Guest blog post by Haina Just-Michael, President, JustMediaGroup, Inc. and Vice President, Board of Trustees at the New Rochelle Public Library.
Democratic Conference Leader Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins holds a poster created by Haina Just-Michael
This Advocacy day has, undoubtedly, a tremendous impact on both those of us who are lobbying and our legislators. I would like to share a fun story. By pure happenstance, I collected a few of the “LIBRARIES ARE ESSENTIAL SERVICES” posters provided by some of the Library Advocacy groups from the breakfast/check-in room. I was hanging onto them thinking I would use them somehow in my hometown of New Rochelle to carry our point home. However, upon visiting our legislators and their assistants, it occurred to me that these posters would make for a great message to convey and underscore our point—we made the trip to meet with them and we want to leave our message with them!
The group of advocates signed the posters, and we left them with each one in the legislator’s office. It is very possible that the elected officials never would have seen those posters, which were available at the NYLA Legislative Breakfast on the first floor of the building they work. The packets we leave give specifics and lend much language to our message.
But the quick fix—which was the poster (and artwork which undoubtedly will remain among the memorabilia often seen in these offices) left a smile on theirs and our faces. Proof in the pudding…the smile on Senator Stewart-Cousins’ face as she holds up our token. And, if you look closely, you can see all our signatures around the border!
(l-r) Guest speaker David
Vinjamuri and Senator Hugh Farley at the Legislative Office Building’s “Well” at the Rally hosted by NYLA
A group of 23 library supporters from Westchester car pooled up to Albany to join the New York Library Association’s (NYLA) Library Advocacy Day on Tuesday, March 5th. The group was made up of directors, trustees, and staff from all of our member libraries, as well as Westchester Library System and Westchester Library Association. We visited the offices of the 14 legislators who represent Westchester County. This year’s emphasis with all legislators was restoration of Library Aid to $102 Million vs. the $89.9 Million included in Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget.
WLS President Dave Donelson sums it up best in his blog post.
Library advocates from across New York State filled up the Legislative Office Building’s “Well” at the Rally hosted by NYLA which featured speakers Senator Hugh Farley and guest speaker David Vinjamuri. A special thank you is due to this year’s great group of Library Advocates. All contributed in some way—sharing insightful success stories from their libraries, taking pictures, driving, writing, tweeting, participating!
Since our visit, the Senate has included a proposed restoration of $4 Million in Library Aid for the FY 2013-14 Budget. However, the NYS Assembly has not followed suit, including only the $89.9 Million the Governor proposed in his Executive Budget.
There is still time to contact your legislators! Check out NYLA’s Virtual Advocacy Effort page for resources to show your support for libraries via social media as well as NYLA’s Online Advocacy page to contact your Assemblyman. The deadline for an on-time budget is March 31st.
Libraries do provide essential services—let’s be sure our legislators understand the value they bring to New York.