Chapter Advocacy Exchange

Webinars to Share Ideas, Best Practices and Resources for State and Local Advocacy Efforts

Join us for free, one-hour webinars to be presented regularly by the ALA Chapter Relations Office and the ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office. Presentations are recorded and made available after the scheduled event; please note that the discussion portion of the webinar is no longer recorded and will be accessible exclusively by attendees.

Upcoming Webinars

Stay tuned for a lineup of 2022 exchanges.

Webinar Recordings


December 15, 2021: "Looking Ahead: State Legislatures in 2022."  We have not yet closed the books on 2021 but, already, state legislative activity is ramping up for 2022. How is your state association preparing? Hear from colleagues in 3 states about their legislative priorities, plans for engagement with state legislators, and efforts to prepare library advocates for the upcoming year. We’ll also share news about ALA’s follow-up to the October legislative summit. We are pleased to be joined by Erin MacFarlane, Legislative Chair for the Arizona Library Association, Diane Foote, Executive Director of the Illinois Library Association, and Juliet Machie, Executive Director of the New Jersey Library Association. 

October 13, 2021: "E-Books for All: from National Advocacy to State Policy." In fall 2019, ALA launched a national advocacy campaign in response to Macmillan Publishers’ action to limit purchases of eBooks by libraries. Since then, the issue of access to digital content has grabbed the attention of policymakers at all levels of government, particularly in light of increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2021, the first state eBooks bills passed out of their respective legislatures, led by Maryland, and with more queued in other states. Hear how library advocates have shepherded those bills, and consider implications for ongoing state and federal efforts to ensure that libraries can provide access to digital content their communities demand. 

May 5, 2021: "Build America’s Libraries Act: States Advocate for Library Infrastructure." Since the Chapters’ briefing on the Build America’s Libraries Act, the legislation has garnered more than 100 co-sponsors, DC is abuzz with talk of a massive infrastructure plan, and states have begun to share their library infrastructure needs with members of Congress. Hear from some of those states and get an update on this fast-moving, once-in-a-generation opportunity to secure federal funding to update, furnish, and build libraries that meet our communities’ 21st century needs. We are pleased to be joined by Sonya Durney, Maine Library Association; Mark Smith, Texas State Library and Archives; Wendy Woodland, Texas Library Association; Jason Broughton, Vermont State Library; and Kevin Unrath, Vermont Library Association. Gavin Baker and Larra Clark from ALA's Public Policy and Advocacy Office  provided legislative updates.

April 21, 2021: "Libraries and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021." In addition to funding for IMLS, the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) provides other streams of funding for which libraries are eligible. ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy staff break down the funding relief package and highlight library-eligible provisions.

January 13, 2021: "Planning your Virtual Legislative Day." Virtual visits to state capitols continue in 2021. What practices are most successful in reaching legislators and what tools are available to help? Join us for a conversation with Anna Celentino and Ray Hill of Fiscal Note (parent company of Engage), who share trends and best practices from across industries and answer your questions about how to rise above the virtual chatter. Also hear tips from state leaders in New York and Ohio who hosted virtual legislative events in 2020 and are using those experiences to plan for 2021. 


December 2, 2020: "Conversations about Funding in a Time of Uncertainty." Just a few months ago, the country’s economy appeared poised for a healthy recovery, particularly with the promise of a second federal recovery package to help states and localities address the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. With gridlock in Congress, no progress towards a recovery deal, and another wave of infections nationwide, severe and lasting impacts to state and local budgets are projected. Learn how state associations are leading conversations about funding and ensuring that libraries are positioned as essential for community recovery and resilience. Hear from state leaders about how they are shaping messaging, reaching decision makers, and galvanizing advocates. We are pleased to be joined by Christi Buker, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Library Association, and Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director of the New York Library Association. 

January 15, 2020: "State Legislative Kickoff." Statehouses are abuzz across the country. Join us for an overview of state legislative agendas and a closer examination of the top issues impacting libraries. We’re pleased to be joined by Dan Brower from the Missouri Library Association and Lori Fisher from the New Hampshire Library Association, who will show us how their states harness Engage advocacy software to amplify their outreach and achieve legislative goals.


October 2, 2019: "Planning Your State's Legislative Strategy." With summer recesses behind us, it is time to start thinking about the next legislative session. We are pleased to be joined by Lucinda Nord, Executive Director of the Indiana Library Federation, and Wendy Woodland, Director of Communications and Advocacy for the Texas Library Association. Hear how they work with their respective legislative committees to gather input, prioritize, develop strategy, and share their plans with membership.

June 6, 2019: "Empowering Trustees and Friends to Advocate Alongside Librarians." Trustees and Friends offer a wealth of skills, experiences, and connections that amplify library advocacy, but they are often underutilized resources. How can state associations and individual libraries fully engage with Friends and Trustees in advocacy efforts? How can Friends and Trustees better integrate into holistic statewide plans? We look forward to hearing from Skip Dye, President of United for Libraries, about the enhanced role of the Friends of Delaware’s Libraries; and from Pat Hofmann, President of Citizens for Maryland Libraries and Joseph Thompson, President of Maryland Library Association, about their partnership to advocate for the state’s libraries.

May 1, 2019: "#LibrariesStrong: State Ecosystems Mobilize to Defeat Censorship Legislation."  Censorship is not new to libraries but an uptick in attempts to achieve censorship through legislation is a trend that requires a strong library ecosystem to mobilize quickly and respond. We will hear from two states that successfully defeated censorship legislation during the current legislative session. We are pleased to be joined by Jay Ballenberger, Diane LaPierre, Jessica Hesselberg, and Tammy Sayles of Colorado to discuss SB 48; and by Alisia Revitt and Sonya Durney of Maine, who will discuss LD 94. 

March 27, 2019: "Advocacy Open House: Tour ALA’s New Web Resources for Advocacy and Relationship Building."  ALA relaunched its advocacy website at Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Hear from members of the Grassroots subcommittee of ALA’s Committee on Legislation about what tools are available and how you can use the resources for advocacy at all levels. You can also let ALA know what resources you’d like to see added. We are pleased to be joined by: Nikki Scarpitti, Director of Strategic Initiatives at Columbus Metropolitan Library; Mary Hastler, CEO of the Harford Public Library; and Emily Wagner, Assistant Director of Communications and Knowledge Management in ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office.

February 27, 2019: "Libraries and the 2020 Census." State and local governments are organizing for the upcoming 2020 Census, and libraries should have a seat at the table. Governors, state legislators, mayors, philanthropic funders and other leaders across the country are forming Complete Count Committees and allocating resources to help get communities get counted. These efforts offer library staff and supporters opportunities to increase awareness of library services, strengthen community relationships, and support libraries' work related to census outreach. Hear from librarians who have been involved with Complete Count efforts and learn about new advocacy resources from ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy team. Our guest speakers will be Michelle Perera, Director of the Pasadena Public Library; Jennie Stapp, Montana State Librarian; and Diane Foote, Executive Director of the Illinois Library Association. We will also be joined by Gavin Baker, ALA’s Assistant Director of Government Relations and Larra Clark, ALA’s Deputy Director of Public Policy.


December 11, 2018: "Preparing for the 116th Congress." The 116th Congress is on the horizon and ALA is planning for the year to come. With such a large number of new members of Congress, it is a critical time for your Senators and Representatives to hear from library leaders about continuing federal funding for libraries of all types. Join ALA’s Advocacy and Public Policy team for an overview of our upcoming appropriations campaign, a discussion about advancing our priorities through in-district engagement, and a preview of the fresh resources that will be available in the new year.  

November 28, 2018: "Hack Your Engage." Maximize your chapter's use of Engage advocacy software. Hear from Jeremy Johannesen, Executive Director of the New York Library Association, about how New York has successfully used Engage in a variety of targeted advocacy campaigns. We'll also be joined by our Engage account representatives who will share resources and answer your questions.

October 31, 2018: “Building Relationships with Legislators and their Staff.” Relationships are key to the success of your legislative agenda. How can you work on those relationships year-round, with both legislators and key staff members? Join us for a conversation with Dave Schroeder, former Kentucky Library Association president and current chair of KLA’s advocacy committee, as well as a member of ALA’s committee on library advocacy.

May 2, 2018: "Get It Together: Building Blocks of Thriving State Ecosystems." Hear from a variety of stakeholders, including Terri Grief, Legislative Chair, Kentucky Association of School Librarians; Laura Hicks, Program Specialist for School Library Media at the Maryland State Department of Education; Annie Norman, State Librarian of Delaware; Annie Eppersen, Chapter Councilor for the Colorado Association of Libraries; and Craig Seasholes, President of the Washington Library Association, about their unique perspectives and contributions to the state library ecosystem.

March 28, 2018: "States Respond: The Fight for Net Neutrality Continues." How are librarians involved in efforts to enact state level protections for net neutrality? We will be joined by Larra Clark, Deputy Director of ALA's Public Policy and Advocacy Office; Kieran Ayton and Julie Holden, President and Vice President of the Rhode Island Library Association; Kate Laughlin, Executive Director of the Washington Library Association; and Cindy Aden, Washington State Librarian.

February 28, 2018: "Friends Like These: Maximizing Your Relationships With Friends and Trustees."  A conversation with Beth Nawalinski, Executive Director of United for Libraries, and Libby Post, President of Communication Services and a United for Libraries Board member.

January 24, 2018: "Back in Session." A conversation about how Chapters can prepare for and engage members in state legislative activities. We’ll also get an insider’s view of how to defeat adverse legislation. We are pleased to be joined by Kathi Kromer, Associate Executive Director of ALA’s Public Policy and Advocacy Office, and Bob Doyle, immediate past (retired) Director of the Illinois Library Association.


October 25, 2017, "Message Received: Developing Messages that Resonate." How do you reach state lawmakers with messages that generate support for libraries? Do you focus on a specific theme (education, workforce development, etc.)? Who decides what those messages will be? Join us this month for our next webinar, featuring Doug Evans, Executive Director of the Ohio Library Council, followed by a facilitated discussion for participants.

September 27, 2017, "Back to School: School Library Legislation in the Statehouses." Our first State Ecosystems Initiative webinar. Fewer than half of all states currently require a school librarian in their public schools. In recent years, however, legislation has been introduced in several additional states. Who is leading these efforts and what insights can they share with the rest of us? We will hear from three states and follow their presentations with a facilitated discussion for participants. This webinar was brought to you by the American Association School Librarians and the Chapter Relations Office as part of our State Ecosystems Initiative to strengthen coalitions across libraries.

May 24, 2017, "Maintaining the Momentum." Our fourth presentation in the series included presentations by Lucinda Nord, Executive Director of the Indiana Library Federation, answered this question: With National Library Legislative Day behind us and many state legislative sessions drawing to a close, how will your chapter maintain advocacy momentum over the coming months?

March 2, 2017, "Busy Time in Statehouses." Our third presentation in the series included a presentation by Dave Schroeder, President, Kentucky Library Association, who discussed Kentucky SB 48; and Wendy Woodland, Director of Communications, Texas Library Association, who discussed Texas Senate Bill 6.

January 12, 2017, “The Year Ahead.” Our second webinar in the series included a presentation by Lisa Varga, Director, Virginia Library Association (VLA), and Shari Henry, IF Chair, VLA, on censorship attempts, and a presentation by Jody Gray, director, ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services (ODLOS), on ODLOS resources, including Intersections BlogLibraries RespondODLOS Newsletter, and Diversity Member Interest Group.


October 28, 2016, “Leveraging Advocacy Resources to Strengthen All Chapters.” Our inaugural webinar in the series included an update on ESSA planning, using Engage for state-level advocacy, new advocacy resources from ALA, conversation on how ALA can best work with Chapters on their state-level advocacy efforts, and an opportunity to share best practices.

ALA Staff Contacts

Mariel Colbert
Program Officer
Chapter Relations Office

Megan Cusick
Deputy Director, State Advocacy
Public Policy and Advocacy Office