Library advocacy is crucial for our short-term and long-term health. Recently I got a very unrewarding email from my state rep (see below), Ron Johnson, that did not offer much in the way of specifics on the future of library funding nor much on his feelings on their value even. Libraries are a pillar of democratic society and we must work on their behalf.
Fortunately, District Days provide the opportunity to meet in-person with our elected officials to use our charm and powerful persuasive efforts to help our libraries. From August 8-September 5, our state reps return to their home states to participate in meetings, town hall events and other such activities in which constituents can communicate their concerns. Organize your TAB and invite your rep to come to a craft night. Find out what meetings would be appropriate to attend and go. Gather students together for a town hall meeting. A quick Google search on “district days” can connect you to community partners hosting events you could offer to co-host.
Don’t be afraid to be creative. We offer easy contact with audiences for our reps who might love the chance to read to kids at story hour or attend your Computers for Seniors class. They can only say no and you can then ask for 10 minutes of time. If you’re not sure how to get started, YALSA offers the following excellent tools to help.
- YALSA’s District Days Kit: handouts, pamphlets, talking points, getting an appointment, making your case
- Top Ten Things Congressional Staff Hate to Hear
Happy District Days and do share your experiences with us.
My email response from Ron Johnson to my request to support library funding. Sounds like a blame game!
Thank you for contacting regarding library programs and services. I appreciate hearing from you.
Public libraries provide valuable services to communities and students around the country. Historically they have been an important institution for volunteerism and for offering municipal literacy programs. As important as these issues are, we must be aware of our nation’s financial state.
Our nation’s fiscal situation is dire. This year alone, Washington will add $1.5 trillion to our nation’s debt, which currently totals $14.3 trillion. This mountain of debt threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations. It is immoral. Its growth must stop. I am willing to work with anyone in Congress who is serious about addressing this number one problem facing our nation.
Unfortunately, neither the Administration nor Democrats in the Senate have offered any serious budget proposal. President Obama’s budget for 2012 would have increased our already massive federal debt by $13 trillion over the next decade. This budget was defeated in the Senate by a vote of 0-97, a stunning repudiation.
The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, has not passed a budget in more than two years. This is irresponsible and puts our nation in fiscal peril. Until the President and Senate Democrats get serious, it will be very difficult to pass legislation that puts us on the path of fiscal responsibility.
The reality is that we must make tough choices regarding the continued funding of all programs and agencies in the federal government. It is important we take measures that force Washington to start the long overdue process of prioritizing spending.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns with me. I apologize for any delay you have experienced in receiving this reply. Since I took office in January, I’ve received more than 180,000 pieces of correspondence. My staff and I are working hard to respond in a timely way.
Please feel free to contact me in the future with anything important to you or your family. It is an honor to serve you and the good people of Wisconsin.
United States Senator