As the ACRL Legislative Advocate for VT, I have been in contact with my senators and congressman (we only have one!) a number of times on behalf of ACRL. I have also posted on my blog and Twitter asking people to reach out to their representatives as well. I have also spoken on the phone with aids and staffers at Senator Saunders and Senator Leahy’s office on more than one occasion particularly in regards to Copyright, LSTA, and general support for libraries.
I would love to continue as a Legislative Advocate but I do have a few recommendations for really making this program more effective and targeted to ways that fit ACRL’s mission. Perhaps first and foremost, contextualizing issues in terms of ACRL. While your team has been tremendously supportive and informative, there have been a number of times when I wonder how the steps we are being asked to take impact college and research libraries? Is there a way to make the connection between the goals, needs, and expectations of higher ed libraries and those at the legislative level more explicit?
I would also love to see more active participation of this program in social media outlets. In the age of Obama, social media is a powerful force for engaging our communities (particularly information professionals) around issues and mobilizing. Can we invent a hashtag for ACRL Legislative Advocates on Twitter that allows us to share information more readily? What social media are our representatives paying attention to and how can we leverage our adeptness for technology to make a greater impact? Believe me, I live in a state where I still get a person and a person who is local and interested in what a Vermonter has to say. But I am not sure that is the case in states with larger and broader constituencies.
Finally, is there a way to deepen the community of ACRL Legislative Advocates? I don’t know a single other advocate and while I recognize that there have been a number of opportunities to meet face to face, in a time of slashed budgets, are there ways to connect, brainstorm, and coordinate successfully virtually?
I would be more than happy to discuss these idea with you.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity and for the excellent work you are doing. I am proud to be a part of this endeavor.
What suggestions might you make for ways ACRL Advocates could engage more fully with our representatives? What ACRL issues do you think need hearing at a higher level? As an advocate, it is my responsibility to put your concerns and issues out on the table. I'd love to hear your thoughts.