Legislative Breakfast Materials!

The Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations committee has revised materials that libraries can use to host regional legislative breakfasts, as a way of outreaching to your representatives and senators in the Vermont statehouse and apprising them of the contributions libraries make to Vermont and Vermonters. You can find suggested instructions along with a sample invitation, agenda, press release, talking points, FAQ’s and more here:

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Windsor County Breakfast

Windsor County Legislative Breakfast – Recap

Legislators who attended:  Steve Adams, Dick McCormack, Jim Masland, Mark Mitchell, Alice Nitka and Ernie Shand

Here was our agenda along with some notes:

Introductions and Welcome
Mary Danko : : Library Director, Weathersfield Proctor Library
Helen Bearse : : Patron, Weathersfield Proctor Library

Mary’s patron did not show up (she forgot!), but Mary was able to tell Helen’s story about how the library is impacting Helen’s young adult life.  Translation:  After reading “Twilight,” her reading took-off!  Helen has read almost every YA book the library owns.

Confidentiality Statute
Debra Bullock Spackman : :  Library Director, Norman Williams Library

Deb thanked the legislators for passing the Confidentiality Statute and asked for their continued support, especially since there are rumblings of repealing it.  Deb also spoke about the Randolph case and had handouts, too.

Library Funding Issues
Jeremiah Kellogg : : Regional Librarian & Consultant, VT. Dept. of Libraries
Debra Bullock Spackman : :  Library Director, Norman Williams Library

Jeremiah spoke about how libraries creatively get money for operating expenses and for capital improvements – like bathrooms!  Deb spoke about the bill for state funding that the legislators saw last year and that while we won’t be asking for money this year, to please keep us in mind in the near future.  Mary piped in with the importance of DOL and all they do for libraries, especially her little library.  And Deb added that big libraries need DOL, too!

Library Usage in Tough Economic Times
Elaine Caffrey : : Library Director, Hartland Public Library

Elaine talked about the value of libraries and had some great handouts for the attendees.  Deb talked about how her library has had to have major cutbacks.  Mary talked about how fuel and postage costs are greatly affecting some libraries.

Last Questions and Farewell
Alice Nitka asked if besides computer use, was book usage up as well?  We all were able to respond yes.  All the legislators were very positive about the mission of Vermont libraries and were grateful that we had the breakfast to let them know what we were all up to.

**A personal note:  This was my first legislative get-together that I ever attended and I hosted it!  It was really quite easy, fun and very worthwhile.  Thanks to everyone who made phone calls to their legislators.  Any communication by librarians to their reps is great reminder to them that we are out there working hard for our communities.

Mary Danko

Weathersfield Proctor Library

5181 Route 5 : : P.O. Box 519

Ascutney, VT  05030

802.674.2863