Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
February 1, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Updates from the Statehouse
  • Quick Links
  • Spotlight on Teacher and Librarian Pay
What YOU can do
What you missed in prior issues - Catch up here.
Updates from the Indiana Statehouse
Here are the highlights from the past week in the Statehouse:

The Indiana Library Federation and its contracted firm, Bose Public Affairs had a very busy week at the statehouse where we advocated for libraries, including:
  • an Advocacy Update with ILF members on Mon, Jan. 28 (see slides);
  • meeting with legislators who are either newly elected or serve on committees where library-related bills are anticipated to be heard;
  • testifying before Ways and Means Committee in support of INSPIRE and Internet Connectivity funding in the state budget;
  • testifying before Local Government Committee about HB1343 (see our response); and
  • monitoring action on several other ILF policy priorities.
ILF members may stay updated using our ILF Bill Track link on page 2 of the Bose Report (member login required).
Indiana Library Federation Links
Spotlight on Teacher and Librarian Pay
Most legislators agree that teacher pay needs to be increased. Where they disagree is on how and by how much. The challenge is that there is an inherent conflict between state mandates and local decision making, as teacher pay decisions are made at the local level. Add to the mix the demographic, economic and population shifts that are occurring statewide. Counties with declining population and economic base will continue to struggle. Remember that 75 of 92 counties lost child population 2011-2016. See graphic at right or linked . There is no one easy solution to raising teacher pay.

The debate about teacher pay raised questions by certain legislators about the salary schedules in public libraries. Gateway for Indiana Governments provides access to salaries of every local public employee. The IN Transparency Portal includes state employees. You may compare salaries and positions in your own communities. However, a review of the data on Gateway or the Transparency Portal requires context. Salary data does not reflect the levels of education completed, types of graduate degrees earned, tenure or job responsibilities. For example, a position may be listed as "librarian" but may not reflect management responsibilities, specific degrees or length of service.

How is ILF responding?
  • First, we listen. Policymakers and members of the public do not understand what librarians do. With each legislator, we work to understand their experience with school, public and academic libraries. Some legislators readily admit to not visiting a library since their own college days and have minimal contact or experience with librarians.
  • ILF is working to educate policymakers. We share how the modern library is more than books. Librarians teach classes, internet safety, literacy, computer and jobs skills. Libraries provide co-working space, enable supervised visits mandated by Dept of Child Services, provide access to the internet for those who do not have access or cannot afford internet connections. Libraries are a place for e-government functions such as paying or filing taxes. 
  • We explain that school librarians are licensed teachers who add school librarian certification to their license. We share how school libraries need both certified school librarians and library assistants.
  • We educate legislators about the staffing, funding and governance of public libraries.
  • We describe how librarians lead into the future with Open Education Resources, digitization and more.
What YOU can do :
  1. Be your best! Model best practices and share your story. Some legislators may have misconceptions about the library and/or librarians.
  2. Thank legislators for questions--even the toughest questions. Rather than being defensive, use the opportunity to educate and gain a supporter.
What YOU can do: Visit the Statehouse and Meet with Your Legislators
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. Register today. Participants are provided an update at ISL and then are accompanied by experienced advocates to meetings with your legislators. Note: we also are looking for a few volunteer photographers. Email us to volunteer or with questions.

Photo above: Rep. Karen Engleman (middle) with Melissa Merida and Sandra Fortner of New Albany-Floyd County Public Library at 2018 Statehouse Day.
What YOU can do: Attend Advocacy Update on Feb. 11
ILF offers bi-weekly Advocacy Virtual Updates during the legislative session. Learn the inside scoop from our Advocacy Committee co-chairs and staff. Share what you are hearing about issues in your local community. Ask questions. Learn more about the issues.

RSVP for the VIRTUAL Advocacy Update at 10am ET on Feb. 11 to receive the link to join the online meeting by computer or telephone. Note that sessions are scheduled bi-weekly: 2/11, 2/25, 3/11, 3/25 and 4/8.
What YOU can do: Attend a Third House or Meet Your Legislator event
Legislators meet with constituents through "Meet your Legislator," "Third House" or "Cracker Barrel" events from December through May. Sessions are often hosted by a local library, chamber of commerce or League of Women Voters. See our calendar for upcoming Third House events in your area. Several are coming up in the next two weeks.

Prepping to Meet Your Legislator
  1. Find your legislators where you live and where you work. Research their bio and committees. Or email us for insight and tips.
  2. Download the 2019 Policy Priorities or one-pager. Email us for specific information and let us know what you learn. Develop a relationship.
  3. Plan to develop or deepen your relationships with legislators and key influencers in the community. Introduce yourself. Offer to be a resource for them about any library questions.