On Capitol Hill
A growing number of issues that relate to libraries and information access are being addressed at the national level. In addition to funding, these include confidentiality of library users, copyright, access to government information and freedom of information.
ALA maintains an Office of Government Relations and an Office for Information Technology Policy in Washington, D.C., to monitor issues related to libraries and information access and to help educate legislators.
Check out the Take Action Web site to learn about federal issues that are important to libraries, to contact your representatives and senators, and track federal library legislation.
Each May ALA sponsors a National Library Legislative Day with the District of Columbia Library Association in Washington. The event, which includes a briefing on current issues, provides an opportunity for library advocates to meet with their representatives and senators.
To receive timely updates and action alerts on national issues, subscribe to the electronic newsletter ALAWON.
Rules for effective communication
The ALA Office of Government Relations offers the following guidelines when communicating with legislators.
- Be brief. A legislator’s time is limited. Be on time. Keep it short.
- Be appreciative. Acknowledge past support and convey thanks for current actions.
- Be specific. Refer to local library and district needs.
- Be informative. Give reasons why a measure should be supported.
- Be courteous. Be positive and polite. Ask for a specific action or support. Do not demand or threaten.
Forms of Address
For names, e-mail addresses and background information, see the ALA Legislative Action Center.
The Honorable ________________(full name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable _________________(full name)
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Senator/Representative ________:
Governors and Lieutenant Governors
The Honorable ___________________
Office of the Governor (Lt. Governor)
The Honorable ______________
Board of Education/Regents
Address members by their names and include titles such as Dr./Mrs./Ms.