The American Booksellers Association is encouraging members who participated in its first-ever Legislative Day at BookExpo America, as well as those who did not, to follow up with their senators and representatives to encourage support for issues of import to independent booksellers. For those who met with their senators, representatives, or congressional staff, ABA suggests a note of thanks for the meeting would provide the perfect opportunity to reiterate their concerns.
In a letter to participating booksellers, ABA COO Oren Teicher said, "Based on our conversations with booksellers in Washington and after the show, we do understand that there was a wide range of responsiveness at legislators' offices. That's not unusual at all -- and it's one of the things that makes life in Congress so interesting!
"We strongly encourage you to send a short thank-you note on your store's letterhead to the senators, congresspeople, or staff members you met. We'd recommend that you focus on two substantive issues in your follow-up -- small business access to health care and vigilance in the enforcement of the re-enacted Patriot Act."
Teicher also suggested that the thank-you note could serve as a reminder about the "Congressional What Are You Reading?" form that participants left at congressional offices. ABA plans to put together a list of the most-read and most-influential titles on Capitol Hill based on responses to the questionnaire.
ABA is encouraging booksellers who did not participate in Legislative Day to contact their senators and representatives to urge support for these issues and to ask them to complete the "What Are You Reading?" form.
The association has created a sample follow-up letter for participants that can also be adapted by non-participants. Booksellers should be sure to include their store's full name, address, phone number, and other contact information in the letter. Since mail delivery to congressional offices can often be delayed, ABA suggests the letter and form be sent both by fax and by e-mail.
Teicher concluded his letter by noting that ABA was "deeply appreciative of [participants'] willingness to come to Washington earlier than [they] might have otherwise ... We hope you, too, felt that it was a very successful endeavor. Thanks again for joining us, and, please, don't ever hesitate to contact me -- or anyone at ABA -- if we can be of any assistance." --Rosemary Hawkins
(For talking points on the issues of sales tax, small business health plans, and the First Amendment rights, click here.)
Thanks so much for meeting with me when I visited Capitol Hill on Wednesday, May 17, as a part of the American Booksellers Association Legislative Day. I appreciated your time and interest.
I hope I can count on your support to help ensure that small businesses like mine can have access to affordable health care. This is an issue of major importance to us, and we urge you to be a part of the effort to support some compromise legislation this year. In addition, I hope we can count on you to be certain that the public disclosure sections of the recently reenacted USA Patriot Act are enforced, specifically with regard to the timely reporting of Section 215 searches in bookstores and libraries.
I hope you've had a chance to fill out our "What Are Your Reading" questionnaire. (I'm taking the liberty of attaching another copy.) Please return it to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may fax it to (914) 591-2720, attention: Dan Cullen. Thanks!