Friday, February 11, 2011

Library Legislative Day February 4th

This was my second Library Legislative Day in recent decades. It continues to be an exciting and invigorating experience. It is so easy to sit back and see our legislators as out of reach and this WLA sponsored activity quickly puts us face-to-face, or nearly so, in very pleasant circumstances. From our Advisory Board only Virge Staiger and I signed up this time and Virg had to drop out due to complications in recent surgery.

The bus, sponsored by the KCLS Foundation, could have taken a few more of us.
Overall attendance was good, however.
Tim Mallory, WLA President led the intro.
 Journalist Peter Callahan, above, and WLA lobbyist Steve Duncan provided great insights into what is happening on the hill and what to expect, even what other grooups are lobbying on the same day. 

The K-12 contingent (WLMA), part of our group was lobbying to keep teacher-librarians in the schools as a money-saving strategy. Those of us from the public library sector were really only asking to be seen as supporters and part of the solution.

John looks over the House Chamber
John Sheller and I were assigned the 30th, 33rd, and 34th districts. We visited the offices and mostly dropped off some materials and spoke with the legislative assistants. John sent a note and materials to Senator Eide on the Senate floor and we actually talked with a few actual legislators where John had made appointments or where we were lucky. In my own district, I was very glad for a chance to talk with Rep. Katrina Asay, who seems already very conversant with library issues.

This is a year when we so far have no large threats and can't realistically be asking for much. We can be more polite and less demanding than most of their visitors. I think the effort was very good groundwork for what we may need in the future. Another year I'd encourage all of our board members and friends to attend.

Tony Wilson