ILA supports efforts of advocacy for the mission of Iowa libraries.  Whether it’s public libraries, K-12 libraries, college/university libraries, or special libraries like the State Library of Iowa. ILA endeavors to defend challenges to intellectual freedom and the Freedom to Read, while also advocating for critical funding, access to information, local control, and the importance of teacher-librarians in every school.  

The Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Governmental Affairs Committee have long been part of ILA’s framework and diligently work to provide support and resources to Iowa libraries.  Access to assistance, workshops, strategies, and templates are offered not only in reaction to immediate needs, but also as proactive opportunities. 


Iowa Library Association Statement on HF 718 in Regard to Library Levies

The Iowa Library Association urges Iowa communities and local government officials to discuss the levy bill-related changes that will diminish and harm library services throughout the state.

In order to create the necessary pressure to sustainably fund library services, ILA implores library supporters to:

  • email their City Council members
  • call their Library Board of Trustee members
  • participate in library advocacy initiatives

In Iowa, special levies are taxes that have been petitioned for and then passed by local citizens through an election. A special levy specifically ties the funds to a particular purpose, like supporting local libraries. Special levies represent the will of the people. Of all the special levies approved by Iowa citizens, library levies have been the second most heavily utilized.

In the fiscal year ending in 2023, 97 Iowa communities benefited from special library levies. Those levies guaranteed funds for libraries that could not legally be allocated to any other purpose. Some of these libraries depend heavily on library levies for their operational budgets. Iowa libraries are connected through collaborative services, like sharing databases and materials. When one library loses funding, it negatively impacts every library in the state.

This year, the state legislature passed a property tax reform package to reduce property tax bills across the state. One of the provisions of the bill, known as HF 718, combines 15 of the state’s individual levies into a single general levy. With the passage of HF 718, funds will be collected as part of the general levy but can no longer be guaranteed for a special purpose — like the library.

This bill stripped Iowans of their right to grow library services through local elections. In addition, Iowa communities were stripped of the budget they were legally pledged and no longer have guaranteed funding. Other communities no longer have the ability to locally petition for a library-directed levy.

Library funding is an access and freedom issue that impacts all. Fewer resources mean fewer books and ebooks, less programming, and diminished return on Iowans’ investment in libraries. The voices of the people must be heard. Iowans must speak loudly to ensure library services do not suffer as they compete for limited funds.

Letter to the Iowa Department of Education regarding Senate File 496

The Iowa Association of School Librarians and Iowa Library Association have identified logistical and practical matters which must be addressed in order to adhere with emerging law through Senate File 496. Read the full letter here.

Statement on

Iowa Library Association calls on Iowans to remember our historic values for broad informational access and intellectual freedom and to continue to lean into the work we do together to promote literacy, learning, and free inquiry. ILA urges Iowans to support their local board members and commissioners in their efforts to safeguard free speech. ILA implores Iowans to tell their elected officials that they trust the representational stewardship provided by library workers through essential library services. ILA asks Iowans to stand united against book bans by utilizing their libraries for their educational, social, and entertainment goals. 

Iowa Library Association calls on its membership, partners, advocates, and all concerned with the future of free people reading freely to exercise their right to read, to access information, and to demand the right of Iowans to govern themselves through local control of library governance.

Click here to read the full statement.

Legislative Action Days

February: Lobby from Home Day

Each year in February, the ILA conducts a "Lobby from Home Day" where we urge all members and library supporters to contact your state legislator to say "Thank You" and to remind them how important you library is to your community! Legislators love hearing from local constituents even more than from librarians!  Find a way to get your patrons involved for 2024! Check out ILA's Lobby From Home Guide to see how it works!

March: ILA Advocacy Day 

Each year in March, the Iowa Library Association holds a reception in the State Capitol's Law Library. This time is an opportunity for members to reach out to legislators in person and discuss library-relevant issues and legislation that impacts library funding. Check back on our website at the beginning of the year for dates and details.



The Iowa Library Association Libraries Transform Taskforce created six “because” statement postcards focusing on issues related to Iowa libraries for you to use as advocacy tools to help communicate the importance of libraries to stakeholders in your communities.

ILA encourages you to use these “because” statements as a story starters to share the impact your library has to the community, its citizens, city leaders, and constituents. Visit Libraries Transform to get involved with this campaign.

You'll get access to downloadable marketing materials, helpful tips for using the Libraries Transform campaign locally, and updates about the campaign from the American Library Association. Here’s a quick video to get you started with the toolkit: