Building Common Ground • Legislators & Policymakers
Activity: Research Your Legislators

Context:

Decisionmakers at the local, state, and national level can be some of the most important partners for school librarians and libraries. However, these people sometimes seem far away or removed from the daily work of the school, and for some of us, maybe even intimidating to contact. A first step in learning about the potential role of policy makers in your school library program is to find out who the people are and what they do.

Instructions:

This activity offers suggestions for researching advocacy and legislative efforts within various levels of government.

Read Allison Burrell's guest column in the Summer 2017 issue of School Library Connection to learn about her experience working with state-level legislators for the first time: "Getting Out of the Advocacy Comfort Zone."

Find out who your state and U.S. legislators are, and research who serves on committees that deal with education and libraries. Nationally, there are the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor & Pensions (HELP, https://www.help.senate.gov/) and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce (https://edworkforce.house.gov/).

Review District Dispatch, the advocacy, policy, and legislation update of the American Library Association: http://www.districtdispatch.org/. Find out if there are current opportunities for action. It may be simpler than you think to send an email or tweet to your legislator; District Dispatch typically offers templates and tools for communicating.

Materials:

Article, Burrell, Allison. "Getting Out of the Advocacy Comfort Zone." School Library Connection (Summer 2017). Government and policy websites: U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Labor & Pensions (HELP, https://www.help.senate.gov/); House Committee on Education and the Workforce (https://edworkforce.house.gov/); District Dispatch (http://www.districtdispatch.org/)

MLA Citation Morris, Rebecca J. "Building Common Ground: Research Your Legislators." School Library Connection, February 2020, schoollibraryconnection.com/Home/Display/1979870?learningModuleId=1979873&childId=2122858&tab=1&topicCenterId=1955261.

View all citation styles

Entry ID: 2122858

Back to Top