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2019-2020 MLA Legislative Agenda

Advocacy and Legislative Priorities Survey

We want to hear from you! Share your input on your library's biggest challenges and highest priorities by Friday, February 14.

The Michigan Library Association has made advocacy one of its highest priorities. It has never been more important for librarians, staff members, trustees, and others with a vested interest in their libraries, to convey and address their challenges and successes. We hope you will take time out of your busy day to help us pinpoint the highest priorities that face our field.

Meeting the challenges in 2020 and, more importantly, making real progress for Michigan’s libraries in the long term requires fresh approaches and a pro-active agenda. The following survey (linked below) will be used by the MLA Advocacy and Legislative Committee to prioritize our agenda and will address what you want us to work on in the coming year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but one that has been compiled from concerns that have been shared with us in the last six months. if there are other priorities that you deem worthy, please add them to the list.

By completing the survey you will also be giving MLA valuable information to use at our April 22 Advocacy Day in Lansing. (Don’t forget to mark your calendars and register – see additional article in this newsletter.)

The survey is quick and simple – it will take no more than 10 minutes to fill out and submit. We welcome your feedback and hope to have all responses in hand by Friday, February 14.

Share your input

Major Issues

  • 2019 Appropriations:
    • Request increase of state aid to libraries
  • Prepare for testimony at budget hearing
  • Encourage continued support for Michigan eLibrary.
  • Maintain ability to hold millage elections in key months of August and November.
  • Secure legislation to hold libraries harmless in the event of Narcan administration.
  • Tax Tribunal and Big Box Stores
    • Continue work on a solution to the problems caused by Michigan Tax Tribunals reducing tax obligations that allow thriving big box stores to be taxed at the same rate as closed-down, abandoned stores.
    • Legislative changes to nonprofit status and tax exemption for medical and other businesses.
      • Monitor and reverse efforts to implement tax exemptions for medical and other businesses.
  • Penal Fines
    • Monitor and reverse any efforts to provide legislation for county parallel ordinances and other methods to siphon this funding.
  • Tax Increment Financing Authorities, Brownfields, etc.
    • Monitor legislation to ensure elimination of automatic tax captures


  • Look for options to secure funding for libraries’ participation in early childhood education.
  • Develop and administer political candidate questionnaire and encourage libraries to engage with candidates.
  • Watch for opportunities to partner with ALA or others on moving open access legislation forward.

Member Advocacy Development

Continue to motivate, mentor and assist library directors and trustees to build relationships with legislators on an ongoing basis. Educate members about best practices for working with a legislator to change laws and things that should be taken into conversation.

  • Encourage every library director to contact his/her legislators, offer to host office hours
  • Encourage directors to contact their legislators in support of appropriations goals.
  • Include a legislative update at the MLA Executive Summit
  • Thank legislators when they vote favorable for issues/appropriations affecting libraries.
  • Actively motivate, mentor and assist library directors and trustees to build relationships with legislators on an ongoing basis, e.g.:
    • Ask every library director to contact his/her legislators, with a special focus on those who are newly elected
    • Ask to complete a survey form so we can track who has and has not been contacted.
    • Invite legislators to participate in an April National Library Week event in their home district
    • Encourage all public library directors to invite legislators to summer reading kickoff programs
    • Consider some type of legislative connection for Annual Conference this year since it will be held in Lansing.

Uniting the Michigan Library Community

MLA is proud to partner with organizations serving the library community.