Through our advocacy efforts, the ALA strives to communicate the importance of libraries and librarians to our democratic society, to improve library funding and influence public policy about libraries and information-related issues, to increase public awareness about the role and importance of libraries and library workers in every community, and ultimately, to turn passive support of libraries and librarians into educated action by stakeholders.
The American Library Association has been a leader in literacy and education since its establishment more than a century ago. Through well-established channels for mobilizing libraries and developing community programs, the association has been instrumental in encouraging federal funding and legislation to support libraries as centers for literacy and lifelong learning. ALA provides leadership and support in the form of professional education, legislative advocacy, demonstration projects, public awareness and other activities.
ALA Advocacy Resources
Every person who owns a library card is a part of the library community and has a vested interest in the needs and concerns of America’s libraries. What many patrons may not realize, however, is that becoming involved in library advocacy is a lot easier than it may seem. To help more users effectively educate elected officials on library issues, the American Library Association has built a strong advocacy network that focuses on education, advocacy and advocacy resources. Some tools include:
The Legislative Action Center (LAC)
The LAC is a central location to review updates about federal issues and then immediately fax or e-mail members of Congress to urge them to support libraries. This is an easy way for new and veteran advocates to get
District Dispatch Blog & Podcast
View virtually all vital information from the ALA Washington Office. The District Dispatch is also an archive for past press releases and ALA Washington Office Newsline (ALAWON) e-mails. Those who prefer to listen to updates about federal issues, policy and advocacy on their iPods, in their cars, or on their computers will want to check out the podcast series produced by the Washington Office.
Library Adovcacy Day
Library advocates across the country convene during the ALA Annual Confernce June in Washington, D.C., and meet with their Congressional representatives and speak about the library issues that matter the most.
Virtual Library Legislative Day
Library advocates who cannot make it to D.C. can become part of a coordinated effort called Virtual Legislative Day, where they all phone and write their elected officials on the same day. The topics are similar to Library Advocacy Day.
Webinars and Podcasts
The ALA Washington Office, in conjunction with advocacy expert Stephanie Vance from Advocacy Associates, hosts monthly Webinars on advocacy. Ms. Vance has more than 15 years of experience in Washington, D.C., both as a lobbyist and a Congressional aide, holding positions such as legislative assistant, legislative director and staff director for various members of Congress. Sample topics include “Communicating with Your Member of Congress,” “Building an Effective Grassroots Strategy,” “Grassroots and the Appropriations Process,” and many more exciting and timely topics. This page includes information Webinars on grassroots organizing.