FLA wins inaugural ALA Presidential Award for Advocacy, sponsored by ALTAFF

Contact: Jillian Kalonick
Marketing/Public Relations Specialist
ALTAFF
312-280-2161
jkalonick@ala.org

NEWS
For Immediate Release
Dec. 7, 2009

PHILADELPHIA – The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), announces, in cooperation with ALA President Camila Alire and President-Elect Roberta Stevens, that the Florida Library Association (FLA) is the first recipient of a new ALA Presidential Award for Advocacy, sponsored by ALTAFF.

FLA received the award for its work to save state funding in 2009. The ALA Presidential Award for Advocacy includes $1,500 to the winning state campaign for the further development of citizens across the state as advocates.

In 2009, under strong pressure to reduce the overall state budget, the Florida state house appropriations committee decided to zero out funding for libraries altogether. The state senate appropriations committee followed suit. The only hope for reinstating funding was a 72-hour “cooling off” period before any decisions were official. During that 72 hours, FLA crafted messages and asked that their members contact their Friends and Trustees to make calls and e-mail their representatives. They also urged members to use Capwiz, an online legislation and advocacy tool, to contact their representatives, using the message and talking points developed. FLA worked with a public relations firm to get the word out about the pending elimination of state aid to library. Thanks to this immediate campaign, as well as its ongoing public awareness campaign, the FLA’s advocacy resulted in the reinstatement of the state’s library funding.

Statewide advocacy efforts are being seen across the country. Several states have been hit with deep cuts to their libraries. Despite the high value state libraries render to local libraries, many have faced cuts or been threatened with closure. Strong grassroots efforts by librarians, Friends, Trustees, and library patrons can help to ensure that state legislators understand the major impact that state budgets have on libraries at the local level.

The 2010 ALA Presidential Award for Advocacy winner, the Florida Library Association, will be recognized at the Opening General Session of the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The deadline for applications for the 2011 award will be Dec. 15, 2010. The winning statewide effort will be determined based on use of Capwiz (or a similar e-mail campaign) as a way for all library supporters to contact state legislators en masse, the level of success achieved (whether reducing the size of a cut, or increasing funds for state libraries), and the level of engagement by citizen supporters of libraries. For more information on taking action for libraries in your state using Capwiz, visit http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/offices/cro/getinvolved/takeactionforlibraries.cfm.

ALTAFF is a division of ALA with approximately 5,000 Friends of the Library, Trustee, Foundation and individual members and affiliates representing hundreds of thousands of library supporters. Begun in early 2009 with the merger of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. (FOLUSA) and ALTA, the new division brings together Trustees and Friends into a partnership that unites the voices of citizens who support libraries to create a powerful force for libraries in the 21st Century. For more information about ALTAFF, please contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or jkalonick@ala.org.