Highlights from Delaware Library Legislative Day 2017

Delaware Library Legislative Day 2017 Summary (Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Dover)

Photo Gallery at:  https://dla.lib.de.us/legislative-action/delaware-library-legislative-day-2017/

Despite some controversy about what year this Legislative Day actually was, we celebrated our 25th anniversary with gusto!  Here are the highlights:

  • Around 90 attendees included seasoned advocates who have attended every year to a good number of new participants. Most were from public libraries, some from academic and school libraries, including Friends and Trustees.
  • Keynote speaker, Beth Nawalinski from United for Libraries, gave an overview with advocacy tips and many free resources we can use year-round
  • The presentations given by John Monahan (School Library Funding), Sue Rekart (Shared Catalog and Resources funding), Sandra Millard (UDLibSearch databases for K-12), John Phillos (Construction funding), Diana Brown (Technology funding), and Hilary Welliver (State Aid) were motivating!
  • Annie’s summary and focus on Library Standards Funding (State Aid) was engaging and gave us focus on key words for talking points.
  • Three legislators popped in: Senator Lopez, Representatives Baumbach and Bentz.  Their messages were clear:  They are our Library Champions!
  • Our newly elected Delaware Governor John Carney gave the Proclamation in support of libraries and recognizing Delaware Library Legislative Day in person, in the Governor’s chambers (see photo). DLA Vice President Michelle Hughes accepted the Proclamation.  When the Governor asked her to describe and tell him about the Delaware Library Association, Michelle’s response made us all proud to be members and involved!
  • The House (sponsored by Representative David Bentz) and Senate (sponsored by Senator Colin Bonini) passed resolutions to recognize National Library Week and show support for Delaware libraries. Both gave speeches to their colleagues about the importance of libraries as valuable assets to our Delaware communities.
  • We further celebrated with balloons, good food and a special cake. Lunch was shared at Legislative Hall in the House Meeting Room, and 5-10 legislators joined us, including Representatives Ron Grey and Paul Baumbach.
  • A wrap up session discussing ‘how did the day go for you?’ provided ideas for improvement and a sharing of stories. This year’s Legislative Day showed us:
    • We are building connections; some legislators and staffers are letting us know that they look forward to our event every year. Senator Bonini, for example, said Legislative Day was well organized.
    • We are collaborating; Passion Posters give us relationship-building subjects. Some legislators recently had their photo and video shoots and some sessions even happened on the same afternoon as Legislative Day.  Working together with Tes, we were able to incorporate these into our legislative meeting times.
    • More meetings happened, giving constituents and legislators valuable face to face time.
    • A few participants mentioned that their legislators were favorably receptive this year, a change from previous years.
    • Participants are becoming stronger advocates; Even though legislators are scheduled by our Legislative Action Committee team for meetings, they sometimes are not there or available at the last minute. But this did not stop some!  They met with staffers, came back to offices later to find the legislator, met with another, or saw them in the hallway.  All this activity led to a lot of good buzz in Legislative Hall!

A mighty thank you to the many who helped make Legislative Day 2017 a success.  Your participation, no matter in what degree, made this whole process work for all.  It is greatly appreciated.

In alphabetical order:

Kay Bowes
Mary Bradley




Dover Public Library – Karen DeMarco,  Margie Cyr and staff
Gwen Elliott
Beth Emerson
Laurel Ferris
Rose Harrison
Michelle Hughes
Christine Karpovage
 Legislative Hall staffers and admin assistants
Theo Lopatto
Sandra Millard
John Monahan
Beth Nawalinski
Annie Norman
John Phillos
Joe Regacho
Sue Rekart
Lauren Wallis
Hilary Welliver
Bob Wetherall
Sara Zimmerman

…and to each of you for your attendance and ongoing advocacy efforts.  Together, we are speaking clearly with one voice about the value and importance of our libraries.