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What does your student-centered lens on library practice look like?


Perhaps you, too, have been following some of the recent instances of student shaming and blaming. I’m referring particularly to the piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education in which the author suggests a fictional student is lying about a grandmother’s death as a way to get out of finals. I’m also referring to the … Continue reading What does your student-centered lens on library practice look like? →

Libraries across the U.S. are Ready to Code

ALA District Dispatch -

This post was originally published on Google’s blog The Keyword.

“It always amazes me how interested both parents and kids are in coding, and how excited they become when they learn they can create media on their own–all by using code.” – Emily Zorea, Youth Services Librarian, Brewer Public Library

Emily Zorea is not a computer scientist. She’s a Youth Services Librarian at the Brewer Public Library in Richland Center, Wisconsin, but when she noticed that local students were showing an interest in computer science (CS), she started a coding program at the library. Though she didn’t have a CS background, she understood that coding, collaboration and creativity were critical skills for students to approach complex problems and improve the world around them. Because of Emily’s work, the Brewer Public Library is now Ready to Code. At the American Library Association, we want to give librarians like Emily the opportunity to teach these skills, which is why we are thrilled to partner with Google on the next phase of the Libraries Ready to Code initiative — a $500,000 sponsorship from Google to develop a coding toolkit and make critical skills more accessible for students across 120,000 libraries in the U.S.

Libraries will receive funding, consulting expertise, and operational support from Google to pilot a CS education toolkit that equips any librarian with the ability to implement a CS education program for kids. The resources aren’t meant to transform librarians into expert programmers but will support them with the knowledge and skills to do what they do best: empower youth to learn, create, problem solve, and develop the confidence and future skills to succeed in their future careers.

For libraries, by libraries
Librarians and staff know what works best for their communities, so we will rely on them to help us develop the toolkit. This summer a cohort of libraries will receive coding resources, like CS First, a free video-based coding club that doesn’t require CS knowledge, to help them facilitate CS programs. Then we’ll gather feedback from the cohort so that we can build a toolkit that is useful and informative for other libraries who want to be Ready to Code. The cohort will also establish a community of schools and libraries who value coding, and will use their knowledge and expertise to help that community.

Critical thinking skills for the future
Though every student who studies code won’t become an engineer, critical thinking skills are essential in all career paths. That is why Libraries Ready to Code also emphasizes computational thinking, a basic set of problem-solving skills, in addition to code, that is at the heart of connecting the libraries’ mission of fostering critical thinking with computer science.

“Ready to Code means having the resources available so that if someone is interested in coding or wants to explore it further they are able to. Knowing where to point youth can allow them to begin enjoying and exploring coding on their own.”- Jason Gonzales, technology specialist, Muskogee Public Library

Many of our library educators, like Jason Gonzales, a technology specialist at the Muskogee Public Library, already have exemplary programs that combine computer science and computational thinking. His community is located about 50 miles outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma, so the need for new programming was crucial, given that most youth are not able to travel to the city to pursue their interests. When students expressed an overwhelming interest in video game design, he knew what the focus of a new summer coding camp would be. Long-term, he hopes students will learn more digital literacy skills so they are comfortable interacting with technology and applying it to other challenges now and in the future.

From left to right: Jessie ‘Chuy’ Chavez of Google, Inc. with Marijke Visser and Alan Inouye of ALA’s OITP at the Google Chicago office.

When the American Library Association and Google announced the Libraries Ready to Code initiative last year, it began as an effort to learn about CS activities, like the ones that Emily and Jason led. We then expanded to work with university faculty at Library and Information Science (LIS) schools to integrate CS content their tech and media courses. Our next challenge is scaling these successes to all our libraries, which is where our partnership with Google, and the development of a toolkit, becomes even more important. Keep an eye out in July for a call for libraries to participate in developing the toolkit. We hope it will empower any library, regardless of geography, expertise, or affluence to provide access to CS education and ultimately, skills that will make students successful in the future.

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House expected to approve CTE reauthorization

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Perkins CTE Program helps library patrons thrive in 21st Century Economy

Libraries play numerous roles in communities across the country, working generally to meet the needs of their patrons at every life stage. Whether providing high-speed broadband access to rural and urban communities alike, running youth reading sessions and book clubs, teaching computer literacy to patrons seeking to learn new skills or aiding small businesses, libraries serve as learning centers helping patrons along their career paths.

Libraries also play a valuable and specific role in supporting and working to improve secondary and postsecondary Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs funded by the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act (“Perkins Act”), the federal bill which governs the more than $1 billion in federal funding for career and technical education activities across the country. Such programs help equip youth and adults with the academic, technical and employability skills and knowledge needed to secure employment in today’s high-growth industries. In so doing, libraries help close the “skills gap” and expand economic opportunity to more communities across the nation. Some libraries work directly with their state labor and employment offices to implement CTE programs which receive Federal funding.

Libraries and certified librarians also provide valuable CTE resources, equipment, technology, instructional aids, and publications designed to strengthen and foster academic and technical skills achievement. In many communities, libraries play a significant role in career and technical development. Often the library is the only place where patrons can access the high-speed broadband vital to those working to apply for jobs, research careers, and towards enhanced certification and training.

As early as this week, the House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation reauthorizing the Perkins Act, which was originally adopted in 1984. ALA recently submitted a letter to the House Committee on Education and Workforce supporting this bi-partisan legislation: the Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), which was approved by the Committee on June 6.

The House timed the vote on the reauthorization to occur during the National Week of Making spearheaded by the Congressional Maker Caucus. The week highlights the growing maker movement across the country.

We’ve been here before, however, as the House passed similar legislation in 2016 only to see reauthorization of the Perkins program stall in the Senate, where a companion bill has yet to be introduced. Unfortunately, the President’s budget seeks to cut $168.1 million from the Perkins CTE State Grant program, which had previously received $1.118 billion in funding for FY15, FY16 and FY17. ALA will continue work to support robust funding for CTE programs and, if the House acts favorably, to urge the Senate to follow its lead and promptly reauthorize the Perkins Act.

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ALA celebrates World Wi-Fi Day

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Among all their other functions in our communities, libraries are critical spaces for people to access the internet, and they are increasingly doing so wirelessly via Wi-Fi.

Virtually all public libraries in the U.S. provide Wi-Fi to patrons. By doing so, libraries serve as community technology hubs that enable digital opportunity and full participation in the nation’s economy. Wi-Fi is a critical part of how libraries are transforming our programs and services in the digital age.

June 20th was World Wi-Fi Day, a global initiative helping to bridge the digital divide as well as recognizing and celebrating the role of Wi-Fi in cities and communities around the world. In Washington, D.C., the WifiForward Coalition—of which ALA is a founding member—held a kick off celebration at the Consumer Technology Association’s Innovation House off of Capitol Hill. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Federal Communications Commissioner Michael O’Rielly were on hand to expound on the wonders of Wi-Fi and to voice their support for policies that would help its growth and success.

ALA added the following statement to materials for World Wi-Fi Day:

“With Wi-Fi, our nation’s 120,000 libraries are able to dramatically increase our capacity to connect people of all incomes and backgrounds to the Internet beyond our public desktop computers. Wi-Fi allows us to serve more people anywhere in the library, as well as enabling mobile technology training labs, roving reference, access to diverse digital collections and pop-up library programs and services. Library wi-fi is essential to support The E’s of Libraries®—Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment and Engagement—on campuses and in communities nationwide. The American Library Association is proud to be a supporter of World Wi-Fi Day.”

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Librarian speaks with Rep. Eshoo at net neutrality roundtable

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“There’s nothing broken about existing net neutrality rules that needs to be fixed,” opined Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA-18) at a roundtable she convened in her district to discuss the impacts of the policy and the consequences of gutting it. Director of the Redwood City Public Library Derek Wolfgram joined Chris Riley, director of Public Policy at Mozilla; Gigi Sohn, former counselor to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler; Andrew Scheuermann, CEO and co-founder of Arch Systems; Evan Engstrom, executive director of Engine; Vlad Pavlov, CEO and co-founder of rollApp; Nicola Boyd, co-founder of VersaMe; and Vishy Venugopalan, vice president of Citi Ventures in the discussion.

On May 18, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai began the process of overturning critical net neutrality rules—which ensure internet service providers must treat all internet traffic the same—a move which the assembled panelists agreed would hurt businesses and consumers. The Congresswoman singled out anchor institutions—libraries and schools in particular—as important voices in the current discussion because libraries are “there for everyone.”

Having seen the impacts of the digital divide in my own community, I felt that it was very important to highlight the value of net neutrality in breaking down barriers, rather than creating new ones, for families and small businesses to connect with educational resources, employment access and opportunities for innovation.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to contribute a library perspective to Congresswoman Eshoo’s roundtable discussion on net neutrality,” said Wolfgram. “The Congresswoman clearly understands the value of libraries as ‘anchor institutions’ in this country’s educational infrastructure and recognizes the potential consequences of the erosion of equitable access to information if net neutrality were to be eliminated. Having seen the impacts of the digital divide in my own community, I felt that it was very important to highlight the value of net neutrality in breaking down barriers, rather than creating new ones, for families and small businesses to connect with educational resources, employment access and opportunities for innovation.”

In his comments to the roundtable, Wolfgram identified two reasons strong, enforceable net neutrality rules are core to libraries’ public missions: preserving intellectual freedom and promoting equitable access to information. The Redwood City Library connects patrons to all manner of content served by the internet and many of these content providers, he fears, would not have the financial resources to compete against corporate content providers. Without net neutrality, high-quality educational resources could be relegated to second tier status.

Like so many libraries across the country, the Redwood City Library provides low-cost access to the internet for members of the community who otherwise couldn’t connect. Students, even in the heart of Silicon Valley, depend on library-provided WiFi sitting in cars outside the library to get their work done, said Wolfgram. Redwood City Library has recently started loaning internet hot spots, focusing on school-age children and families in an effort to bridge this gap.

“I would hate to see this big step forward, then the students get second-class access or don’t have a full connection to the resources they need,” said Wolfgram. “The internet should contribute to the empowerment of all.”

Congresswoman Eshoo agreed, calling the current net neutrality rules, “a celebration of the First Amendment.”

Former FCC official Sohn indicated the stakes are even higher. At issue, she said, is whether the FCC will have any role in overseeing the dominant communications network of our lifetimes. The FCC’s current proposal puts at risk subsidies for providing broadband to rural residents and people with low incomes through the Lifeline program. It is, as one panelist commented, like “replacing the real rules with no rules.”

The panel concluded with a call to action and a reminder of how public comment matters: the FCC has to follow a rulemaking process and future legal challenges will depend on the robust record developed now. “It’s essential to build a record to win,” Sohn said.

And she’s right. On June 9, we published guidance on how you can comment at the FCC on why net neutrality matters to your library. You can also blog, tweet, post and talk to your community about the importance of net neutrality and show the overwhelming support for this shared public platform.

Rep. Eshoo’s office reached out to ALA to identify a librarian to participate in her roundtable. ALA, on behalf of the library community, deeply appreciates the invitation and her continuing support of libraries and the public interest.

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Peer Coaching for Professional Learning


ACRLog welcomes a guest post from Marisa Méndez-Brady, Science Librarian, and Jennifer Bonnet, Social Sciences & Humanities Librarian, at the University of Maine. Finding the time and resources to devote to professional learning can be a challenge, especially at institutions that are less geographically proximate to the broader library community. The University of Maine is … Continue reading Peer Coaching for Professional Learning →

ALA hosts librarians from Kazakhstan

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ALA Washington was delighted to welcome an international delegation of librarians from the Republic of Kazakhstan.

For the second time in my first five months on staff with ALA Washington, we welcomed an international delegation of librarians. Alan Inouye, Shawnda Hines, our summer Google Fellow Alisa Holahan and I were delighted to spend an hour of our morning with a group of librarians from the Republic of Kazakhstan, including:

Chocolate presented to the ALA Washington Office from the Kazakhstani delegation.

Especially for a new librarian like myself, these visits are unmatched opportunities to gain exposure to the wide range of priorities and experiences in the international library field. It is also an excellent prompt to learn more about countries I have not personally visited. (Do you know what the Kazakhstan national anthem sounds like?) The Kazakhstani librarians also brought chocolate, which was a delicious surprise.

Delegations are invited to the U.S. via the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. For yesterday’s visit, our Kazakhstani friends indicated in advance that they wanted to cover the following topics:

  • The wide variety of U.S. libraries
  • Policy-making for programs and activities in American libraries
  • The role and functions of libraries and information specialists in U.S. society
  • Information technology in libraries, including online and digital services
  • Maker spaces

During our exchange, we touched on the variety of libraries in America as well as policy-making in today’s political climate, but we did not have time to cover maker spaces or information technology. The delegation was particularly interested in the structure and management of ALA and our state chapters. They shared their own experiences starting a federation of provincial libraries during the economic recession of 2008 and expressed interest in continuing to grow this new league of professionals.

The delegation plans to make several stops in Washington this week and will join the Annual meeting in Chicago to observe and learn more about American libraries, information professionals, and the management and structure of ALA.

I know I speak for my colleagues in saying that we thoroughly enjoyed our time together and that we look forward to next Wednesday when a delegation from Ethiopia will join us for what is sure to be another illuminating conversation.

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Colorado copyright conference turns five

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University of Colorado’s campus in Colorado Springs.

I had the great honor of being asked to speak about federal copyright at the Kraemer Copyright Conference at the University of Colorado (UCCS) in beautiful Colorado Springs. This locally produced and funded conference is now in its fifth year and has grown in popularity. No longer a secret, registration maxes out at 200, making the conference friendly, relaxed and relevant for all that attend.

And who attends? A growing number of primarily academic librarians responsible for their respective institutions’ copyright programs and education efforts. This job responsibility for librarians has grown significantly – in 1999 there were only two librarians in higher education with a copyright title. Now there are hundreds of copyright librarians, which is great because who other than librarians—devoted to education, learning, the discovery and sharing of information—should lead copyright efforts? (Remember! The purpose of the copyright law is to advance learning through the broad dissemination of copyright protected works.)

The conference is the brainchild of Carla Myers, a former winner of the Robert L. Oakley copyright scholarship and the scholarly communications librarian at the University of Miami who previously worked at UCCS. Funded by the Kraemer Family, conference registration is free – you just have to get there. (For the last two years, ALA has been one of the co-sponsors).

My assignment was to provide an update on copyright issues currently of attention in Congress. Registrants were most interested in pending legislation regarding the appointment of the next Copyright Register, which would move that responsibility from Librarian of Congress to the President. The new administration’s budget proposals for Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has directed more attention than ever to the political environment of the Nation’s capital, and librarians have been more active in library advocacy.

There are rumors afoot that another regionally based copyright conference is being planned, which would be a welcome addition and contribution to the administration and study of libraries and the copyright law.

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You Are What is Killing Librarianship


Last week I had a conversation with a colleague at a different academic library about potential large-scale (read: scary) changes to our information literacy instruction program models. We talked through rationale, pain-points, and strategies for cultivating buy-in from our colleagues. At a certain point in our discussion, we recognized that this was going to be a … Continue reading You Are What is Killing Librarianship →

Washington Office at Annual 2017: “catalyzing” change in communities and Congress

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ALA’s Office of Government Relations (OGR) in Washington is pleased to present at ALA’s upcoming Annual Conference in Chicago two important, but very different, perspectives on how libraries and librarians can succeed in producing positive change. Both sessions will take place in the Conference Center on the morning of Saturday, June 24.

The first, from 8:30 – 10:00am, is titled “Be A Catalyst: Your Portfolio of Resources to Create Catalytic Change in Communities” (Room MCP W176a). It will feature Institute of Museum and Library Services Director Dr. Kathryn (“Kit”) Matthew, Kresge Foundation President Rip Rapson and Barbara Bartle, President of the Lincoln Community Foundation in discussion of how institutions can best leverage federal investments and their own assets through collaboration to be “enablers of community vitality and co-creators of positive community change.”

The second program, “Make Some Noise! A How-To Guide to Effective Federal Advocacy in Challenging Times”, will run from 10:30 to 11:30am (Room MCP W178b). Sponsored by ALA’s Committee on Legislation (COL), the session will be a fast-paced, practical discussion of what works in motivating members of Congress (and, for that matter, all elected policy makers) to support libraries and the issues we champion in Washington and outside the Beltway alike.

Incoming COL Chair (and Director of Library Journal’s 2017 Library of the Year in Nashville, TN) Kent Oliver will be joined by Georgia State Librarian (and COSLA Legislative Co-Chair) Julie Walker and Virginia Library Association Executive Director Lisa Varga. They’ll share their recent experiences in the ongoing Fight for Libraries! campaign for federal funding, and from decades of successful library advocacy in the “real world.” The program – which also will offer lots of audience “Q&A” opportunities – will be moderated by OGR Managing Director Adam Eisgrau.

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Washington Office at Annual 2017: Libraries #ReadytoCode

ALA District Dispatch -

The #ReadytoCode team is building off our Phase I project report to address some of the recommendations on support, resources and capacity school and public libraries need to get their libraries Ready to Code.

Are you tracking what’s going on with coding in libraries? OITP’s Libraries #ReadytoCode initiative is in full swing and if you haven’t heard, you can find out more in Chicago.

The Ready to Code team is building off our Phase I project report to address some of the recommendations on support, resources and capacity school and public libraries need to get their libraries Ready to Code.

Get Your Library #ReadytoCode (Sunday, June 25, 1-2:30 p.m.)
Get a taste of what we heard from the field and hear from librarians who have youth coding programs up and running in their libraries. Join us on Sunday, June 25 at 1 to 2:30. Play “Around the World” and talk with library staff from different backgrounds and experiences who will share the ups and downs and ins and outs of designing coding activities for youth. Table experts will cover topics like community and family engagement, analog coding, serving diverse youth, evaluating your coding programs and more!

Learn how to get started. Hear about favorite resources. Build computational thinking facilitation skills. Discuss issues of diversity and inclusion. Visit each table and get your #ReadytoCode passport stamped with one-of-a-kind stamps. Share your own examples for a bonus stamp.

Start your library’s coding club with Google’s CS First and other free resources (Saturday, June 24, 1 – 2:30 p.m.)
Interested in offering a computer science program at your library? Join a team from Google to learn about free resources to support librarians in facilitating activities for youth, including how to set up and run free CS First clubs, designed to help youth learn coding in fun and engaging ways through interest-based modules like story-telling, design, animation and more. Speakers include Hai Hong, program manager of CS Education; Nicky Rigg, program manager of CS Education; and Chris Busselle, program manager of CS First

Libraries as change agents in reducing implicit bias: Partnering with Google to support 21st Century skills for all youth (Saturday, June 24, 3 – 4 p.m.)
As our economy shifts, digital skills, computer science and computational thinking are becoming increasingly essential for economic and social mobility, yet access to these skills is not equitable. Join a team Hai Hong and Nicky Rigg from Google to learn about recent research to address implicit biases in education, and be ready to work as we discuss how libraries and Google can partner to increase the diversity of youth who are prepared to participate in the digital future.

Tech education in libraries: Google’s support for digital literacy and inclusion (Sunday, June 25, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.)
How can we better support our youth to participate in and benefit from the digital future? Join Google’s Connor Regan, associate product manager of Be Internet Awesome, and others from Google to learn about the range of free resources available to help librarians, families and communities to promote digital literacy and the safe use of the internet.


Want to know more? Follow the Libraries #ReadytoCode conference track on the Conference Scheduler and stock up on ideas to design awesome coding programs when you get back home!

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Washington Office at Annual 2017: Report from the swamp

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“We live in interesting times” has never been truer in the realm of national policy and libraries. There are a lot of headlines in the news, but what’s going on specifically with respect to library interests? How can we separate the wheat from the policy chaff? And what’s happening —or likely to happen—in the swamp that’s not widely reported?

Experts in the OITP session “Report from the swamp” at ALA Annual 2017 will share insights on national policy issues that matter to library professionals. Photo credit: eskipaper.com

Report from the swamp: Policy developments from Washington (Sunday, June 25, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.)

Come to this session to learn about what’s happening in Washington and what you and ALA can do about it. Experts will address diverse issues from net neutrality and the status of threatened federal agencies to E-rate, infrastructure, small business, health care and more. The session will point you toward resources from ALA and elsewhere to help you and your library patrons learn more about national policy issues—and some of these resources translate to the state and local contexts as well.

Beltway insider Ellen Satterwhite, a vice president with Glen Echo Group (and former staffer at the Federal Communications Commission), will provide her insights alongside OITP policy experts Larra Clark and Alan Inouye. Marc Gartler, chair of OITP’s Advisory Committee, will moderate.

We will also provide suggestions for action. You can make a difference, for example, by submitting comments on net neutrality to the Federal Communications Commission. We will explain how. And, of course, bring your questions!

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Washington Office at Annual 2017: Copyright

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Copyright is just as complex as always and librarians are expected to be knowledgeable and manage their institutions’ copyright issues. The Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) presents three programs at Annual 2017 designed to help librarians new to the copyright specialist role find professional guidance:

At Annual 2017, Look for the life-size “Lola Lola” character in the McCormick Place Exhibit Hall to find the “Ask A Copyright Question” booth. Source: Carrie Russell

“Ask a Copyright Question” Booth (Saturday and Sunday, June 24-25, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM)

Is copyright getting in the way of effective teaching and learning? Do you have rogue teachers copying textbooks? Can you show a Netflix film in the classroom? Copyright experts at the “Ask a Copyright Question” Booth in the McCormick Place Exhibit Hall will be on hand to respond to questions you need to be answered when addressing copyright issues at your public, school, college or university library. Stop on by while you’re checking out the exhibits and pick up new (and free!) copyright education tools. Our experts are ready to give you an opinion on anything.

You Make the Call Copyright Game (Sunday, June 25, 1:00-2:30 PM)

Don’t miss this interactive copyright program in game show format, where panelists will respond to fair use questions, pop culture and potent potables. Panelists include Sandra Enimil, director of Copyright Resources Center at Ohio State University; Eric Harbeson, music special collections librarian at the University of Colorado; and Lindsey Weeramuni, from the Office of Digital Learning at MIT. Kyle Courtney from the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University will keep us laughing and Marty Brennan, copyright and licensing librarian at UCLA, will be channeling bygone game show hosts like Gene Barry of the Match Game. Remember those long microphones? And yes, attendees will have their own buzzers!

Another view from the swamp: copyright policy update (Monday, June 26,  10:30-11:30 AM)

The U.S. Copyright Office is a unit of the Library of Congress, and now that a librarian had been appointed Librarian of Congress, rights holders have some concerns. Why are they so worried, and how is Congress going to respond? A panel of policy experts will address House Judiciary copyright review, including legislation that would make the Copyright Office Register more independent from the Library of Congress – and proposes that President Trump appoint the next Register instead of the Library of Congress. (Really?!?) Adam Eisgrau, managing director of ALA’s Office of Government Relations, and Krista Cox, director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries, will discuss U.S. copyright policy with special guest and international copyright expert Stephen Wyber from the International Federation of Library Associations. (What in the world is the EU up to?!?)

All of this brought to you by the OITP Copyright Education Subcommittee, which strives to make copyright entertaining.

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Holistic Advocacy, or The Case of the Annoyingly-Optimistic Librarian


ACRLog welcomes a guest post from Courtney Block, Instruction, Reference, and User Engagement Librarian at Indiana University Southeast. Storytellers. It’s what all professional librarians end up being in addition to our other specific roles or niches. But it’s not something they really prepare you for when you’re getting your MLS. There might be an occasional … Continue reading Holistic Advocacy, or The Case of the Annoyingly-Optimistic Librarian →

Senate Dear Appropriator campaign by the numbers

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How our Senator Dear Appropriator campaign performance looks state-by-state. Navy blue represents “Yes” on both letters. Orange represents “Yes” on IAL but “No” on LSTA. Light blue represents “No” on IAL and “Yes” on LSTA. Gray represents “No” on both. (You can click to enlarge this map!)

Yesterday, the Senate “Dear Appropriator” campaign came to a close, ending over two months of intense advocacy work by library supporters all over the country. Both letters, one supporting the Library and Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other supporting the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program, have been delivered to the Senate Appropriations Committee by Senator Reed’s staff with 45 and 37 signatures respectively. You can check our online table for the full list.

We are happy to report that not only were both letters bipartisan but also that the IAL total equals the previous high-water mark for the program set in 2013 and the LSTA total sets a new record! We couldn’t have made it happen without your hard work. Because of your efforts, over 21,000 emails were sent to the Senate alone, and over 42,000 emails to Congress and almost 26,000 #saveIMLS tweets were sent about IMLS and federal library funding since mid-March – an astonishing number.

Here are a few other details about the Senate campaign:

  • This year’s LSTA total of 45 tops last year’s support level by 33% and IAL’s by just under 20%
  • Every Democrat on the critical “Labor H” appropriations subcommittee signed both letters (Ranking Member Patty Murry of WA, given her position, was not expected to sign)
  • 10 returning senators signed the LSTA letter who had not signed last year: Feinstein, Bennet, Carper, Nelson, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Udall, Casey, Kaine and Warner
  • All 5 freshman Democrats signed the LSTA letter (Harris, Duckworth, Van Hollen, Hassan and Cortez Masto), and all but Duckworth also signed the IAL letter
  • Every Democrat not in an “abstaining” leadership position signed the LSTA letter other than Claire McCaskill of MO (she is supportive, but generally does not sign such letters)
  • 6 returning senators signed the IAL letter who had not signed last year: Coons, Collins, Merkley, Warner, Cantwell, and Manchin
  • We did lose 2 signers from last year (Burr on LSTA and Wicker on IAL), but both stated that they continue to be supportive.
  • The campaign had the support of over 90 companies from the newly formed Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI), which delivered a letter to the Senate, urging them to sign the LSTA and IAL letters.

All this has placed LSTA and IAL in the strongest possible position for this stage of the appropriations cycle, which will continue into the fall. You can expect further updates from us as we move forward, particularly around the reauthorization process for the Museum and Library Services Act, but for now, take a second to rest (and celebrate)!

Have a little extra advocacy bandwidth left? Use our database to see if your senators signed one or both letters and then let them know you appreciate their support!

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President’s stark budget cuts library funding

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On Tuesday, the President released his FY 2018 Budget submission to Congress and it is as bad as we had feared. The “safety net” would be greatly reduced under this budget as many programs that allow Americans to improve their education and career opportunities – often through libraries – would be dramatically reduced or, in many cases, eliminated. The good news (if there is a silver lining) is that this budget is “DOA” in Congress. As one senior Republican summed up to a reporter this week: “Last I checked, under the Constitution, Congress passes budgets.”

That doesn’t mean we can relax — far from it. Some Members of Congress can be expected to use this budget as justification to seek cuts in many of these programs even if not as deep as the President’s request.

ALA issued a statement yesterday morning from ALA President Julie Todaro.

The Washington Office is still looking through the hundreds of pages of documents, spreadsheets, justifications, charts and analysis, but I wanted to cover a few of the top line numbers related to libraries that you might want to know about ASAP.

The top line number are not good. The Department of Education overall budget is reduced 13.5%; Department of Labor is reduced 19.8%; IMLS is effectively eliminated. Below is a list of programs that libraries participate in and are addressed in the budget:

IMLS: Institute of Museum and Library Services
FY 2017 $230 million
FY 2018 $23 million
-90%, effectively eliminated
Administration justification for elimination: “IMLS provides funding to museums and libraries across the country through formula and competitive grant awards. IMLS provides $156 million in formula funds to State Library Administrative Agencies and administers several smaller competitive grant programs for libraries and museums that fund activities such as scholarships for librarian training and digital resources to support educational, employment, and other training opportunities. IMLS’s funding supplements local, State, and private funds, which provide the vast majority of funding to museums and libraries. Furthermore, given that IMLS primarily supports discrete, short-term projects as opposed to operation-sustaining funds, it is unlikely the elimination of IMLS would result in the closure of a significant number of libraries and museums.”

Independent Agencies
National Endowment for the Humanities
FY 17 $148 million
FY 18 $42 million
Change: -72%

National Endowment for the Arts
FY 17 $148 million
FY 18 $29 million
Change: -80%

NSF: National Science Foundation
FY 17 $7.449 billion
FY 18 $6.654 billion
Change: -11%

FCC: Federal Communications Commission
FY 17 $504 million
FY 18 $437 million
Change: -13%

National Archives and Records Administration
FY 17 $377 million
FY 18 $351 million
Change: -7%

Department of Education
Innovative Approaches to Literacy
FY 17 $27 million
FY 18 $0
Change: Eliminated

Striving Readers (Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants)
FY 17 $190 million
FY 18 $0
Change: Eliminated

Title I (Grants to LEAs)
FY 17 $15.5 billion
FY 18 $14.9 billion
Change: 3.87%

Impact Aid
(Provides local schools funding in counties with large tax-exempt federal lands)
FY 17 $1.303 billion
FY 18 $1.236 billion
Change: -5.1%

21st Century Community Learning Centers
(Some libraries participate in various programs)
FY 17 $1.164 billion
FY 18 $0
Change: Eliminated

Student Financial Assistance Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants
FY 17 $732 million
FY 18 $0
Change: Eliminated

Student Financial Assistance Federal Work Study
FY 17 $988 million
FY 18 $500 million
Change: -49.4%

Public Service Loan Forgiveness
(College graduates working for several years in qualified public service positions including public libraries can be eligible for student debt assistance starting in 2018)
Change: Eliminated

Title IV Part A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
(Well-Rounded Education program created under ESSA and authorizes library to participate)
FY 17 $400 million (newly created)
FY 18 $0
Change: Eliminated

Department of Labor
Employment Services/One-Stop Career Centers
(Some libraries participate in local programs)
FY 17 $767 million
FY 18 $503 million
Change: -34.4 %

Career and Technical Education State Grants and National Activities
(Some libraries participate in CTE programs)
FY 17 $1.123 billion
FY 18 $977 million
Change: -13%

Executive Office of President
OSTP: Office of Science and Technology Policy
FY 17 $6 million
FY 18 $6 million
Change: 0%

Department of Health and Human Services
National Library of Medicine
FY 17 $394
FY 18 $373
Change: -5.3%

Administration for Children and Families
(Some libraries participate in local programs)
FY 17 $19.285 billion
FY 18 $14.482 billion
Change: -24.9%

Department of Commerce
NTIA: National Telecommunication and Information Administration
FY 17 $40
FY 18 $36
Change: -10%

I am still researching the budget documents for other funding levels and what they mean for the library community. Programs that some libraries may be participating in and are likely to see significant reductions include afterschool, food or snack programs, Government Publishing Office, Library of Congress, and others.

Long story short… we have our work cut out. Remember: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

The post President’s stark budget cuts library funding appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA President Responds to the Administration’s 2018 budget proposal

ALA District Dispatch -

This morning, ALA issued a statement about the budget proposal released today. You can read it on ALA.org or below.

WASHINGTON, DC — In response to the Trump Administration’s 2018 budget proposal released today, American Library Association (ALA) President Julie Todaro issued the following statement:

“The Administration’s budget is using the wrong math when it comes to libraries.

“To those who say that the nation cannot afford federal library funding, the American Library Association, American businesses and millions of Americans say emphatically we cannot afford to be without it.

“America’s more than 120,000 public, school, academic and special libraries are visited more than 1.4 billion times a year by hundreds of millions of Americans in every corner of the nation. In 2013, 94 percent of Americans said that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community and the same percentage of parents said that libraries are important for their children.

“Over 80 major companies and trade associations from multiple sectors of the economy called libraries ‘critical national infrastructure’ in a letter to all Senators asking them to support the very agency and programs that the Administration has just proposed to effectively eliminate.

“We and those we serve will collaborate with our stakeholders, business allies and the more than one-third or more of all Members of Congress who have already pledged their support in writing to preserve critical library funding for FY 2018 through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and to save the agency itself, as well as other vital programs in other agencies that help millions of Americans.”

The post ALA President Responds to the Administration’s 2018 budget proposal appeared first on District Dispatch.


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