Legislation and Policy

To increase ACRL's visibility and influence in the arena of higher education policy development and legislation, the ACRL Government Relations Committee (in consultation with the ACRL Board and staff) takes a direct and active role in formulating the ACRL legislative agenda including objectives for legislative action at the national level on issues which may affect the welfare of academic and research libraries. Find out more below:

ACRL Legislative Agenda 2017

Tips for Communicating with Legislators

Selected Sites & Resources

ACRL Legislative Agenda 2017   

Printable PDF of the legislative agenda


ACRL’s annual Legislative Agenda lists objectives for legislative action at the national level on issues that affect the welfare of academic and research libraries. This document is issued each spring, prior to National Library Legislative Day, and focuses on issues that the U.S. Congress has recently taken action on, or will act on in the year ahead. ACRL is active in advocating for policy and legislation through the ALA Washington Office, as well as through coalition work with groups such as the Open Access Working Group and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA). The following list is in priority order and includes the issues upon which ACRL will focus in 2017:

  1. Federal Funding for Libraries
  2. Network Neutrality
  3. Access to Federally Funded Research
  4. Privacy and Government Surveillance

Tips for Communicating with Legislators   

Lobbying to win the support of legislators is part of our great democratic tradition. Smart legislative advocates know which lawmakers are most important. They also know the names of those who are in a position to influence the legislator. The most important person to any elected official is a voting constituent. Other influential people are: campaign donors, civic and business leaders, editors of local media, friends or family member and others whom they know and trust.

To be effective, library advocates must present themselves as credible, knowledgeable and articulate. They must have a working knowledge of the political process and their role in it.

Whether you do it in person, by phone, e-mail or letter, communication is the key to building good relationships with your legislators—not just when library funding comes up for a vote, but on a regular basis. But don’t wait for a crisis. Find out more about being an effective advocate in these advocacy and policy resources:

Selected Sites & Resources   

ALA Washington Office
ALA's Legislative Action Center
ACRL's Scholarly Communication Page

The American Association of Law Libraries: Washington Affairs Online
The Association of Research Libraries: Federal Relations and Information Policy

Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)

Library of Congress
LIS News: Library and Information Science News

Educause: Policy Initiatives
GPO Access: Official Federal Government Information at Your Fingertips
Thomas: Legislative Information on the Web

The United States House of Representatives

The United States Senate
The White House
Supreme Court of the United States