Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
November 27, 2019
In this issue of your ILF Advocacy Update
  • Indiana General Assembly Organization Day
  • 2019 Hoosier Survey Results
  • 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index
  • What YOU can do to improve Indiana's rankings
  • ILF Legislative and Policy Priorities for 2020
  • Quick Links
What YOU can do
  • Stay informed.
  • Be sure your staff and colleagues are subscribed to the Advocacy Updates.
  • Plan at least two "Liberty at the Library" activities for your library in 2020.
Indiana General Assembly Organization Day

The Indiana General Assembly held its Organization Day on November 19 . The ceremonial kickoff to the 2020 session was overshadowed by the # RedForEd rally by an estimated 16,000 teachers and by House Speaker Brian Bosma's announcement of forthcoming retirement in 2020.
  • An estimated 16,000 teachers and advocates rallied on the Statehouse grounds for three policy changes: 1) create a "hold harmless" policy on teacher and school evaluations based on the ILEARN test results, 2) removal of the 15-hour "externship" requirement for teacher licensure, and 3) increase in teacher compensation. See article and photos from IndyStar, 11/19/19.
  • Longest serving Speaker of the House Brian Bosma announced his intention to step down before the new district maps are drawn in 2021. The House GOP caucus is expected to elect a "speaker-elect" in the next two weeks, expected to be Rep. Todd Huston of Fishers.
2019 Hoosier Survey Results Released

The Old National Bank/Ball State University 2019 Hoosier Survey offers a snapshot about Hoosier views about important topics as we prepare for the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly. A few key findings include:
  • About 1/4 of Hoosier families view the effects of property tax caps positively, while 41% reported the tax caps did not have much effect on their community, and 15% viewed the tax caps negatively (pages 15-16).
  • Half of Hoosiers reported favorable views of the Governor, and 45% report favorable views of the Indiana General Assembly.
  • Improving public schools, improving public safety, reducing crime and improving local streets and roads are the top three community priorities.
Review the entire report here .
2019 Indiana Civic Health Index

T he fourth edition of the Indiana Civic Health Index provides an update about Hoosier engagement in these factors considered for civic health:
  • Community Involvement (volunteering, donating)
  • Social Connectedness (getting together, trusting others)
  • Voter Registration
  • Voter Turnout - Indiana ranked 43rd in 2018 elections.
  • Political Activity
  • Confidence in Institutions

The report offers two recommendations: 1) to convene a task force that would study best ways to improve civic education instruction and programs, and 2) to increase voter turnout substantially for the 2020 elections, moving from the bottom 10 to the top 10 in national rankings.

The graphic below illustrates how Indiana has improved slightly between 2010 and 2018, ranking 37th in voter registration and 43rd in voter turnout. Read the full 2019 Indiana Civic Health Index .
What YOU can do to improve Indiana's ranking

Check out the " Liberty at the Library " presentation by IUPUI Professor Sheila Kennedy and Adult Services Librarian Carey LaBella from the ILF Annual Conference. See the presentation slides , where Carey discussed:
  • Educating community members - VCPL educates library customers on their privacy rights and various civic literacy topics such as elections, the constitution and local government. VCPL also holds community forums about issues and Third House, or Crackerbarrel, sessions with elected officials.
  • Preparing citizens - Like many libraries, VCPL offers a citizenship corner and classes. Note that new legislation requires high school students to take the US Citizenship test (see DOE guidance), so libraries may see additional interest in citizenship resources, even by current citizens.
  • Remaining nonpartisan - As a nonpartisan organization, VCPL demonstrates its nonpartisan approach to the public so that it welcomes all. Nonpartisan means showing no support or opposition to a party or candidate.
  • Making it easier to vote - Vigo County Public Library's collaboration with their clerk's office and nonpartisan Vote Vigo project, an effort to make voting easier for residents.
Other resources include and .
ILF Legislative and Policy Priorities for 2020

The ILF Board approved the 2020 ILF Legislative Policy Priorities, as we prepare for the 2020 session of the Indiana General Assembly. Incorporating the feedback from more than 250 survey responses, multiple virtual exchanges and in-person meetings, the   ILF Advocacy Committee   recommended priorities to include  actively advocating for   :
  • Stable taxing structures that support libraries.
  • Library card access for children in foster care.
  • Certified school librarians, supported by library assistant paraprofessionals in state-funded K-12 education.
  • Initiatives that provide additional broadband coverage to increase access, affordability, speed and capacity for residents and communities, including schools and libraries. 
ILF continues to support lifelong learning in pre-k and adult education, as well as state funding for internet connectivity, INSPIRE and school libraries. ILF remains positioned for action on policy issues that affect libraries.

Policy briefs will be posted soon. Registration for Library Day at the Statehouse will open soon--we are aiming for first weeks of February.
Indiana Library Federation Links