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CLA Day in the District
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Tips for Lobbying Your Legislator

CLA's "Day In the District"

March 2019

 What is “Day in the District?”

  • “Day in the District” is an effective way to build relationships with your legislator(s) by concentrating your time with the legislator in his or her district office, rather than at the busy State Capitol.  Developing relationships with new legislators and bolstering your relationship with continuing legislators is incredibly important for the success of CLA’s advocacy platform.   
  • Library directors, staff, Friends groups and trustees, literacy advocates, and other supporters are encouraged to schedule appointments with their legislators during the month of March
  • These are intended to be friendly “meet and greet” style appointments where you and your colleagues have the opportunity to highlight some of the wonderful programs and services being offered by your library, and to also take the time to address specific legislative issues of importance to libraries. 

“Meet and Greets” with legislators: building lasting relationships

  • On December 3, 2018, newly elected Assemblymembers and Senators were sworn into office for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session, including more than a dozen brand new legislators.   Under the new term limits law, legislators have the potential to remain in office for up to 12 years.  Since many of them will sit on policy or Budget-related committees that have jurisdiction over library issues and funding, it is critical to build relationships with these legislators for years to come.
  • Even though many of these new legislators come from local government backgrounds, they may be unaware of the vital, creative, and life-changing programs your public library offers.  Thus, “Day in the District” meet and greets become your opportunity to share those stories!

Participation is easy!  Just follow these steps!

It’s easy to participate in “Day in the District.”  Organize a group of library supporters to attend a meeting in the legislator’s district office.  The members of the Senate and Assembly are very interested in learning about you and your work on behalf of public libraries and the issues you face.  Here are some specific tips for scheduling your appointment:

  1. The best day to try to schedule a meeting with your legislator in the district is on a Friday or late in the afternoon on Thursdays.  (The legislature is in Sacramento from Monday until Thursday morning during the month of March.)
  2. Have one person serve as the “meeting contact/coordinator.”  This person should contact the legislator’s district office scheduler directly to make the appointment. (If you don’t know how to reach your legislator’s district office, click on the tool on the CLA “Day in the District” webpage called, “Find your Assembly Member or State Senator.”)
  3. The “meeting contact/coordinator” can then relay the time, date, and location information to the meeting participants, and can keep them updated should the schedule change.
  4. The scheduler in the legislative office may ask who will be in attendance.  Offer to email the scheduler that information.
  5. On the day of the meeting, be prompt and plan on your meeting lasting approximately 20 minutes. 
  6. In advance of the meeting, determine who will lead off the discussion for your group and who will raise particular points, issues, etc.  

Final tips for a successful meeting

Remember: 

  • Keep your meeting positive and friendly. 
  • Organize your key points ahead of time.
  • Offer to serve as a resource and please leave your business cards and any helpful pamphlets or flyers about your library with your legislator and staff. 
  • If your legislator asks for specific additional information, please follow through. 
  • Invite your legislator to tour your library in the near future or to participate in story-time events, etc.
  • Ask your legislator if he or she would take a photo with your group before you depart.  Post the photo to your library’s social media accounts.
  • Days later, send a quick follow-up note, thanking your legislator and his or her staff for their time.  Enclose your business card or contact information again.

 

Thank you for your participation!

  

Tools to assist you in your advocacy

 Materials 

 

Helpful Links