Letter from Debbie

March 25, 2021

Michigan Library Advocacy Day is right around the corner and hundreds of advocates have already registered to contact Michigan legislators on April 20, 2021. It will be a day to make sure legislative leaders are well informed about the challenges the library community faces and to influence decision-makers through direct contact on Zoom, by phone, through emails and social media posts. MLA is proud to host this inaugural virtual event with our partners, the Michigan Academic Library Association (MiALA) and the Michigan Association of Media in Education (MAME).

Are you a good library advocate? 

Being a good library advocate is vitally important and we must find ways to deliver library messages to legislators, the media, and public officials who shape public opinion and control support for library services and funding. Our world is changing before our eyes, and we have to amplify our voices to increase funding, campaign for millages and new buildings, or deal with controversial issues that come through our social media feeds. If you are passionate about your work, you are a good library advocate.

Who are library advocates?

Library advocates are librarians and library staff, library trustees, friends of libraries, library users/stakeholders/supporters, community and organizational leaders, library and information science students and so many others. Library advocates have clout and it is time to let your voices be heard.

So now, how can you be a good library advocate?

Being a good library advocate means that you must first build good relationships. Don’t wait until issues and challenges are squarely on your plate before getting to know your state and federal legislators; the mayor, city council members and city manager; township and county officials; local media; police chief and fire marshal; local health department officials; chamber of commerce staff; school board members; and so many others.

Before a need becomes critical, step up and introduce yourself, invite them to hold coffee hours or office hours at your library. Provide a “backstage” tour of your facilities and introduce them to your staff. Invite them to read aloud during March is Reading Month. Add them to your newsletter distribution lists and make sure they are receiving invitations for any programs you are holding. If you’ve built a new building, or are unveiling a new bookmobile, invite them to speak. Make sure when you call in time of need, that they know who you are before you need them at your side.

Ready to advocate?

We hope you will join MLA, MiALA and MAME and hundreds of your colleagues and friends on April 20th to advocate for our public, school, academic, tribal and special libraries. Register here: milibraries.org/advocacy-day

Debbie Signatiure

Deborah E. Mikula
Executive Director

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