One of the best ways to get involved this year is to attend a Library Legislative Breakfast with other Librarians, trustees, friends, and patrons. The full schedule is available here: http://www.masslib.org/page-1863001. But why should all the fun end there when you can get behind the mic and speak yourself!? If you are interested in speaking (and I totally know you are) feel free to contact the library hosting the breakfast. There is contact information for each Library on the MLA calendar page. I recently attended a Legislative Breakfast at the Peabody Institute Library as well.
Another option is to host a breakfast at your school next year. Liz Phipps-Soeiro just recently hosted a breakfast at her school in Cambridge, MA with huge success and it was very well attended by local and state representatives. If you are interested in hosting a breakfast (again, I totally know you are) you can contact Liz
email@example.com or myself firstname.lastname@example.org, your very own Legislation Co-Chairs for the Massachusetts School Library Association (MSLA). The most important thing you'll learn at these breakfasts will be how funding is affected in the Libraries and of course how we can make a difference. However other juicy gossip may also be covered like the current problems of “fake news” spreading in the media.
An email was recently sent out from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) that included a link to a customizable legislative agenda that you can adapt to tell your story on state aid, how important the network is to your patrons, how much you rely on resource sharing, a special program you hold in your space, and how funding impacts your work and your community. Once you’ve edited the customizable legislative agenda, your story can be saved and shared with Matthew Perry: Matthew.S.Perry@state.ma.us.
The last and most patriotic option is go to the State House in Boston on Library Legislation Day! This year it will be held on March 7th, 2017. If you’ve never attended a Legislative Day before it is an amazing professional development experience. You would begin your day by attending a short meeting of newcomers, this will give you an overview of the day. Last year, I learned how important it is to stay in contact with your state and local representatives to let them know what is important to you. Not enough people advocate for libraries and consequently the budget decreases instead of increasing. Last year, a library showcase was introduced. Libraries all over the state submit a proposal to display what their library is doing. Representatives are invited to walk around and talk to librarians and users of their program. Students who won the MSLA bookmark completion will also receive recognition on this day. In the afternoon you have an opportunity to locate your representatives and share stories of how your patrons use your space, a highlighted program, or previous event. Most importantly a free lunch will be served.