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Legislative Meet & Greet

Each October, the Friends of Kentucky Libraries organizes as many local chapters and libraries as possible to do a Meet & Greet for state and local legislators and candidates to give patrons a close-to-home opportunity (as opposed to traveling to Frankfort in February) to tell their legislators and candidates how important their libraries are to them. This is not just for librarians, trustees, and formal Friends members - it’s for everyone who values his or her public library.

A Sampling of 2016 Meet & Greets

  • Corbin Public Library Friends combined the candidate Meet and Greet with a Chautauqua performance by Kelly Brengelman as Madeline McDowell Breckenridge. As a side note, Corbin
    Public Library is celebrating 100 years of service to the community!
  • Paul Sawyier Public Library's M&G is always well attended. This year's event received excellent newspaper coverage during an especially hectic election season.
  • Meade County Public Library held its annual Open House and included activities and stories
    for kids and tours of the library and bookmobile plus a book signing by a local author. Of course, there were refreshments and door prizes! 
  • Woodford County's Friends held a delightful "Autumn Tea in the Countryside." This event
    took place on a beautiful farm and featured delicious food as well as a Chautauqua performance by George McGee as Henry Clay. In addition, teen volunteers were on hand to assist guests. This event was a successful Friends fundraiser and was attended by local officials and candidates.

Local chapters and libraries set up their own events, and FKL promotes them all. YOUR event is whatever works for your District:

  • Morning, afternoon, or evening
  • Simple mingling with the crowd or a forum with time allotted for each legislator and candidate to speak
  • Refreshments can be as simple as store-bought cookies and coffee or as elaborate as you wish, or not at all.

Most important of all, it’s an opportunity for your library supporters (aka patrons or users) to tell their legislators—current and future—that their library is something they value. There are no scripted talking points; everybody says what they want to say or even nothing at all. Just the presence of people in the room makes a statement, so don’t think the shy folks who say nothing are not contributing in an important way—they are.

Friends of Kentucky Libraries supplies all the help it can -

  • Setting up an email group so libraries and Friends chapters can communicate amongst themselves as they plan their M&G events
  • Providing mailing labels for all legislators and candidates and sample invitation letters to be printed on the Friends or library’s letterhead
  • Offering templates for small posters and bookmarks that may be printed and distributed however each library wishes
  • Providing a sample press release for those who wish to use that method of promotion
  • Offering guidance throughout the process, right down to the Thank You letters to send to the legislators, candidates (you never know when they’ll be back again and maybe successful next time), and local officials

We ask only three things:

  1. a headcount for our records
  2. that you be non-partisan in inviting legislators and candidates
  3. that you make a big effort to get your supporters there

The idea is simple and harks back to the famous quote by Congressman Tip O’Neill, “All politics is local.” While healthcare and gun control may dominate the front pages of national newspapers, all politicians still want to hear the daily concerns of their constituents, and here is our chance to tell them that our local libraries are important to our communities.

Meet & Greet Tips:

  • Your Meet and Greet is not a "scripted" event.  Encourage attendees to share personal stories and experiences with legislators. 
  • Be sure to have nametags! 
  • It is helpful to create a simple bookmark or handout with facts about the library such as increases in circulation and meeting room use, summer reading success, computer demand, etc.
  • If your legislator or local official does not have a library card, give them one at the Meet and Greet. 
  • If your legislator or local official is not a member of your local Friends chapter, give them a membership.
  • Meet and Greets don't have to be complicated - do what works best for your library!

 

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