Library Advocacy Updates from Indiana Library Federation
September 11, 2020
In this issue of your Library Advocacy Update
  • Legislative Fall Forum Registration Open
  • Information about Indiana Libraries and the Election
  • Interim Study Committees are meeting
  • Collaboration as key to recovery (check out joint statement and radio show)
Key Links
Join us in Library Advocacy: Register your group for Legislative Fall Forum to be held virtually October 6
Who is that person on your website or in your library? You never know what elected official's relative or friend is in your library or on your website. During this Fall Forum, we are inviting more library people (staff, trustees, supporters) to learn ways to shape policymaker perceptions.

The pandemic changed the ways we are able to interact with policymakers and influencers in our communities. Therefore, we need more members sharing key messages before the 2021 session of the Indiana General Assembly (the budget writing session for 2021-2023). We encourage libraries to consider sending groups to build shared local messaging.

The pandemic affected Indiana libraries and ILF. The ILF Board Officers are offering a virtual Update to the Library Community on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 4pmET. Learn more and register here.
Indiana Libraries and the Election
Libraries play critical roles in fostering democracy and civic participation. Learn about how your library may support your community.
What Libraries Do

Libraries play a role in serving as locations for voter registration, polling places, and vote centers.

  • Voter Registration - Many public libraries host voter registration conducted by the League of Women Voters or the County Clerks office.
  • Polling place or vote center - All counties have designated polling places for voters.   Many counties (46) have adopted vote centersWe recently surveyed on this, and 19% of our public libraries serve as either polling locations or vote centers

Libraries play a role in voter education, AND must remain nonpartisan (not showing favor or opposition to any candidate or party). This may include hosting candidate forums (inviting all), issue education forums, educational posters or displays, widgets on your computer terminals, etc.
Answering Questions about Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes

Many libraries have received questions about absentee ballot drop boxes after media attention, especially the 9/3/20 op-ed column in the New York Times.

It is important to help the community understand that this is not a decision of the local library. Absentee ballot drop boxes are not authorized under Indiana state law.
  • The voter must declare one of 11 reasons in order to vote absentee. 
  • A completed absentee ballot must be mailed or hand-delivered to the county election board. If hand-delivered, it can only be done so by the voter, a member of the voter’s immediate household (i.e. living with them), the voter’s attorney in fact or a bonded courier.

October 5 - Deadline to register
October 22 - Application deadline for Absentee ballot
November 3 - Election Day

Help residents check their voter registration or polling places at
Tools and Resources from Partner Organizations
National Voter Registration Day is September 22. Check out this Toolkit for Organizations for ideas and downloadables for use in your library or on your social media accounts.
Who is allowed to vote?
Many people do not realize they are allowed to vote--especially the formerly incarcerated, naturalized citizens, and college students where they consider home.

The ACLU-Indiana will ship posters and cards like above to your library for distribution in your community. Contact the ACLU-IN to make your request.
How the Indiana General Assembly will be different due to the pandemic

On August 17 and September 9, the Legislative Continuity Committee continued to outline how legislative work will continue through the interim study committees and for the 2021 budget-writing session of the Indiana General Assembly. Social distancing requirements will limit the number of people in the building and will encourage the use of online meetings. Plans to testify must be submitted 5 days in advance, and testimony will be provided electronically from a separate room.

What does this mean for ILF? Relationships with legislators are more important than ever. ILF will rely more heavily on the team at Bose Public Affairs. And our success is dependent upon local relationships by our members.
Legislative Interim Study Committees are Meeting (online)
Interim Study Topics were announced on May 13 and are listed and linked here. Legislators study certain topics before preparing legislation for the following year.

Due to impacts of COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, the first meeting usually includes some procedural review and overview of COVID-19 impacts on related state agencies or industry sectors and related policies or federal funding.
Upcoming Interim Study Committees
Indiana Libraries helping with recovery from pandemic
Collaboration is key to recovery
Indiana Library Federation is working with a coalition of associations that include government, business, and nonprofit organizations to help Indiana recover from the pandemic.

Check out the joint statement or the recent 1-hour radio program All IN on WFYI. While she was able to talk about efforts to extend Wi-Fi, ILF's E.D. Lucinda Nord was prepared to share a range of unique collaborations, including how libraries: mobilized 3D printers to make masks, extenders and shields for EMTs and health care and sewers to sew masks for the community; distributed tens of thousands of make-and-take, STEM activity, and creativity kits; hosted blood drives; distributed food; helped the laid off and furloughed with applications for unemployment, SNAP, TANF, and health coverage; partnered with Chambers to promote entrepreneurship and business classes; reached isolated seniors through pen pal and telephone check-in programs; and SO much more. Thank you, Indiana libraries, for being good community partners.
General Assembly Links
Indiana Library Federation Links