One of the charges of CALL’s Government Relations Committee includes monitoring other associations and their advocacy work and, from time to time, informing CALL’s membership of those activities. In this column, rather than focus on a specific issue, let’s take some time to look at some of the advocacy resources provided by some of these associations, specifically AALL and ALA.
The main advocacy page for AALL’s Government Relations Committee has a right-hand menu that includes items related to specific issues as well as tools for more effective advocacy (see “Advocacy Toolkit”). The Advocacy Toolkit page includes a description of the issues that the Committee focuses on, at both the state and federal levels. Separate pages exist for calls to action at the federal level and for current issues in the states. For instance, AALL is currently advocating for the legislative branch appropriations bill to increase funding for the Library of Congress, as well as for two bills that would update FOIA. There are also templates, such as for writing an op-ed piece for your local newspaper, or for making an elevator pitch. The toolkit includes suggestions for interacting with Members of Congress, your state legislators, and the media, plus an FAQ on advocacy with regard to legislators and who can speak for AALL.
Finally, the AALL Government Relations Committee provides access to historical materials, including formal statements, issue briefs and reports, letters, and testimony, among other items.
The American Library Association also has a dedicated advocacy page. From here, users can get federal legislative information related to libraries and get to a “Take Action for Libraries” page that links to individual state library association advocacy pages. The ALA also hosts a collection of online resources for advocacy (and other topics, as well). Somewhat unfortunately, however, these are spread over four pages and are arranged alphabetically by title, so finding a relevant one takes a little bit of work.
ALA also provides what they term an “Advocacy University.” More similar to AALL’s Advocacy Toolkit, the “university” arranges its advocacy resources by topic (such as “working with elected officials”), by user group (e.g., academic vs. public, etc.), and by specific challenge (for instance, not enough time, or getting people to listen). Under the challenges section, there are case studies, including topics as discrete as “Holding a Legislative Breakfast.” Users can also download the Library Advocate’s Handbook.
Whether you actively serve on a government relations committee, or would just like to add your voice to the chorus on particular issues, remember the advocacy resources our organizations make available to help to make your voice as effective as possible.