Take Action for Libraries Today - Reach out to Your Legislators

April 23, 2020

MLA continues to reach out to all of our Senators and House members to remind them of the importance of libraries throughout Michigan. We encourage you to reach out to them as well and make sure that in these difficult times that they are hearing from you too. Since we cannot visit with them in person or invite them to hold their coffee hours at our libraries right now, we suggest you email them and let them know what you are doing, even with the physical doors closed. You can find their contact information by inputting your address at the following websites: Find your Representative | Find your Senator

Our state legislators need to know that access to digital resources, delivered by our libraries, has become critically important to our citizens in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Libraries have stepped up to successfully deliver these resources to our communities.

While all of our library buildings are closed, libraries continue to serve at the forefront of digital equity by supporting home broadband access and offering technical support. Many libraries have hotspot lending programs for under-served families and students who do not have internet access at home. Libraries offer e-books, audiobooks, online learning, and tutoring sites for homework help. They stream storytimes, book discussions, and author visits to engage readers of all ages. They offer access to skill-building activities and resume development for those who have been recently unemployed, as well as to telehealth resources and trustworthy public health information.

School and academic librarians have helped their institutions pivot to remote learning with direct instruction, digitization and curation of instructional materials, professional development for colleagues, and coordination of online instructional tools.

The following is from a press release distributed from the Kalamazoo Public Library to inform their patrons what they can take advantage of while closed, but we think it outlines exactly what our legislators would like to know about as well.

“While all Kalamazoo Public Library locations are closed through April 30th to help slow the spread of COVID-19, KPL staff are working remotely to provide our patrons with online services, information, and resources.
  • Covid-19 Local Information & Resources: This page provides regularly updated links for reliable resources for COVID-19 information, including how to explain the virus to children. It also includes information for food resources, financial support resources, mental health and domestic resources, community needs, and volunteer opportunities, resources for students, teachers, and homeschoolers and much more. 
  • At-Home Fun for Kids and Families: Looking for something to entertain your kids or some fun for the whole family? Check out these free options to escape social distancing boredom including online storytimes, eBooks, online games, virtual zoo and museum tours and much more. 
  • Ask a Librarian: Do you have questions about your account, how to navigate our website or need recommendations for something to read, listen to, or watch? Then Ask a Librarian via online, live chat!
  • Online KPL Card Sign-up: Need a KPL Library Card? Sign-up today to get immediate access to our digital collection. 
  • Browse our Digital Collection: KPL offers a large variety of digital options including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eVideos, eMusic,  and eMagazines. Our website, kpl.gov is our online branch and it never closes!
Enjoy Free, Online Services including:
Join us For Online Program including: We miss you Kalamazoo. Please know that our staff is thinking of you and will continue to work to serve you in any way we can. Stay safe!”

Today…call them or write them. You must stay in front of them and amplify your voice about the importance and relevance of your library. If our lobbyist could say anything to you right now it would be that “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” You must advocate for library resources that will go elsewhere if you do not. Find your legislators and contact information here: Find your Elected Officials.

 


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