What is a Political Action Committee (PAC)? A PAC is a legal mechanism for individuals to combine their financial resources in order to elect those who support the interests of the PAC. By contributing to a PAC, library supporters in New York can play a role in electing to state offices people who are willing to commit their full support to libraries.
Doesn’t a library PAC conflict with the perception that libraries are neutral places? While libraries as institutions must remain neutral, library supporters should not be expected to be neutral. Many trustees and library staff currently contribute to individual poltical candidates and parties for a number of reasons – the library’s neutrality is not questioned.
Isn’t advocating for libraries the job of organizations such as the New York Library Association and the New York State Association of Library Boards? 501(c)3 organizations are restricted by IRS regulations from making financial contributions to candidates.
Will this mean that local library supporters won’t have to talk to legislators any more? Not at all! It’s critical for you to meet with your state legislators; grassroots advocacy is the best advocacy asset we have. The NY4BL PAC is just one more tool to support grassroots library advocacy.
Who is on the Steering Committee? Proven library leaders with experience in advocacy for libraries. The Steering Committee members believe in this concept so much that they are each contributing a minimum of $250 annually as well as their time to run the PAC.
Can my library contribute? Tax dollars cannot be accepted. Donations can be personal and/or corporate.
To whom does the NY4BL PAC contribute? Contributions are focused on members of the New York State Senate and Assembly who have worked to increase state support for libraries. All donations are reported to the New York State Board of Elections, and can be viewed here.