Even in this age of electronic communication, writing a personal letter is still one of the most effective ways to reach an elected official. Taking the time to write about an issue shows you care deeply.

A strong letter might include the following:

  • A show of thanks for your legislator's time and support of libraries - use your own words to get your message across. Don't copy a form letter, or even parts of one! When you make the letter entirely your own, your thoughts and convictions will show your sincerity and concern. Remember, you are the expert on libraries. Share your experiences.
  • An invitation - invite your legislator and government staff to use your library as a place for listening sessions, press conferences, or meetings with constituents.
  • A clearly stated positionsay exactly what it is that you want your legislator or government official to do. If possible, refer to the issue you're writing about by its official title (such as "Senate Bill 259"). It is best to write about only one proposed law (bill) or issue in each letter.
  • Encouragement to stay connected and knowledgeable - ask your legislator to sign up for your library's e-newsletter or follow you on social media. 
  • Personal experience and stories - legislators want to know how issues affect you, your family, your library and your community, and they learn this from you! Give your letter a personal touch to emphasize the importance and relevancy of key issues. 

And remember!

  • Send your letter in time to affect your legislator's decision.
  • Make sure your letter is easy to read.
  • Sign your full name and address so the legislator or other government official can reply to you.
  • Ask the official to state his/her position on the issue in a reply to you.
  • Address the government official correctly:

The Honorable (name of official)
State Senator (or, State Representative)
(or, Governor of Wisconsin)
State Capitol
Madison, WI Zip Code

Your letter should begin:

Dear Governor (or Senator) (or Representative) (last name):
Appointed officials are also addressed as "The Honorable
with "Mr. or Ms." as the correct title.