On February 18, 2015, the Law Library participated in Maryland Library Legislative Day! Librarians and library supporters from across the state convened in Annapolis to support and advocate for Maryland public libraries. The day got off to an early start with a continental breakfast provided by the Law Library Association of Maryland (LLAM). During breakfast, the Legislative Panel of the Maryland Library Association (MLA) briefed the participating librarians and library supporters on talking points and the key issues to keep in mind as librarians and library supporters met with legislators and other officials.
After breakfast, participants headed to the State House for the Senate presentation and the House presented. John Venditta, MLA President, and Irene Padilla, State Librarian, presented on the House Floor. John Venditta and Irene Padilla, along with Jay Bansbach from Maryland State Department of Education School Libraries/Maryland Association of School Librarians and Jim Rettig from the Congress of American Library Directors of Maryland presented on the Senate Floor. At the conclusion of the presentations, participants made delegation visits. That evening, participants took part in the Legislative Reception in the President’s Reception Room in the Senate Office Building.
Why do we support and advocate for Maryland public libraries? Over 58% of Maryland’s total population are card carrying library users, and these 3 million plus library users span every age group. Public libraries provide support, resources and educational opportunities for children of all ages with programs such as pre-school reading preparedness, STEM and coding classes for school-aged children, and summer learning opportunities. Library users also include adults of all ages and occupations. Maryland public libraries support and sustain Maryland’s workforce and communities through professional development, job search assistance and resume writing. Public law libraries, like the Anne Arundel County Public Law Library, provide library users, including self-represented litigants, with access to legal resources and legal information as well as host legal aid programs such as our Ask A Lawyer in the Library Program.
Save the date for the 2015 AALL Lobby Day, organized by the American Association of Law Libraries, on March 18, 2015 and National Library Legislative Day (NLLD), organized by the American Library Association, on May 4, 2015 and May 5, 2015. Both national events are in Washington, D.C., and aim to champion funding for libraries and raise awareness of library-related issues. Participants will include library supporters, leaders, and patrons who gather to meet with their respective members of Congress. If you are unable to make the trip to Washington, D.C., do not fret, virtual events are also available!