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Know Your Legislator

State of Montana Legislators

Download a printable "Know your Legislator" worksheet PDF

The more you know about a legislator or official, the more effective you can be in communicating the library message and ensuring a successful outcome from your advocacy efforts.

Some legislators are more important than others because they control more votes, sit on important committees, are members of the governing body’s power structure/leadership, or are considered experts in a particular area. When deciding which legislators to approach, always ask yourself who can make or break this piece of legislation.

Policymakers who hold appointments on key committees should be targeted first. After all, if your bill doesn’t make it out of committee, it will never be voted on. Committees that often consider issues that affect libraries include:

  • Ways and Means
  • Appropriations
  • Education
  • Urban Affairs
  • Judicial
  • Commerce

In Montana, we are fortunate that our senators and representative, and especially our state legislators, are fairly accessible. Make an effort to get to know their voting record and where they stand on library-related issues. Being well-informed helps to formulate a successful approach to lobbying your legislator. For detailed information on your legislator, check out www.vote-smart.org.

Excerpted from the American Library Association’s A Communications Handbook for Libraries, published in Summer of 2004. To see A Communications Handbook for Libraries in full, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/pio/availablepiomat/online_comm_handbook.pdf.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov