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Librarians Talk with Legislators about Value of Libraries

March 1st, 2010 Comments off

Elaine Steingrubey, director at Morrison-Talbott Public Library, and Erica Pyle, director at Columbia Public Library, and I traveled to the Sparta and Okawville offices of Representative Reitz and Senator Luechtefeld to talk with them about the value of libraries and their importance to the legislators’ constituents.  We also shared with them the SNAPSHOT activities in their libraries and here at the System.  Having those stats and comments made an impression on the legislators in a meaningful way.  Both legislators gave us all the time we wanted and helped us to understand what will need to be done to improve Illinois’s economic climate and repair the damage done to the budget.  I will be booking visits to other LCLS legislators and will be contacting directors to come along.  It was a very enlightening experience for the three of us.

Ways to Make SNAPSHOT DAY a Success

January 26th, 2010 Comments off

The System appreciates your help in commenting on ways that you’ve thought of to make SNAPSHOT DAY a success.  Please use Conduit and its comment feature to share your thoughts with other members.  There is a new ILA website that provides you with all kinds of  forms to promote the day.  To begin with find a way to let your patrons know that you’ll be gathering statistics and asking them to fill out a simple form telling what they need and like about the library.   Tell patrons  that the information will be used to show  local, state, and national officials what today’s libraries look like–you’ll be giving them a snapshot.  OK that leads to another idea–how about taking some pictures of activities and services.  It’s your turn–please comment with your suggestions.

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Librarians Visit Legislators

April 27th, 2009 Comments off

On Thursday, April 23 nineteen System and local library staff members visited with our legislators in Springfield to thank them for their past support of libraries and encourage them to continue that support.  This year we were able to see five of our seven senators and seven of our representatives who were very congenial and took time to listen to us.  The mood in Springfield appears to be realistic-they know the budget is in bad shape but they’re ready to work and make those difficult decisions they’ll have to make.

Included in the SOS budget this year is an increase in public and school per capita grants and equalization grants.  Legislators are well aware how valuable library services are to their constituents and appreciate and will take that request into consideration.

We also discussed with legislators the help that libraries can be in this slow economic climate when people are looking for jobs and need to prepare resumes and make applications many of which must be made online.  In addition we asked that they speak up for libraries in any construction bills and especially in the distribution of the stimulus money coming to Illinois.

If you have not yet done so, please contact your local Illinois legislators and thank them for support telling them what kind of services you provide to their constituents.   Legislators feel strongly that they will complete their work no later than May 31.  This means they’ll be spending time in their local offices.  I’ll be setting up some visits to local offices and ask that you will go with me to those visits.  Summer is also a good time for you to contact your local legislators and invite them to visit your library to see firsthand all that you provide for their constituents.

Do we take time to thank supporters?

March 31st, 2009 Comments off

Many of us have been recipients of support from our legislative leaders through per capita grants, LSTA funds(federal dollars but need to be appropriated by the Illinois General Assembly, and discretionary funds directly from legislators.  This support has increased our facilities, programming, and materials collections.
When we get emails asking us to contact legislators–federal or state–do we take the 5 minutes it takes to contact them to be certain they understand the impact of proposed legislation?  I know that I have to tell myself to respond to such requests and I’ll bet many others do too.

While the Illinois state budget is in less than good shape, libraries have gotten support for their efforts through the SOS budget and the help of the Illinois State Library.

On April 23 at Illinois Library Day you and I have the opportunity to be in Springfield to express our gratitude and to make certain legislators know fully the impact of any legislation related to libraries.

Please seriously consider joining us that day, but if you can’t for whatever reason attend Illinois Library Day, please take that 5 minutes to send your legislator a thank you note for past support and ask for continued support.

Libraries Value in Tough Economic Times

January 13th, 2009 Comments off

Just got a great link to information on how libraries can let their communities know of services they have to help folks through tough economic times.  While most have seen the video at the link below,  look farther down the page for pieces of a toolkit that can be used to be sure your patrons and your communities know just how valuable you are.

The ALA toolkit contains information on how to work with decision-makers, ways to work with the media, and talking points to help libraries articulate the role of libraries in times of economic downturn. Talking points on the economic value of libraries, with return-on-investment examples; libraries and the economy; and upswings in library usage are included.

www.ala.org/tougheconomytoolkit

I think this information would make a great discussion and look forward to comments on the blog about how libraries are telling their communities about their value.

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