MLA 2021 Capitol Hill Meetings
In May 2021, as part of MLA ’21, MLA members are invited to conduct virtual meetings with their elected officials and their congressional staff as part of a group advocacy effort of health sciences librarians across the United States. This website provides information, tools, and resources to support MLA members’ efforts to engage in successful meetings.
The Governmental Relations Committee will support members’ advocacy efforts by
- offering a series of informational sessions via Zoom through December 2020–May 2021
- providing links to MLA statements and other helpful resources addressing relevant issues
- developing handouts that members can use in their meetings
- featuring tips for scheduling and planning the meetings
Capitol Hill Meetings will take place between May 10-21, 2021.
Why meet with your congressional representatives?
These meetings give you the opportunity to educate and communicate with your elected officials and their staff about issues of importance to the health sciences library community. For example, this is a chance for you to talk with your officials about the importance of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and how it helps your library, users, and local community.
Here is what one MLA member had to say about their 2010 Capitol Hill Day experience:
“I think my visits were a success! I’d do this again in a minute. It was fun and exhilarating. Considering I’m a political junkie, this was a fun way to support the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and NLM’s programs and services. I think I’ve found another committee calling in MLA! The briefings held beforehand were invaluable. I felt that with a few talking points and doing a little homework before the scheduled visits, I could talk with members of Congress about issues that matter to health sciences libraries. My hope was to help our constituents and colleagues with more funding from Congress. Thank you for the opportunity to educate Congress on behalf of the health sciences library community.”
Interested in getting involved?
Sign up to learn more here.
MLA Priorities for May 2021 Meetings
National Library of Medicine Funding
Funding for NLM connects health practitioners and the public with the health literature. NLM coordinates a 8,000-member Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM), including 7 Regional Medical Libraries that receive NLM support, 125 resource libraries connected to medical schools, and more than 5,000 libraries located primarily in hospitals and clinics.
Libraries benefit from NLM funding that supports the development and maintenance of the library's 200+ databases and online services that are freely available (e.g., MedlinePlus and Clinical Trials.gov). NLM grants and funding also support librarian education and training for career development; regional funding through NNLM for outreach initiatives; and research grants to improve the dissemination, management, and use of biomedical information.
Between 2016-2021, the RMLs awarded more than 1,338 sub-awards to NNLM members. The RMLs, in collaboration with funded NNLM members, conducted more than 10,000 training events and other outreach and engagement activities reaching more than 108,000 health professionals, librarians, and members of the public.
Relevant to NLM and NIH Funding MLA priorities for May 2021 meetings will urge support for
- health information equity and relevant National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources, and
- pandemic relief for hospitals and academic health centers
Health Information Equity
As health sciences librarians, we understand the importance of accessible and trustworthy health information to creating a more just and equitable society. Misinformation disproportionately impacts communities with limited health resources, and issues like the digital divide and low health literacy are barriers to informed health decisions. The National Library of Medicine and other organizations provide essential resources that health sciences librarians share with their communities to advance health information equity.
Pandemic Relief for Hospitals and Academic Health Centers
COVID-19 has been a challenge for all hospitals and academic health centers, especially financially, as elective procedures were cancelled for months while health care providers coped with the influx of COVID-19 patients. As the nation recovers from the pandemic, hospital and academic health centers need support in order to prevent cuts to health information services and other key support functions. Relief funding for hospitals and academic health centers is crucial to keep America’s health infrastructure intact.
Resources for Planning Meetings
- Email Template
- Cover Letter Template
- Procedures for Scheduling Meetings
- Additional Tips for Scheduling Your Meetings
- Meeting Talking Points
- List of State Coordinators and Participants
- Below is a list of House and Senate Committees that make decisions regarding either federal agencies that provide health information, such as NLM, or regarding health policies that have an impact on health sciences libraries and their work. These websites include listing of the committee and subcommittee members, the committee’s responsibilities and scope of work, and recent committee actions.
- Committee on Appropriations
- Committee on Energy and Commerce
- Committee on Appropriations
- Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP)
After Your Meetings
- Please complete this Congressional Meetings Feedback Google Survey
- If you cannot access the google form, please download this offline version of the survey, complete it, and email it to Mary Langman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Send an email thanking the Congressional staff member you met with and share additional follow up information discussed in your meeting
- This pdf includes the following fact sheets:
- NLM Infographic
- NLM Fact Sheet
- COVID-19 Fact Sheet
- Health Information Equity Fact Sheet
- NNLM state profiles (funding by state--download to access your state map)
Virtual Orientations Schedule
Orientations take place on Zoom. Mary Langman will post login information a few weeks before each session.
- December 10, 2020, noon–1:00 p.m., central time
- February 17, 2021, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m., central time
- March 16, 2021, 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m., central time (session for state coordinators)
- April 22, 2021, 1:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m., central time
- Recording (video)
Please contact any of these members of the Planning Committee with questions or feedback:
- Maggie Ansell, AHIP, Cochair, Governmental Relations Committee
- Andy Hickner, AHIP, Cochair, Governmental Relations Committee
- Sandra Bandy, AHIP, Chair, MLA/AAHSL Legislation Committee
- Chris Shaffer, AHIP, President, Association of Academic Health Sciences Libraries
- Mary Langman, Director, Information Issues and Policy, MLA