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Legislative Action


Know Your Legislator

Shaping the Message

Ways to Communicate

When is the Best Time to Talk?

Tips for Effective Letters

Tips for Successful Visits

Quick Tips



The Value of Communication

Whether you do it in person, by phone, e-mail or letter, communication is the key to good relations with public officials – not just when your library’s funding comes up for a vote, but on a regular basis so the lawmaker can become familiar with library issues and trends. The first step should be a face-to-face meeting if at all possible.

Keeping legislators informed about library concerns, trends, and successes is the best way to turn them into supporters and even library champions. Invite them to participate in National Library Week and other special events that showcase the many resources and services available in libraries today. Send letters or e-mails to alert them to library issues you are concerned about. Send the library newsletter and other PR materials. Send a letter highlighting library resources of special interest to a legislator and expressing your desire to be of service. Include a business card with the library’s address and telephone number, Web site, and e-mail. Be sure to thank legislators for their ongoing support.

Although many people are intimidated or put off by having to compete for the time and attention of legislators, lobbying or advocating for a particular cause is the American way. Politicians are busy people, but they welcome their constituents’ input, both as a way of gauging community opinion and learning about issues with which they may not be familiar.

  • 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