During years when the conference takes place in DC, ALA typically does not schedule its traditional May National Library Legislative Day. This year, ILA will coordinate Capitol Hill visits during the conference, rather than attendees scheduling them individually, both in order to support Illinois librarians in this effort and also to avoid confusing Congressional scheduling staff with multiple requests. We will seek to include attendees from the same Congressional districts in group visits, so you may have company.
Please look over and complete the following form, and we will do our best to schedule an appointment. Please note that appointments are typically confirmed only a week or so ahead of time at the most, and may change up until the last moment. You may be meeting with staff members rather than an elected official him- or herself, which is completely expected and completely fine—it is often these front-line staff members who are preparing research, briefs, and positions for the member of Congress and it is extremely worthwhile to get to know them.
If a visit can be arranged, you will be expected to be prepared with library, community, district, and state-specific information and talking points, so that librarians are conveying a coordinated message to Congress. ILA will provide federal and state talking points and information; it is your responsibility to prepare statistics and stories from your own community that can help make the case for our federal legislative priorities (visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/federal-resources).
ILA will also provide supporting information ahead of time, including maps and directions, tips for preparing, etc. Each group or individual will be responsible for getting to the appropriate office on time, but we'll point you in the right direction. If you haven't done this before (or even if you have!), please don't be intimidated! We'll make sure you're ready for your meeting.
Thank you for your interest and willingness to advocate on behalf of Illinois libraries!