WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, nearly four hundred library advocates from virtually every state in the nation will gather in Washington, D.C. to advocate for federal support for libraries and library users during the American Library Association’s (ALA) 42nd annual National Library Legislative Day. Attendees plan to meet with their Members of Congress and staff on May 2nd and 3rd to advocate on a broad range of issues, including: federal library funding, copyright, privacy/surveillance and broad public access to information.
Former Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) will open the event by discussing the special importance of library advocacy during an election year. Underscoring that libraries support learning in schools, Rep. Holt will encourage advocates to remind their congressional leaders to think of libraries as trusted institutions at the core of their communities that positively transform lives. Jenny Backus, current president and CEO of Backus Consulting and former senior policy advisor for Google, will lead an interactive discussion of effective advocacy strategies for library leaders. The event will also feature a panel discussion on effective media outreach strategies with: Jason Huffman, Agriculture and Trade editor for PoliticoPro; Darshana Patel, communications consultant for Latitude Worldwide; and Nancy Gravatt, marketing and communications office, Fairfax County Public Library.
During the annual event, the ALA Washington Office also will present Dan Aldridge, a library advocate from Winterville, Ga., with the 2016 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIST) Award. Given to a non-librarian attending National Library Legislative Day, the award covers hotel fees and provides a $300 stipend to help defray the cost of attending the event. Aldridge is the vice president of the Friends of Georgia Libraries. Previously, he served on the board of the Friends of the Braselton Library, where he led efforts to raise funds that allowed the Braselton Library to purchase computers, acquire ebooks, and to bolster its large print book collection.
ALA’s National Library Legislative Day also includes a digital advocacy component called Virtual Library Legislative Day. Library supporters who cannot attend the Washington meetings will have the opportunity to watch a live webstream of Monday’s keynote by Rep. Holt and later policy briefings, as well as to connect virtually with legislators via phone calls, emails and social media platforms. Photos from the event, as well as a media template for library advocates, will be available after it concludes.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, pro¬motion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.