Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
December 28, 2018
Gearing up for the 2019 Legislative Session
The 2019 session of the Indiana General Assembly begins January 3. The State's $32 billion budget is written during this "long" session, which will run through April 29. While the economic forecast projects an additional $350 million, legislators anticipate using $275 million to address needs within IN Department of Child Services, among many other requests and obligations.

Legislative leaders anticipate the primary debates to focus on several bills related to the opioid crisis, IN Dept of Child Services, teacher pay, school safety, bias crimes, sports betting, as well as re-writing the code related to education and workforce development programs across state agencies. We also monitor bills related to property taxes and local income tax.

The Indiana General Assembly welcomes twenty-one (21) newly elected legislators, as well as three legislators who replaced legislators who resigned. The next four months are sure to keep us on our toes.
Quick Links from General Assembly
ILF Advocacy Links
How ILF works in Advocacy
Advocacy for libraries is one of our highest priorities. Indiana Library Federation is the ONLY organization in Indiana that prioritizes lobbying for libraries. Your membership dues and annual conference revenues enable our work in advocacy.

How ILF works in Advocacy
  1. Understand Library-related Public Policy - Input, perspectives and feedback on library-related public policy issues are gathered both formally and informally throughout the year and at the annual Legislative Fall Forum. The ILF Advocacy/Legislative Committee researches, works to understand and debates policy issues in order to reach consensus (or near consensus) on recommendations to the Board, staff and lobbying firm.
  2. Develop Advocacy Strategy - To achieve bold goals for libraries of the future, ILF recognizes that multi-year, multi-prong strategy is required, including communications, relationship-building and grassroots advocacy strategies.
  3. Develop Annual Priorities - The ILF Advocacy/Legislative Committee annually develops policy priorities for recommendation to the Board. Once approved, the staff, lobby firm, committee and members actively advocate for highest priorities. We also support and are positioned for action on other library-related policies. We are nonpartisan and reflect the core values of the library field, including lifelong learning, freedom of ideas and civil discourse.
  4. Engage membership - We engage our members and stakeholders in advocacy through continuous feedback, presence at Meet Your Legislator/Third House events, Library Day at the Statehouse and calls to action.

About the ILF Advocacy/Legislative Committee:
  • The ILF Advocacy/Legislative Committee is charged to develop the annual policy priority agenda for recommendation to the board and advise the staff, board and lobby firm on policy issues.
  • The ILF Board appoints members to the ILF Advocacy Committee for two-year terms. Membership is designed to reflect the diversity of membership within ILF and to include knowledge and skills critical to effective advocacy work.
  • Committee members may be re-appointed for 3 consecutive terms. The co-chairs may be appointed for additional four years, for up to 10 years on the committee.
  • Committee meets monthly and provides quick responses regarding questions that cannot wait between meetings.
  • Committee members stay informed of policy issues, participate actively in committee meetings and in advocacy activities.

Your Call To Action - TODAY
  1. Review the list of newly elected legislators in the report from Bose Public Affairs. Additionally several longer-serving legislators have new leadership positions. See committee lists for House and Senate.
  2. Explore opportunities to meet with your legislator in the coming months. Attend a Third House session. Network at parties. Invite policymakers and influencers to a special event at the library.
  3. Review your library policies, especially collection development and challenge or reconsideration policies. During this politically charged time, we remind our staff and volunteers about how libraries reflect their communities and have a responsibility to provide information for a wide variety of users. Not everything in every collection will work for everyone, but librarians are skilled at helping each person find the materials that are right for them.
  4. Practice your "elevator speech" - In as few words as possible, what should your policymakers know about your library? Perhaps you are educating the workers of the future? Perhaps your WIFI and mobile hotspots provide critical access to the internet? Perhaps you are increasing the literacy of residents? Or you are increasing the "quality of place" for local residents? What's your elevator speech?
Attend or Host a Third House or Meet Your Legislator event
Legislators take time to meet with constituents through "Meet your Legislator," "Third House" or "Cracker Barrel" events from December through May. Some libraries host these events; others are hosted by the League of Women Voters or the Chamber of Commerce (sometimes with a fee). When in your community, be sure to attend, introduce yourself and share your library story.

For first-timers: For most events, legislators will share updates about pending legislation and open for question or answers from the audience. Most often, a moderator will facilitate the Q&A, if any. Plan to arrive a few minutes early or stay a few minutes after to network with policymakers and key influencers in your community. Contact the office if you would like to attend with a neighboring library.
Mark Your Calendar - Library Day at the Statehouse March 12
The Indiana Library Day at the Statehouse will be held Tuesday, March 12 . Plan to attend and bring a board member or community library champion.

For first-timers: We will provide you a webinar and policy primer in advance. We begin the Statehouse Day with a quick legislative update and brief training in the History Room of the Indiana State Library. Then we move to the Statehouse for a group photo and individual appointments with legislators. Experienced advocates and staff from our lobby firm help guide members to their meetings with legislators.

Photos: at right Rep. Bob Cherry with Pendleton Community Public Library Director Lynn Hobbs; below, a partial group photo of Statehouse Day attendees from 2018