Beth Explains: Library Legislative Day


Overview: Library Legislative Day 2023 
On February 28, 2023, libraries and library support organizations across the state will meet with their elected officials at the Capitol to advocate for strong library funding. 

In Minnesota, each of us is represented by a State Senator and House of Representatives member. They pay attention to what their constituents care about, and they need to know we care about supporting our libraries. During this session, which runs through May, legislators will vote on bills to

  • Provide general operations funding to libraries (this is called Regional Library Basic System Support) 
  • Provide grants to library systems with building projects (these are Library Construction Grants, part of the large Capital Investment bill) 
  • Fund libraries through the Legacy Amendment (Legacy funds help pay for the arts and cultural programs in libraries across the state, including Saint Paul’s Read Brave program) 
  • Fund The Friends’ work as the Library of Congress’ designated State Center for the Book 

At a time when libraries across the country are being challenged by attempts to ban materials and limit intellectual freedom, we are fortunate that Saint Paul’s legislative delegates support the work of libraries. They still need to know that we value libraries as essential institutions in our communities. 

The Friends at the Capitol 
On Tuesday, I will be meeting with our Saint Paul legislators at the state capitol to talk about these funding opportunities and advocate for strong support. 

I will also be providing testimony before two committees: the Senate and House Education Finance committees. In these hearings, I will be talking specifically about our work, and need for funding, as the Library of Congress’ designated State Center for the Book

You are a Citizen Advocate  
One of the important roles you can play is as an advocate for our libraries. The Friends conducts citizen advocacy at the local, state, and national level. For Library Legislative Day, you can raise your voice in support of libraries with our state legislators. 

  1. Find your legislator’s contact information here
  1. Send a note as simple as this: “Thank you for your support of public libraries. Please vote in favor of library funding bills this session that will keep our libraries open, help make libraries stronger, and fill our libraries with dynamic programs.” Feel free to add your own message, personal story, or your own reason why libraries need support.  
  1. Let us know when you’ve sent your message so we can track the efforts. 

When legislators hear from even 10 or 20 constituents, it really makes a difference. Imagine if they hear from hundreds of library supporters tomorrow! You will be part of a statewide day of advocacy for our libraries.  

THANK YOU for being a Friend of the Saint Paul Public Library and of libraries everywhere. You can learn more about The Friends advocacy work here, and feel free to send me a note if you have questions.