Accio Books: Taking Your Book Drive to the Next Shelfhttps://lh6.googleusercontent.com/AOr4n5eWooJf5KO8wQ3mgxNDbOGn3Hh9gwjtONmAkCxnnBDLTmOvDD8D5dAUaorX6qEvKo7MRdmzII9Ds3KFzcVSjodXtJI_fKjWkm-CXkmW0YXf_If2LHbg7g-0qNBNBj5Vloc

National Library Legislative Day

So you’ve decided to take Accio Books to the next level by advocating for libraries - way to go!!  There’s two great ways to do that, and they only take a couple of minutes!

Write a Letter

You can send a letter to your lawmakers Washington, D.C. offices to let them know that libraries matter to your community.  Not sure who your Members of Congress are or what their address is?  Visit www.contactingthecongress.org/ to find out!

Not sure what to write? Here’s a sample letter that you can copy or adapt:

Dear [ Title + Last Name ],

I’m writing to ask you to support needed funding for libraries.  I am a library user and member of a nonprofit called “The Harry Potter Alliance,” which uses the power of stories to create real-world change. Libraries are essential to our members, as well as many other people in our community.  The American Library Association is requesting $186.6 million to fund libraries, full support for programs that protect Net Neutrality and make broadband internet more affordable and accessible, and for your support in appointing Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress.  Libraries are vital to our community - it’s where I learned to love reading as a child, and today libraries in our community continue to put books and technology in the hands of children and adults in need.  As your constituent, I urge you to be a champion for libraries by supporting these requests and other recommendations from the ALA!

Thank you so much for your support!

Sincerely

[ Your Name ]

Tips on Letter Writing

Whether you use this script, or write your own, here’s a couple of tips for writing a good letter:

  • Know who you’re writing to
  • Include their name and title!
  • Senators and Representative’s role is to serve their constituents.  Make sure you mention that you are a constituent!  Hoping to influence other Members of Congress?  Encourage your friends and family that live in their districts to write!
  • Name the issue
  • What is it that you are writing about?
  • Explain why it matters
  • Why is this issue important to your community?  Why is it important to you?  
  • Highlighting how this issue will impact your state/district/community is important!
  • State what you want done
  • In this case, we want them to support the funding request and other recommendations made by the ALA.  In other cases, you may be asking them to vote, draft a bill, talk to their colleagues, make a public statement, etc. Make it clear what you want!
  • Say thank you!
  • Try “Thank you for your support!” or  “Thank you for bringing attention to this important issue!”

Make a Call

When you first call your Senator or Representative’s office, you may be connected to the Congressional Switchboard.  Ask for your Senator or Representative by name.  You may be asked to provide your zip code or address to confirm they are connecting you with the right person.  Not sure who your Members of Congress are?  Visit www.contactingthecongress.org/ and enter your address.

When you call your Senator or Representative’s office, you’ll speak to a member of their staff.  These staff members make note on how many calls they receive about particular issues.  Issues that get a lot of calls are brought to the attention of the Senator or Representative, so every call counts!  

It can be a little intimidating to make theses calls, so remember:

  • Phone calls are one of the most effective ways to demonstrate that you care about libraries.  
  • These calls are very short (usually under 1 minute) and most likely, you’ll speak to an intern or staffer in their 20’s. That’s right - even in federal government, young people are working hard and changing the world!
  • Even if you can’t vote, your is government is there to represent you, so it’s important to tell them what you think.  
  • Check out the sample script below - feel free to use it as is or adapt it!

Script:

Hi, my name is ________ and I am a constituent living in [Lawmaker’s name]’s district. [Note: You may be asked to provide your address to verify that you are a constituent.]

I am calling to ask [Lawmaker’s name] to be a champion for libraries by supporting increased funding for these important programs. The American Library Association is requesting $186.6 million to fund libraries, full support for programs that protect Net Neutrality and make broadband internet more affordable and accessible, and for your support in appointing Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress.  I urge [Lawmaker’s name] to support this and other recommendations from the ALA!*

I am a library user and member of a nonprofit called “The Harry Potter Alliance,” which uses the power of stories to create real-world change. Libraries are essential to our members, as well as many other people in our community. [Lawmaker’s name] must use their leadership to ensure that our public libraries are well-funded and able to meet the needs of our changing world.  

Thank you for taking the time to share my concerns with [Lawmaker’s name].

Prefer to email your Senators/Representative?  Click the Contact Forms at www.contactingthecongress.org to send email!

*Not in the US?  Find ways to learn about library advocacy issues in your country in our Accio Books toolkit!

No matter what you do,

Follow Up!

Follow your issue to see how your Senator or Representative took action.  

  • If you like what they have done, let them know!  A quick call or note to say thank you drives home how much this issue matters to your community.
  • If you are disappointed in their action (or lack thereof), let them know!  A quick call or note to say “What happened??” also drives home how much this issue matters to your community.
  • Remember: Members of Congress are there to represent the people in your community.  It is our right and our duty to let them know our concerns!

You’ve got the numbers.  You’ve got the asks and the script.  

Now go make Hermione proud - make the call to fight for libraries!  #NLLD16 #AccioBooks