Resources Available to Support Booksellers’ Advocacy Efforts

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With the midterm elections serving as a reminder of the necessity of civic engagement, booksellers can take advantage of resources provided by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and Advocates for Independent Business (AIB) as they continue in their advocacy efforts and begin building relationships with newly elected officials.

The Local Policy Action Toolkit created by ILSR and AIB, of which the American Booksellers Association is a founding member, offers independent business owners and retailers tools to advocate for local policies that support local economies.

According to ILSR, “Public policy needs to work better for local economies, and independent businesses can play in important role in making that happen. One way for independent businesses to do this is by meeting with local officials, which can help build the mindset that independent businesses matter and that local policy must level an otherwise uneven playing field.”

The toolkit offers tips on “How to Engage with Your Local Elected Officials,” aimed at helping independent business owners engage with their elected officials and to persuade these policymakers to adopt policies that strengthen and grow local businesses.

The Toolkit also contains a standalone guide entitled Local Policy Matters: How to Grow Independent Businesses in Your City, which is directed at policymakers.

The two-page “Why Care about Independent, Locally Owned Businesses?” handout provides evidence on the value of locally owned businesses to communities. Another section of the kit, “9 Policies Your City Can Adopt to Grow Independent Businesses,” outlines common challenges that impede independent businesses and offers a corresponding set of proven policy solutions that cities can enact to address those challenges.

ABA’s online advocacy resources provide another way to ensure that your voice is heard. Booksellers can enter their state to access template letters to send to their decision-makers on a variety of policy issues including antitrust and access to capital.