ACRL Legislative Advocates

Are you interested in federal legislation and policy affecting libraries? Are you connected in your campus community? Are you willing to work with your members of Congress for change?

ACRL needs you!

Become an ACRL Legislative Advocate. To supplement the existing ACRL Legislative Network, ACRL is expanding its group of Legislative Advocates. Recognizing that not all ACRL members are active in their local chapters, we are directly recruiting legislative advocates, in an effort to complement the good work the chapter networks and the Chapter Legislative Coordinators are doing. Legislative Advocates will work as possible with other library legislative efforts in the state or region.

Selection as a Legislative Advocate is not automatic: those qualified will be selected to serve their profession with a two-year term, which may be renewed upon review by the Government Relations Committee. Legislative Advocates will be recognized and honored on the ACRL web site, annually in C&RL News, and during ALA National Library Legislative Day activities.To hear about what it means to be an ACRL Legislative Advocate:

  • Listen to Jonathan Miller, Director of Olin Library at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, talk about his experience as one of the inaugural group of ACRL Legislative Advocates.
  • Read the profile of Aaron Dobbs, Systems & Electronic Resources/Web Librarian at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and ACRL Legislative Advocate.
  • Listen to ACRL Government Relations Chair W. Lee Hisle discuss the ACRL Legislative Advocate program when it was first launched in March 2007.  

Roster of Current ACRL Legislative Advocates

Qualifications and responsibilities:

To qualify as an ACRL Legislative Advocate, each person will agree to take on a set of responsibilities that further ACRL’s legislative advocacy goals. Specifically each advocate is expected to:

  1. Become familiar with major legislative issues of importance to ACRL, as outlined in the ACRL legislative agenda, which is updated annually.
  2. Establish relationships with the staff of the two senators from his or her state, as well as the staff of his or her local US representative.
  3. Visit the in-state offices and, as possible, the Washington offices of his or her senators and legislator.
  4. Communicate by email, phone, or written communication to the senators and the local representative on selected issues of importance, three or four per year, that are identified by the ACRL Government Relations Specialist.
  5. Develop relationships with president, provost, members of the faculty, and other members of the academy who may be advocates for library issues.
  6. As needed, attend an advocacy training workshop, one time, either virtual or face-to-face at either ALA midwinter or annual meeting.
  7. Attend an annual briefing on legislative issues that will be held in conjunction with either the ALA midwinter or annual meeting or provided virtually.
  8. Be available for consultation by the ACRL office and/or the ALA Washington Office on issues important to higher education and academic libraries.
  9. Work with the Chapter Legislative Coordinator for the local ACRL chapter on advocacy issues.
  10. Complete semi-annual and annual reports to ACRL on advocacy activities.
  11. Maintain membership in ALA and ACRL.

Benefits to you:

  1. Demonstrate service to the profession by promoting a policy climate favorable to academic/research libraries and higher education.
  2. Deepen your relationships with campus administrators and faculty.
  3. Be recognized in your community as a leader and progressive partner in advancing support for teaching, learning, and research at the national level.
  4. Support personally one of ACRL's state priorities.

Expectations, in brief:

  1. Attendance not required at ALA Midwinter and Annual.
  2. Visits to D.C. not required.  (In fact, visiting the local district office or inviting legislators to campus can be even more effective.)
  3. Legislative Advocates are not expected to be active on every issue, but can choose those that are in their area of expertise/interest.
  4. Estimated time commitment 2-3 hours per month.

Apply to become an ACRL Legislative Advocate.  To apply, please fill out the ACRL Legislative Advocates form.

(Note: To ensure we successfully receive your application, we advise you to open this application form in Internet Explorer (copy and paste above link as needed). You must have Adobe Reader 9 on your computer to save and submit the form. If you do not, click here to download the latest version of Adobe.  Once you have completed the application form, please save and submit as an email attachment to ACRL's senior strategist for special initiatives Kara Malenfant.)