” which provides background resources for issues that are of interest to the Representative.

All of this information is very valuable in better understand your Representative and help you to tell your library’s story in a manner that will be of most effective. For example, if your Representative is interested in health care issues, perhaps you can emphasize the wellness sessions your library offers or highlight the consumer health information available at your library.

The WO hosts a Briefing on Monday (legislator visit is on Tuesday) which is very useful in that it provides the delegates with up to the minute information about the status of legislation we will be addressing and talking points we can use.

Is there a list of the Representatives the delegation will be meeting and a schedule for the NYS delegates to review in advance?
Each delegate is responsible for setting up appointments with their Representative and coordinating with other delegates who share the same Representative.

Who leads the discussions at the meetings for the NYS delegation?
The NYS Coordinator provides an overview for the meeting with the Senators and then others are called on for their knowledge/experience.

The entire delegation usually visits our Senators. Meetings with Representatives are usually attended by those who live within the constituency; although occasionally one or more delegates may be free to join the meeting to provide support.

How can the delegates support the discussion effectively?
By providing local stories about successes and how particular legislation may affect their community.

Do you have NY bullet points ready?
The State Librarian, Bernard A. Margolis and the staff at the Division of Library Development (DLD) usually prepare the NYS briefing documents.

Who follows up with the legislators after the visits?
Each delegate is responsible for sending a follow-up letter to the legislators they met.

What is the expected protocol?
The meetings are fairly informal. If you have participated in meetings with our state legislators you will find the experience in Washington to be very similar.