LLA's 2017 Day at the Capitol will be held on Wednesday, April 12th.
Come by the Louisiana Library Association table at the State Capitol during the legislative session this year. This event will be a great opportunity for you to meet your Legislators and be the voice for libraries and the library profession. Please find more information LLA’s 2017 Legislative Day at the Capitol below:
Quick FactsKey Issues
PLEASE NOTE THAT THERE IS A CHANGE TO THE AGENDA
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Volunteers gather in the rotunda and receive instructions and general information and assist with information and handouts.
- Other LLA members sign in, pick up LLA button and handouts at table, and visit Committee Proceedings if there are any.
- LLA members will visit legislators as they prepare for afternoon sessions and visit Senate and/or House Chambers to view sessions in progress.
- Depending on when each chamber ends its afternoon session, LLA members visit with representatives or senators as possible or by pre-arrangement, which we strongly encourage.
Parking & Other Information
Want to see a map of downtown Baton Rouge and directions to the Capitol? Click on the link below.
Parking is available in the Louisiana Welcome Center parking garage, only a block from the Capitol. It is located on the right side of North Street, between Lafayette St. and River Road. Walk through the A.Z. Young Park between the Welcome Center and the Pentagon Barracks to get to the Capitol. The Bienville Parking Garage on the southwest corner of North & 3rd streets may have some free spaces. The Main St. Market parking garage is about 3-4 blocks from the Capitol on North St. A few other surface parking lots are available along North and Main streets. Note for those familiar with the area: Parking in Spanish Town is now limited to vehicles of Spanish Town residents with a permit. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE CAR POOLING!
The Capitol can be accessed through a number of entrances. Most utilized are those on the basement (street) level. Entrance to the building can also be obtained at the top of the steps. Entrance into the Capitol from any outside location is controlled. It is very similar to entering the secure areas at an airport. Security guards are located at the basement level entrances. Each visitor is required to move through a metal detection device and will be asked to check personal items such as keys, cell phones, purses, etc. These items will be returned after passing through the metal detector.
Rest room facilities are located in the Louisiana Welcome Center and in the Capitol. Capitol restrooms are located on the basement (street) level through the brass doors into the elevator area. They are located on the left before reaching the bank of elevators and across from the cafeteria. There is another set of rest rooms on the first floor. They are located on the side of the bank of elevators.
Access to the House and Senate chambers is through the rotunda. When facing the elevators, the Senate chamber is to the left, and the House chamber is to the right. Proceedings can be observed from galleries that are located above the chambers. Getting to the galleries requires climbing a flight of stairs.
General Information for the Day
Dress professionally (not necessarily formally, but appropriately, to make a good impression); wear a medium or light blue jacket or shirt, if possible. Wear comfortable shoes. When you arrive at the Capitol, report to the LLA table. It will be on the House side of the rotunda, which is on the right side if you walk up the front steps, and on the left if you use the elevator and enter the rotunda from the hall. The easiest way to get into the Capitol is through one of the side entrances on the lower level. Walk around the steps and you will see the double doors. You will go through a security check when you enter. Take the elevator up to the next level. Pick up an LLA button and other information at the table. Meeting schedules will be available for viewing at the table.
LLA has prepared a packet with information on Louisiana libraries for each legislator. The packet was pre-delivered to legislators along with a letter inviting them to stop by our table in the rotunda. You will have copies of the print materials legislators receive, so you may use it in having discussions with them,
Contacting A Legislator While at the Capitol
If you arrive in the morning and attend any committee meeting in session, there may be an opportunity to speak with one or more members in the hall or room before or following meetings. Members of the public are not allowed behind the railings in committee rooms in the House and Senate Chambers. All communication is handled by Sergeants-at-Arm who are stationed in the rooms.
If you see any members in the hall, you may approach them. Be sensitive to what they are doing and to their body language. Do not interrupt if they are engaged in a discussion with their colleagues or other people; but if you stand to the side, you may have an opportunity to engage them afterward. Introduce yourself and identify where you work.
Tell them you are present at the Legislature with LLA today and let them know we appreciate their ongoing support that will help libraries continue doing the best job possible for the citizens of Louisiana (or mention the specific group[s] you work with.) Legislators generally have a very hectic schedule so don’t expect a long conversation. Be prepared for a short and cordial conversation.
Smile! This is not the time to bend their ears with your pet peeves or problems. Tell them something good about your library – some successful program, usage is up—something to show success or relevance. If you have learned about a particular legislator’s own priorities or issues, whether from browsing his/her own website or from other means, you might be able to share how your library is working to address those needs or offer your assistance for the future.
You can mention the challenges you face in meeting some specific, serious needs; but if you have something more serious to discuss, ask them if there is a time later in the day when you could talk to them or how best to follow up at a later time. Emphasize your appreciation for their service in the legislature, and your desire to help improve your local town, university, school or whatever you represent for the betterment of Louisiana. Positive strokes work wonders; complaints and accusations do the opposite!
Contacting a Legislator during a General House or Senate Session
When the House and Senate are in a general session, you may quietly enter the Chamber and take a seat at the rear or along the side gallery or in the balcony. You may also ask one of the staff members on duty for a card on which you can write a short note to your representative or senator to let him/her know you are there. If you do that, stand at the rear so he/she can easily see you.** If there are several from your parish, only one note is necessary; just mention that a small group is there and would like to say “hello” if possible. Your representative may or may not respond, depending on what business is happening at that time; most will attempt to, if possible.
**If all gallery seats are taken, you might not be allowed to stand in chambers. The Sergeant at Arms may request that you wait in the chamber foyer or immediately outside.
If you made contact with any legislator, please indicate that to staff manning the LLA table, along with your comments, suggestions, or leads for the future. Following Legislative Day, thank the legislators you were able to meet with and mention again the specific issue(s) you discussed. If you miss your legislators, send an email expressing your regret that you were unable to speak with them thanking them for their work and for their ongoing support for libraries. If you connected with their Aides, follow up with a “thank you” to them as well as your offer to assist them in the future.