Slide 1

Report
Welcome to “Get Legislators in
Your Library!”
An ALA Washington,
Office Webinar
Topics
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About the webinar
Why district visits are important
Basic online information
Basic legalities
Addressing barriers to participation
What advocates need to know to set up
winning site visits
Who’s Talking?
Who’s Talking?
About the Webinar
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What’s happening?
Muting and Q&A
Polls
Follow-up Materials and Recording
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Available on ALA’s District Dispatch at
http://wo.ala.org/districtdispatch
Where are we starting from?
Let’s go to the poll…
Why Are Site Visits Important? DC
Style
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Always “on”
Non-stop voting,
meetings and
receptions
Likely living in less
comfortable quarters
May not be with family
Why Are Site Visits Important? HomeStyle
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More relaxed
More personable
More comfortable
Often with family
What Does This Mean?
Visiting with elected officials in their districts is
ALWAYS a good use of time…
Basic Online Information
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Who are my elected officials?
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When are the recesses (a.k.a. district work periods)
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Who should I contact and how?
House
Senate
General
Do my elected officials have events scheduled?
Basic Legalities
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Advocacy vs. Lobbying
Are you a public
employee?
What are the
requirements in your
state?
What are the federal
requirements?
To be on the safe
side…
Playing it Safe
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Playing nice with others
Non-legislative asks
(i.e., “education” vs.
“lobbying”)
Better to ask
forgiveness than
permission?
Barriers to Action
Let’s go to the poll!
Choose as many as
apply
Possible Barrier: It’s Too Hard (or, the
corollary, I’m Not Sure What to Do!)
Answer: Resources,
resources, resources
Making it Easier: Build on Existing
Events
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A few examples from the library world
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Uinta Public Library
Anderson County Library System
University of Nebraska Omaha
Who wants to be next?
What are members of Congress up to?
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Check on townhall meeting schedules
Existing Events: Hosting a Townhall at
your Library
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What is a “townhall?”
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How do they take
place?
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Working with legislator
Independent
In-person
Virtual
Telephone
How do you do it?
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General overview
Townhall checklist
Making it Easier: Use Every Resource
at Your Disposal
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No need to reinvent the
wheel:
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ALA online site visit
information
ALA Advocacy Institute
Visit template
Article on effective
meetings
Assistance from ALA
Check in with your
State Organization
Members of Congress are Scary
and Unresponsive
Answer: Approach
them appropriately
Appropriate Approach: Invite the Staff
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DC and/or district staff
are great for “starter”
visits. Why?
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Easier to arrange
Staff can become
advocates within the
office for your cause
Appropriate Approach: Show them the
Benefits
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Why would they want to
come?
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What’s “in it” for them?
How can you be flexible?
What are the alternatives?
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Hint: puppies and children
are always good draws
Statement to read
“Virtual” participation
Following up after a
cancellation
Appropriate Approach: Engage the
Media
After confirming with the elected official, call local
media outlets and let them know:
Who is coming.
 When they are coming.
 Why he/she is coming.
 How this story will inform/interest their
readership/viewers.
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Contact Jenni Terry, press officer for the ALA
Washington Office ([email protected]; 202-4038208), for assistance with contacting your local
media.
Be sure to work in TANDEM with the legislator –
don’t surprise them with the press!
It Doesn’t Make a Difference
Answer: Your Power as
Constituents
Your Power as Constituents:
Examples
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Recent surveys point to
the power of in-district
activity
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CMF
The Congressional
Record doesn’t lie…
Always Bear in Mind…
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Fewer quality contacts are far superior, in
terms of impact on elected officials, than
“quantity” contacts.
Focus on getting just a few visits this recess
– then a few more – then a few more. Pretty
soon you’ll have dozens scheduled every
recess!
The Five Minute Action Plan
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What will you do next?
Be sure to let ALA know
if you’ve scheduled any
visits!
Questions?

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