2010 ALA President's Award for Advocacy, sponsored by ALTAFF
In 2010, the Florida Library Association received the inaugural ALA President's Award for Advocacy, sponsored by ALTAFF, for its work to save state funding.
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.