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An appropriations update from the field

ALA District Dispatch -

After almost a week of activity around ALA’s intensive appropriations campaign and less than a week until the House “Dear Appropriator” letter deadline, we wanted to check in and let you know how things are going.

As you may remember, this campaign is part of our annual push to get as many Members of Congress to sign “Dear Appropriator” letters supporting the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. These programs add up to over $210 million in library funding that meets a variety of needs throughout the library world. (For more information about LSTA, IAL, and the appropriations process, check out the recent article written by Committee on Legislation Chair Ann Dutton Ewbank.)

The good news is that the campaign has received a lot of support and interest from the library world and beyond. In fact, as of March 28, 2017, over 6,300 emails to 426 (out of 435) Representatives have been processed through the ALA Action Center. This number does not include anyone who sent their emails through one of the ALA State Chapter sites, or who sent their email independent of the Action Center, so we hope this number is only a small reflection of the number of contacts Congress has likely received about the “Dear Appropriator” letters. Additionally, 8,949 tweets have been posted using the #SaveIMLS tag, and 224 of those tweets were specifically directed at Representatives through the Action Center.

The bad news is that we still have a long way to go. In response to this action, there are currently 98 signatures on the IAL letter (we had 124 last year), and 42 on the LSTA letter (88 last year).  Keep those calls and emails going!

We have until April 3rd to get signatures from the House. If you want to know if your Representative has signed the LSTA and IAL letters, check out this handy database. If your Representative hasn’t signed, give them a call and ask them! And if they have, a thank you call or email never hurts.

Time is running out to get the support we need for LSTA and IAL. Head over to the ALA Legislative Action Center to find talking points and email templates, or visit our friends at 5calls.org and use their script to make a call!

The post An appropriations update from the field appeared first on District Dispatch.

Bill to make Copyright Register a Presidential appointment “mystifying”

ALA District Dispatch -

Late last Thursday, in a relatively rare bicameral announcement, five senior members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees endorsed legislation to transfer the power to appoint the Register of Copyrights from the Librarian of Congress to the President. The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act (H.R. 1695) was authored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA6). It also was cosponsored on its introduction by the Committee’s Ranking Member, John Conyers (D-MI13), and 29 other members of the House (21 Republicans and 8 Democrats). Senate supporters currently are Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT).

Sources: http://feedyoursoul.com/2014/08/06/the-gift-of-confusion/

The bill was referred to Mr. Goodlatte’s Committee for consideration and is widely expected to be voted upon (at least in Committee, if not the full House of Representatives) prior to the upcoming spring recess beginning April 10. No parallel Senate bill yet has been introduced and the pace of H.R. 1695’s or a similar bill’s review in that chamber, as well as which committee or committees will have jurisdiction over it, is currently unclear.

In a sharply worded statement, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) unqualifiedly opposed the bill on multiple grounds, particularly that it would politicize the Register’s position to the public’s detriment and inevitably slow the critically needed modernization of the Copyright Office. LCA, comprised of ALA, ACRL and ARL, also called the bill “mystifying” given that – if passed – Congress would voluntarily give up its power to appoint its own copyright advisor to the President to whom the bill also grants the power to fire the appointee at any time (despite the bill also confusingly specifying a 10-year renewable term of office for the Register)! Further, while the Senate would at least retain the power to confirm the nominee, the House would no longer have any influence on the selection process.

LCA’s statement was quoted at length by the widely read Beltway publications Washington Internet Daily (behind a paywall) and Broadcasting & Cable. ALA and its LCA partners will be monitoring H.R. 1695’s progress in the House and Senate closely.

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We’re only as good as our members are engaged

ALA District Dispatch -

This week at ACRL, academic librarians and information professionals convened around the emerging issues challenging higher education, due to federal funding cuts and new regulations.

On Thursday morning, ALA and ACRL jointly hosted a Postcards to Lawmakers town hall, during which member leaders Emily Drabinski, coordinator of library instruction at Long Island University in Brooklyn, and Clay Williams, deputy chief librarian at Hunter College Libraries and our very own Lisa Lindle offered insight to those seeking advice and encouragement about how to effectively advocate for libraries in the face of drastic cuts. The panel offered insight on how to sign up for and use ALA’s Legislative Action Center and collected questions from the audience. American Library magazine covered their talk here.

On Friday morning’s Academic Libraries and New Federal Regulations, Corey Williams, a federal lobbyist at the National Education Association (and formally an ALA lobbyist in the Washington Office) again urged members to step up to the plate. Corey made two illustrative points: ALA has 3 lobbyists for our nearly 60,000 members and one person is only one voice. Lobbyists are only as good as our members are engaged.

Advocacy is akin to a muscle; you can flex it once, by sending a tweet or an email. But we are one mile into a legislative marathon and advocacy is a muscle that needs to be exercised constantly. Both town halls offered some immediate steps you can take in this next leg of the race.

Do Your Reps
• Did you write a postcard? Great. Now tweet a picture of that postcard to your representatives with the line: “No cuts for funding for museums and libraries. #SaveIMLS

Short Sprints
• Sign up for ALA’s Legislation Action Center.
• Then, prepare a talking point as to why IMLS is important to your community, and share it with a friend or patron, so you can customize your emails to Congress.

Long Sprints
• Invite your representatives to visit your library (ProTip: Work with your organization’s government relation’s office to coordinate)
• Attend a constituent coffee when your reps are home during the weeks of April 10 and April 17.
• Think about who can you partner or create a coalition with in your community?
• Pair your data (i.e., how much LSTA funding you receive) with anecdote (i.e. how that money made a transformative difference to your patrons.

In response to other that came up, here are two other helpful references:
• Here’s what the National Archives and Records Administration says about irradiated mail
• Here’s where you can look up your representative’s social media handle

The post We’re only as good as our members are engaged appeared first on District Dispatch.

Look Back, Move Forward: Library Services and Technology Act

ALA District Dispatch -

Thank you to everyone for sharing your #SaveIMLS stories. Please keep it coming – more than 7,700 tweets (nearly doubling our count since last Thursday). As we prepare for the appropriations process, here’s a look back on how ALA Council resolved to support the Library Services and Technology Act in June 1995.

As we move forward into the “Dear Appropriator Letters” be sure to sign up for our Legislative Action Center today.

The post Look Back, Move Forward: Library Services and Technology Act appeared first on District Dispatch.

After calling Congress, write a letter to the editor

ALA District Dispatch -

The single most impactful action you can take to save funding for libraries right now is to contact your member of Congress directly. Once you’ve done that, there is another action you can take to significantly amplify your voice and urge public support for libraries: writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

Each newspaper has its own guidelines for submitting letters to the editor. Source: pennlive.com/opinion

If you’ve never done it, don’t let myths get in the way of your advocacy:

Myth 1: My local newspaper is really small, so I don’t want to waste my time. It’s true that the larger the news outlet, the more exposure your letter gets. But it’s also true that U.S. representatives care about the opinions expressed in their own congressional district, where their voters live. For example, if you live in the 15th district of Pennsylvania, your U.S. representative cares more about the Harrisburg Patriot-News and even smaller local newspapers than he does about the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Myth 2: I have to be a state librarian to get my letter printed in the newspaper. Newspaper editorial boards value input from any readers who have specific stories to share about how policies affect real people on a daily basis. Sure, if you’re submitting a letter to the New York Times, having a title increases your chances of getting published. The larger the news outlet, the more competitive it is to get published. But don’t let your title determine the value of your voice. Furthermore, you can encourage your library patrons to write letters to the editor. Imagine the power of a letter written by a veteran in Bakersfield, CA, who received help accessing benefits through the state’s veteransconnect@thelibrary initiative – especially when their U.S. representative is on the Veterans Affairs subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Myth 3: I don’t have anything special to say in a letter. You don’t need to write a masterpiece, but you need to be authentic. Letters in response to material recently published (within a couple days) stand a better chance of getting printed. How did you feel about a story you read about, for example, the elimination of library programs in the Trump budget? Was there a missing element of the story that needs to be addressed? What new information (statistics) or unique perspective (anecdotes) can you add to what was printed? Is there a library angle that will be particularly convincing to one of your members of Congress (say, their personal interest in small business development)? Most importantly, add a call to action. For example, “We need the full support of Senators {NAME and NAME} and Representative {NAME} to preserve full federal funding for libraries so they can continue to…” Be sure to check our Legislative Action Center for current language you can use.

Ready to write? Here are a few practical tips about how to do it:

Tip 1: Keep it short – in general, maximum 200 words. Every news outlet has its own guidelines for submitting letters to the editor, which are normally published on their website. Some allow longer letters, others shorter. In any case, the more concise and to-the-point, the better.

Tip 2: When you email your letter, paste it into the body of the text and be sure to include your name, title, address and phone number so that you can be contacted if the editor wants to verify that you are the author. Do not send an attachment.

Tip 3: If your letter gets published, send a copy to your representative and senators to reinforce your message (emailing a hyperlink is best). Also, send a copy to the Washington Office (imanager@alawash.org); we can often use the evidence of media attention when we make visits on Capitol Hill.

Finally, get others involved. Recruit patrons, business leaders and other people in your community to write letters to the editor (after they have called their members of Congress, of course!). Editors won’t publish every single letter they get, but the more letters they receive on a specific topic, the more they realize that it is an issue that readers care deeply about – and that can inspire editors to further explore the impact of libraries for themselves.

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House library champions release FY18 “Dear Appropriator” letters

ALA District Dispatch -

Your limited-time-only chance to ask for your House Member’s backing for LSTA and IAL begins now.

Where does your Representative stand on supporting FY 2018 library funding? Against the backdrop of the President’s proposal last week to eliminate the Institute for Museum and Library Services and virtually all other library funding sources, their answer this year is more important than ever before.

Every Spring, library champions in Congress ask every Member of the House to sign two, separate “Dear Appropriator” letters directed to the Appropriations Committee: one urging full funding for LSTA (which benefits every kind of library), and the second asking the same for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. This year, the LSTA support letter is being led by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ3). The IAL support letter is being jointly led by Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX30), Don Young (R-AK), and Jim McGovern (D-MA2).

The first “Dear Appropriator” letter asks the Committee to fully fund LSTA in FY 2018 and the second does the same for IAL. When large numbers of Members of Congress sign these letters, it sends a strong signal to the House Appropriations Committee to reject requests to eliminate IMLS, and to continue funding for LSTA and IAL at least at current levels.

Members of the House have only until April 3 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters now circulating, so there’s no time to lose. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to ask your Member of Congress to sign both the LSTA and IAL letters. Many Members of Congress will only sign such a letter if their constituents ask them to. So it is up to you to help save LSTA and IAL from elimination or significant cuts that could dramatically affect hundreds of libraries and potentially millions of patrons.

Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding now at risk.

Soon, we will also need you to ask both of your US Senators to sign similar letters not yet circulating in the Senate, but timing is key. In the meantime, today’s the day to ask your Representative in the House for their signature on both the LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters that must be signed no later than April 3.

Whether you call, email, tweet or all of the above (which would be great), the message to the friendly office staff of your Senators and Representative is all laid out at the Legislative Action Center and it’s simple:

“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Representative  ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature before April 3.”

Please, take five minutes to call, email, or Tweet at your Members of Congress  and watch this space throughout the year for more on how you can help preserve IMLS and federal library funding. We need your help this year like never before.

Supporting Documents:

IAL Approps FY18 Letter

IAL FY18 Dear Colleague

Dear Appropriator letter for LSTA FY2018

Dear Collegue letter FY2018

The post House library champions release FY18 “Dear Appropriator” letters appeared first on District Dispatch.

#ALAWO is tracking #SaveIMLS and collecting your stories

ALA District Dispatch -

Since 11 a.m. last Thursday (and as of 5 p.m. this afternoon), there have been 3,838 tweets under the #saveIMLS hashtag on Twitter. That is over 767 tweets a day. Or, sliced another way, there are currently 1,800 people who are participating in the conversation on Twitter. Anyway you dice it, we need this momentum to continue.

Right now, the ALA Washington Office is collecting your tweets and stories via TAGS, the Twitter Archiving Google Sheet. You can see the conversion as it has unfolded via this afternoon’s snapshot:

#SaveIMLS conversation on Twitter from March 17 through March 20. The Washington Office is collecting your stories. View and explore the live version here.

As we march towards the next phase of the appropriations process, we need to keep IMLS at the center of the conversation. We need you to keep beating the drum and sharing your stories.

How can you tell an impactful story?

  • First, look up what IMLS does for you specifically. Search their database to see what they have funded in your zip code.
  • Then, pick a project (from the database or one you already know about) and tweet about it’s impact with the hashtag #saveIMLS. (Bonus points: Enter your zip code into GovTrack so you can find and tag your Senator or representative; their social media information is listed.)

While your “numbers” — how many computers, how many programs, how many books, how many patrons — are very important, the best kind of stories talk about how IMLS or LSTA funding has helped you to contribute to the “big picture.” A powerful story from your Congressional district can and will move mountains.

Here are some examples, from the 3,838 tweets, that we thought were great. Keep it coming!

Stay tuned for more information, particularly as it pertains to the upcoming advocacy campaign around “Dear Appropriator” letters. Meanwhile, subscribe to our action alerts to ensure you receive the latest updates on the budget process.

The post #ALAWO is tracking #SaveIMLS and collecting your stories appeared first on District Dispatch.

Inspired by music: a copyright history

ALA District Dispatch -

I started to work for ALA as a copyright specialist during the Eldred vs. Ashcroft public domain court battle that ultimately went to the Supreme Court. The question was whether the recent extension of the copyright term under the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 from life plus 50 years to life plus 70 years was constitutional. In a 7-2 ruling, the Court said that the term was constitutional and that Congress could determine any term of copyright as long as it was not forever. Even one day less than forever met the definition of “limited times” in the Copyright Clause. I was shattered because I was sure we were going to win. Naïve me.

ALA was one of the amici that supported Eric Eldred, an Internet publisher who relied on public domain materials for his business. A lot can be said about the case and a lot has been written. I have argued that the silver lining of the disastrous ruling was the formation of the Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Creative Commons and other open licensing movements. The ruling also led the publication of comic book called Bound by Law? Tales from the Public Domain by James Boyle and Keith Aoki. It is a great book that should be in the collection of every library.

This year, there is another book by Boyle, Aoki and Jennifer Jenkins, that should be in the collection of every library. It’s called Theft: A History of Music. It examines the certainty that music could not written without relying on music that was created before—the “standing on the shoulders of giants” idea. There’s a great documentary called John Lennon’s Jukebox that illustrates how music that Lennon loved—rock n’ roll records from the United States—ended up in his music. This music inspired him to be a musician. Its creativity planted the seeds for his own creativity. You can hear a riff on the intro of Richie Barrett’s “Some Other Guy” on “Instant Karma.” That’s cool. (Meanwhile, we see court cases like Blurred Lines and Stairway to Heaven.)

Theft: A History of Music is a labor of love as well as a primer on copyright overall. If you are teaching copyright to librarians or students, this might be the only required text that you assign.

Available online under a Creative Commons license and in print. Here’s a video teaser.

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Look Back, Move Forward: Freedom of Information Day

ALA District Dispatch -

Senator Tester at the Newseum in the Knight Studio accepting the James Madison Award, given to those who have protected public access to government information.

Yesterday was Freedom of Information Day, a holiday that the American Library Association has been celebrating for 29 years. And, on Wednesday, U.S. Senator Jon Tester of Montana, was honored with ALA’s 2017 James Madison Award for his advocacy for public access to government information.

Upon accepting the award, Senator Tester gave a short speech, which you can watch here.

“It is a true honor to receive this award. Throughout my time in the U.S. Senate, I have made it a priority to bring more transparency and accountability to Washington. By shedding more light across the federal government and holding officials more accountable, we can eliminate waste and ensure that folks in Washington, D.C. are working more efficiently on behalf of all Americans.”

At the ceremony, he affirmed his enduring commitment to increasing public access to information by formally announcing the launch of the Senate Transparency Caucus, which aims to shed more light on federal agencies and hold the federal government more accountable to taxpayers.

In honor of Senator Tester, here is a look back at the origins of ALA’s Freedom of Information Day: 1988 resolution signed by Council to honor the memory of James Madison.

1988 Resolution on Freedom of Information Day.


The post Look Back, Move Forward: Freedom of Information Day appeared first on District Dispatch.

#TTW17 recap, upcoming conferences and more

ALA District Dispatch -

Hi all. Well, I have accumulated a number of items and so figured it was time for a little update. I would like to begin with YALSA’s Teen Tech Week, which just concluded. We had a big push on coding-related activities and a highlight was a segment on the news in Detroit on WXYZ-TV (the ABC affiliate). It is great; check it out — only 90 seconds.

Next, I will be out in a couple of venues to talk about information policy. I will be at the ACRL conference in Baltimore on March 23-24 and identified two specific times to meet up with folks to provide an update from the Washington swamp and answer questions: Thursday 3 to 4 p.m. and Friday 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. If interested, please email me at ainouye@alawash.org for details.

I also will be a presenter at the upcoming Coalition for Networked Information Task Force meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 3-4. In the session, “Direct from the Swamp: Developments of the 45th President and 115th Congress,” I will be presenting with Krista Cox of the Association of Research Libraries. If you will be there and want to talk, please contact me and we can set up a time, or just see each other on-site.

Mr. Nick Minchin, Australian Consul-General, speaking at a recent Library For All reception at the Australian Consulate-General. LFA was co-founded by Australian citizen Rebecca MacDonald.

As I reported elsewhere, I accompanied ALA leadership to New York City to meet with publishing and library organizations. In addition, I had other meetings and I would like to highlight one of them. I am on the advisory board of the non-profit Library For All (LFA). By a happy coincidence of scheduling, I was able to attend a reception at the Australian Consulate-General to honor LFA, which was co-founded by Australian citizen Rebecca MacDonald.

LFA has built a digital library to deliver quality educational materials in developing countries. LFA’s mission is to make knowledge accessible to all, equally. Initially focused on obtaining published works to make them available to youth in developing countries (e.g., Haiti, Rwanda, Cambodia), new directions include creating original works such as building a Girls’ Collection that will inspire, empower and educate girls across the world.

“The Girls’ Collection will contain books with strong female characters and stories that show female readers that they are powerful and equal members of society. Through the Collection, girls accessing the digital library will be able to see their identities reflected in the characters of the stories they read, an essential reminder of how important their lives are and a powerful message for them to continue their education, pursue careers, and stand up for their rights as contributing members of the global economy.”

Finally, I would like to mention some noteworthy meetings on the Hill. Larra Clark and I, with Kevin Maher and Adam Eisgrau of the Office of Government Relations and counsel Norm Lent at Arent Fox, had a dozen meetings with staffers (for both the majority and minority) on the Congressional Committees on Small Business and Veterans Affairs or whose Members are on one of these committees. We made good use of our policy advocacy videos and the briefs on small business and veterans. There was considerable interest and goodwill and multiple opportunities for next steps. We are now contemplating our follow-ups for the coming months.

The post #TTW17 recap, upcoming conferences and more appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA urges action to increase Lifeline broadband options for low-income Americans

ALA District Dispatch -

Yesterday, the American Library Association joined digital inclusion allies in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai urging the FCC to act quickly on enabling Lifeline Broadband Providers to serve low-income Americans through the federal program. Developed by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the joint letter comes in the wake of the FCC revoking LBP designations in early February.

“The Wireline Competition Bureau Lifeline Broadband Provider (LBP) revocation order delays an array of innovative and high quality Lifeline broadband offerings and has a chilling effect on other potential Lifeline broadband entrants. The new LBP designation process is critical for increasing competition and facilitating competition and innovation in the Lifeline broadband program, and we urge the Federal Communications Commission to resume the designation process immediately.

We urge the Commission to act quickly on this matter as uncertainty regarding the process for broadband providers to participate in the Lifeline program delays access to affordable broadband to low-income households.”

The post ALA urges action to increase Lifeline broadband options for low-income Americans appeared first on District Dispatch.

President’s budget proposal to eliminate federal library funding

ALA District Dispatch -

This morning, President Trump released his budget proposal for FY2018. The Institute of Museum of Library Services (IMLS) is included in the list of independent agencies whose budgets the proposal recommends eliminating. Library funding that comes through other sources such as the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and the National Endowment for the Humanities is also affected. Just how deeply overall federal library funding is impacted is unclear at this point. The Washington Office is working closely with our contacts in the federal government to gather detailed information. We will provide the analysis of the total impact when it is complete and as quickly as possible.

One thing we all know for certain: Real people will be impacted if these budget proposals are carried through.

While we are deeply concerned about the president’s budget proposal, it is not a done deal. As I said in a statement issued this morning,

“The American Library Association will mobilize its members, congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a congressional reality.”

There are several actions we can take right now:

  1. Call your Members of Congress  – ask them to publicly oppose wiping out IMLS, and ask them to commit to fighting for federal library funding. (You can find their contact information here.)
  2. Share your library’s IMLS story using the #SaveIMLS tag – tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community. If you aren’t sure which IMLS grants your library as received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.
  3. Sign up to receive our action alerts – we will let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information.
  4. Register to participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 1-2, either in Washington, D.C., or online.

Timing is key to the Federal budget/appropriations process. More information – along with talking points and scripts – will be forthcoming from the ALA Washington Office, particularly as it pertains to the upcoming advocacy campaign around “Dear Appropriator” letters. Meanwhile, please take the time to subscribe to action alerts and District Dispatch to ensure you receive the latest updates on the budget process.

The president’s budget has made clear that his funding agenda is not ours. It’s time for library professionals and supporters to make our priorities clear to Congress.

The post President’s budget proposal to eliminate federal library funding appeared first on District Dispatch.

Indies, Vanity, and Predators: Helping Faculty and Students Find Publishers


How many times have you or your faculty received this message? Dear Dr. Colleague, We at Intellectual and Smart Publishers would love to talk to you about publishing “INSERT PAPER TITLE HERE” in our issue of Smart Things in Science. We offer expedited review! So and So,  Intellectual and Smart Publishers When the Framework for … Continue reading Indies, Vanity, and Predators: Helping Faculty and Students Find Publishers →

Things Left Unsaid


There are moments of confluence in our day-to-day lives that can impact the way we see ourselves in the world. Sometimes they are moments of revelation and other times they are just a slight shift in perception, a tweak in the way we experience life. This month, which just so happens to be Women’s History Month, … Continue reading Things Left Unsaid →

NLLD 2017 keynote announced

ALA District Dispatch -

We are happy to announce the keynote speaker for National Library Legislative Day 2017! Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, will be joining us in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2017. The National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights. According to the ACLU website, Shamsi has:

litigated cases upholding the freedoms of speech and association, and challenging targeted killing, torture, unlawful detention, and post-9/11 discrimination against racial and religious minorities.

Her work includes a focus on the intersection of national security and counter-terrorism policies with international human rights and humanitarian law. She previously worked as a staff attorney in the ACLU National Security Project and was the acting director of Human Rights First’s Law & Security Program. She also served as senior advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions. You can find her on Twitter @HinaShamsi and on the ACLU blog. In addition to a review of current legislation and issue briefs, provided by ALA Washington staff, we will also be joined by the team from The Campaign Workshop for an hour of advocacy training. Christian Zabriskie, Executive Director of Urban Librarians Unite, and Jennifer Manley, Managing Director of Prime Strategies NYC, will also be leading at 30 minutes breakout session called “The Political Dance.” Other afternoon sessions will be announced as the schedule is finalized.

If you are interested in library advocacy and are unfamiliar with National Library Legislative Day, you can find out more by visiting our website, or reading previous articles about the event. Online registration will remain open till April and registrations are accepted at the door.

Photo Credit: Adam Mason

For folks looking for funding, check out the WHCLIST award, which is still accepting submissions until April 2nd. You can also check out DonorsChoose.org, which offers librarians the chance to fund-raise for Professional Development events, collection development projects, and other library needs.

Unable to join us in D.C. in May? Register to participate virtually – in May, we’ll send you a list of talking points, background information, and other resources, so that you can call, email, or Tweet at your Members of Congress about legislative issues that are important to you and your patrons. We’ll also send you a link to our webcast, so you can watch our keynote speaker and the issue briefs live!

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Applications open for Oakley Memorial Scholarship

ALA District Dispatch -

In recognition of his life accomplishments and contributions, the American Library Association (ALA) and the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) have established the Robert L. Oakley Memorial Scholarship to support research and advanced study for librarians in their early-to-mid-careers who are interested and/or active in the fields that Robert Oakley was expert in, namely: intellectual property, public policy, copyright and their impacts on libraries and the ways libraries serve their communities.

Professor and law librarian Robert Oakley was an expert on copyright law and wrote and lectured on the subject. He served on the LCA representing the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL) and played a leading role in advocating for U.S. libraries and the public they serve at many international forums including those of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). He served as the United States delegate to the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights from 1997-2003. Mr. Oakley testified before Congress on copyright, open access, library appropriations and free access to government documents and was a member of the Library of Congress’ Section 108 Study Group. A valued colleague and mentor for numerous librarians, Oakley was a recognized leader in law librarianship and library management who also maintained a profound commitment to public policy and the rights of library users.

A $1,000 scholarship to encourage and expand interest in and knowledge of these aspects of librarianship, as well as bring the next generation of advocates, lobbyists and scholars to the forefront with opportunities they might not otherwise have will be awarded annually to an individual or a team of individuals who meet eligibility criteria.

Highest consideration will be given to applicants who are librarian(s) in their early-to-mid-careers. They must demonstrate interest in or be professional actively in copyright and public policy and their impacts on libraries and the ways libraries serve their communities.

Applicants should provide a statement of intent for use of the scholarship funds. Such a statement should include the applicant’s interest and background in intellectual property, public policy and/or copyright and their impacts on libraries and the ways libraries serve their communities. The statement should include information about how the applicant and the library community will benefit from the applicant’s receipt of scholarship. Statements should be no longer than 3 pages (approximately 1,000 words).

The applicant’s resume or curriculum vitae should be included in their application.

Applications must be submitted via e-mail to Carrie Russell, crussell@alawash.org by May 15, 2017.

Awardees may receive the Robert L. Oakley Memorial Scholarship up to two times in a lifetime. Funds may be used for equipment, expendable supplies, travel necessary to conduct, attend conferences, release from library duties or other reasonable and appropriate research expenses.

A review committee will be made up of the members selected by the LCA, with one representative each from the collaborating associations: ALA, the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Association of Research Libraries. ALA’s Washington Office will oversee jury selection.

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2017 Google Policy Fellowship announced

ALA District Dispatch -

The American Library Association (ALA) today announces the opening of the application process for the prestigious Google Policy Fellowship program. The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) was a founding participant of the program back in 2008.

Applications for the 2017 Google Policy Fellowship are due by March 24.

For the summer of 2017, the selected fellow will spend 10 weeks in residence at the ALA policy office in Washington, D.C., to learn about national policy and complete a major project. Google provides the $7,500 stipend for the summer, but the work agenda is determined by the ALA and the fellow. Throughout the summer, Google’s Washington office will provide an educational program for all the fellows, including lunchtime talks and interactions with Google Washington staff.

The fellows work in diverse areas of information policy that may include digital copyright, e-book licenses and access, future of reading, international copyright policy, broadband deployment, online privacy, telecommunications policy (including e-rate and network neutrality), digital divide, open access to information, free expression, digital literacy, the future of libraries generally and many other topics. Refer to the National Policy Agenda for Libraries for an overview of current priorities.

Nick Gross was our 2016 Google Policy Fellow. He completed research on telecommunications and copyright policy to help us prepare for the incoming President and Congress in 2017.

Further information about the program, host organizations and the application process is available at the Google Public Policy Fellowship website. ALA encourages all interested graduate students to apply and, of course, especially those in library and information science-related academic programs. Applications are due by Friday, March 24, 2017.

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On Leadership: Doing it Right, but Dancing


Lots of things leading up to a post on leadership lately, such as contemplating my own privilege, planning strategic priorities, and experiencing the challenges of parenting tweenagers. But mostly, I think this post is in typical response to evaluation time, which requires me to describe competencies and expectations of leadership, both for managers and  for … Continue reading On Leadership: Doing it Right, but Dancing →

The Congressional App Challenge: Connecting today’s Congress with tomorrow’s coders

ALA District Dispatch -

Today’s guest post is contributed by Rhianon Anderson, Executive Director of the Congressional App Challenge, which is sponsored in part by the Washington Office of the American Library Association. The Challenge is a perfect way for libraries to connect teens to coding and civic participation – and to engage our members of Congress in the ways that libraries are serving the communities of today and tomorrow.  

Libraries have always served as a resource for those seeking to learn new skills. Today, one of the most valuable skills that a student can learn is how to code. America’s future economic well-being depends on the skill of our next generation of coders, computer scientists and engineers. These are the jobs of the future, and by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer science related jobs available in America. However, there will only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to fill those roles.

Libraries can get ready now for the 2017 Congressional App Challenge, which runs from July 26 to November 1.

Many libraries, recognizing the growing importance of computer science education, have already implemented programs to teach coding skills to the community. The U.S. House of Representatives has also launched its own effort to address the shortage of technical literacy: the Congressional App Challenge.

Officially launched in 2015 through the efforts of Reps. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06), Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and the Congressional Internet Caucus, the Congressional App Challenge (CAC) is a national effort to encourage students to learn how to code. With support from the Internet Education Foundation, Congressional Representatives participating in the CAC host annual competitions for their students, who code and submit original apps for a chance to win their district’s Challenge. The winning apps are put on display in the Capitol for the following year, while winners(s) from each district receive prizes; are honored by their Member of Congress; and are invited to demo their work at #HouseOfCode, a reception held in their honor on Capitol Hill.

The Congressional App Challenge brings exposure and opportunities in coding to students who might otherwise never receive such attention. During the program’s first two cycles, nearly 4,000 students from 33 different states competed in their district competition, submitting over 1,000 original apps. Students learn introductory computer science skills, express their creativity and receive recognition for their efforts to pursue valuable professional skills. Over 78% of the student participants reported that they would continue their coding education, and over 97% of the student participants said they learned new skills through their participation in the Challenge.

Creativity in coding

Students are encouraged to think originally and work on projects that mean something to them. The winners of 2016 created applications ranging from games, to virtual medical aids, to language translators, with nearly 35% of students creating some type of educational tool. The CAC gave these students an opportunity to put their problem-solving skills to use while developing new and tangible skills for the future. Some winning projects include:

Pocket Doctor (Kaitlyn Chan and Priya Koliwad)
The winners from Rep. Jackie Speier’s district (CA-14) set out to create an application that would reduce the impact of disease in developing countries. Pocket Doctor provides a guide to common symptoms and treatments in addition to offering advice on when to seek the care of a medical professional. Topics like infant care and personal hygiene are also covered for preventative measures.

Hill Happenings (Alexander Frolov, Mohnish Sabhani and Kevin Zhang)
Hill Happenings is an application designed to engage the electorate in political news through clear and simple summaries of the congressional record. From the Rep. Leonard Lance’s New Jersey district (NJ-07), this team developed a source for unbiased updates directly from the Hill. Users can receive these notifications throughout the day on the desktop plug-in, which includes links to social network sites for simple sharing.

Talk to the Hand (Riya Danait and Shambhavi Badi)
Congressman Sam Johnson selected Riya and Shambhavi as the winners of Texas’ 3rd district for their sign language translator. Users can select from over 90 languages that will be translated into English and then American Sign Language. With a simple visual guide to the hand gestures, users can now communicate with deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals regardless of their knowledge of ASL.

Starting the 2017 CAC

This summer, the House of Representatives will launch the third Congressional App Challenge. From July 26 to November 1, 2017, eligible students will be invited to code and submit their own original apps, either on their own or as part of a team. (Students may compete in teams of up to four, provided at least 2 of the teammates live or attend school within the district they’re competing in).

Given ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative, libraries are a natural fit as partners for the CAC, offering students resources, guidance, a place to work, and a place to ask questions about the things they’re learning. As such a valuable community resource, we hope to see many libraries work with their congressional offices to offer information and resources to students participating in the 2017 Congressional App Challenge.

Visit the CAC website (congressionalappchallenge.us) to get more information, and then let your Congressional office know that you’d like them to host the CAC in your district! Most offices are happy to participate if they know there’s interest. You can find email templates on the CAC website, and you can also call or message your Representative on social media.

Since students can submit projects they previously created, the CAC can easily be incorporated into existing programs. If your library already has a coding/CS program, propose the idea to your students, and have them work on an app to submit in July!


The post The Congressional App Challenge: Connecting today’s Congress with tomorrow’s coders appeared first on District Dispatch.


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