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On budgets and appropriations

ALA District Dispatch -

If anyone thought passing a bill was as easy as a Saturday morning cartoon, one need only look at the budget and appropriations processes in Congress to realize just how complex legislation is in real time. Whether we’re talking about funding for libraries, student loans or other programs, fiscal decision-making is as puzzling as it gets, even to the most seasoned Washington insiders.

The U.S. Senate is slated to take up the 2018 Budget Resolution this week

This week, the U.S. Senate is slated to take up the 2018 Budget Resolution, which provides a target framework for congressional spending. Meanwhile, the FY 2018 appropriations process is on hold until a temporary “continuing resolution” expires on December 8, as reported last month in District Dispatch. So, where does this leave direct library funding?

To understand how library – or any federal funding decisions are made, it is important to differentiate between budgets and appropriations. Appropriations are about the annual optional (discretionary) spending while budget resolutions address mandatory spending (entitlements). Appropriations bills contain the annual decisions made by Congress about how the federal government spends money on such things as Library Services and Technology Act, Innovative Approaches to Literacy, the Library of Congress or the Department of Education – all programs the federal government considers discretionary. Budget bills address mandatory spending such as Medicare and Social Security, which are considered entitlements.

Another important piece of the puzzle is that the budget resolution may contain “reconciliation instructions” directing congressional committees to find cuts in mandatory programs in order to reach spending targets. The House budget passed on October 5 included specific instructions to cut mandatory education spending by $211 billion – which will likely come, in part, from student loans programs such as Pell and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Many library students utilize these popular loan programs and any cuts will likely affect affordability for higher education for some.

The Senate Budget will apparently not contain reconciliation instructions for specific committees, relying on broad targeted cuts. The Senate rules allow for unlimited amendments to its Budget Resolution, but limits debate to 20 hours. Once the 20 hours has expired, the Senate will move to vote on amendments in what is called a vote-a-rama that often goes late into the evening.

After the Senate passes its budget, as is expected, a conference committee will be needed to produce a final version of the budget that both chambers must pass – which may take months. The final reconciliation instructions may target student loan programs that impact library students, and ALA will continue to work to oppose such cuts.


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Keep your Wifi signal strong: defend E-rate

ALA District Dispatch -

We have been anticipating some changes would take place after Chairman Pai took the helm of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC), and wondered about where he might take the E-rate program. During his time as Commissioner, while supportive of the intent and goals of the program, he was less than enthusiastic about many of the program changes as a result of the Modernization.

At the end of September the FCC launched a Public Notice asking for input about Category 2 (C2) funding. Specifically, they want to know whether libraries are using their allotted budgets and if it meets their needs. Since the FCC’s E-rate Modernization in 2014, library applicants have been doing their darndest to receive their share of the $3.9 billion available for libraries and take advantage of the program changes that were put in place. These changes helped libraries increase broadband capacity and improve WiFi access in their buildings.

While we know there are many reasons why libraries do or do not request funding for C2, what we want to make crystal clear to the FCC is that having funds available is critical for libraries, ensuring they can maintain and upgrade their WiFi connectivity. How much are we talking about? In 2016, libraries requested more than $50 million for C2 through the E-rate program.

The deadline to submit comments is October 23, 2017, and we are calling on you to tell the FCC that libraries need secure funding for E-rate.

Here’s how to submit a comment:

  • Format your response as a PDF document. Don’t forget to use your library’s letterhead!
  • Go to https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings
  • For the Proceeding Number, enter the following proceeding numbers: 13-184
  • Complete the rest of the information on the form.
  • Upload your comments at the bottom of the form.

Not sure what to write? Use this template to tell the FCC how your patrons depend on the library to connect to the internet. We encourage you to edit the template to add specifics that are important to your library and your community. Does your library offer special programs that depend in WiFi? Do you know a patron comes in to use your WiFi to look for jobs or have you seen a student doing homework on a tablet? These stories and examples are critical for the FCC to know about!

ALA will be submitting our own comments on October 23 based on input from our E-rate task force who advises the Washington Office on all things E-rate and feedback from the E-rate state coordinators. Your voices will amplify our message to the FCC and illustrate the difference E-rate can make in local communities. We expect further action in the coming weeks and will be calling on libraries to share their stories and step up their support of the E-rate program. There’s more to come.

Read more about ALA’s work on E-rate here.

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Crossing the Bridge: Library School to Library Job


Please welcome our new First Year Academic Librarian Experience blogger Nisha Mody, Health & Life Sciences Librarian at the Louise M. Darling Biomedical Library at the University of California, Los Angeles. In the summer of 2016, I decided to start applying for librarian jobs. I wouldn’t graduate until May 2017 at the earliest, but a … Continue reading Crossing the Bridge: Library School to Library Job →

ALA files comments to Department of Homeland Security

ALA District Dispatch -

Today, ALA filed comments to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Privacy Office expressing our concerns about the Department’s plans to monitor and collect social media information on all immigrants to the United States.

By way of background, DHS published a new rule under the Privacy Act of 1974 in the Federal Register in late September, detailing how it intends to expand the information it collects when determining a person’s immigration status to include “social media handles, aliases, associated identifiable information, and search results.” As well as immigrants to the United States, the new requirement would impact anyone who communicates with immigrants via social media, as their conversations could be reviewed by immigration officials.

This proposal is in direct opposition to a resolution passed in 2007 about immigrants’ rights and the Library Bill of Rights. As reiterated in our joint comments, existing ALA policies affirm that confidentiality is crucial to freedom of inquiry and that rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom and fundamental to the ethics and practice of librarianship. Protecting user privacy and confidentiality has long been an integral part of the mission of libraries (since 1939!) and ALA strongly supports the protection of each person’s right to privacy and civil liberties, regardless of that individual’s nationality, residency or status.

As information professionals, we are acutely aware that the collection, retention, use, and sharing of social media information can provide a wealth of data that paints a detailed portrait of an individual. If carried out as proposed, DHS’s proposal will chill immigrants’ freedom of expression and freedom of association and plausibly threaten their right to privacy in their intellectual activities and reading habits.

We urge the DHS Privacy Office to fully review and respond to the comments they received about this proposal.

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Congress continues work toward strengthening Title 44

ALA District Dispatch -

The Congressional Committee on House Administration continues its look at Title 44 of the U.S. Code with another hearing that took place on October 11. The discussion built on the committee’s previous hearings, which examined the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

Among the witnesses was Robin Dale from the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the primary (though not only) source of federal funding for America’s libraries. Dale’s testimony discussed the agency’s grantmaking activities and processes.

In previous hearings, GPO proposed that Congress allow GPO to make grants to support the FDLP. ALA’s recommendations support that idea as a way to maintain and improve library services that ensure the public’s long-term access to government information. Understanding how IMLS makes grants may inform the conversation about how to effectively support the FDLP.

The committee has now held four hearings this year to review Title 44 and heard from an array of stakeholders. While there is not yet a draft bill, the committee is expected to begin working on legislation in the coming months.

In the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) thanked the library community, including ALA, for engaging with the process and contributing their ideas. ALA appreciates the committee’s significant efforts to explore these important issues. We look forward to reviewing the expected legislation and continuing to advocate for reforms that strengthen libraries and public access to information.

To that end, on October 13 ALA submitted written testimony to the committee, which was joined by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA). The testimony, which reflects ALA’s previous recommendations, will be included in the official hearing record. In the testimony, ALA, COSLA and SLA call for legislation that will strengthen library partnerships, ensure the long-term preservation of government information, and improve the collection and distribution of digital publications.

ALA welcomes the opportunity to continue collaborating with stakeholders from across the library community as the legislative effort proceeds. FDLP librarians will have the opportunity to learn more about the process at the Depository Library Council meeting on October 16-18. By working together, librarians can advocate for better library services and improved access to information.

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Looking out for your community: Librarians and DACA


A couple of weeks ago, rumors started to swirl that President Trump and his administration would rescind the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals Act (DACA). A couple of days later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced, that DACA would indeed be rescinded. Many felt frightened, betrayed, sad, and angry. As I was thinking of writing this … Continue reading Looking out for your community: Librarians and DACA →

Higher education reauthorization on Congressional fall agenda

ALA District Dispatch -

On the fall agenda for Congress is the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA). HEA was originally enacted in 1965 during the Lyndon Johnson Administration and was last reauthorized in 2008. While HEA has received significant interest in the past few sessions of Congress, its passage has stalled under partisan rancor.

U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnsonsigns the Higher Education Act Nov. 8, 1965. (AP Photo)

Even though HEA has been operating without being reauthorized, its reauthorization is important because it sends a message to the Appropriators that the program is a priority for Congress. Under the powers of Congress, a program or agency is “authorized”to operate and exist. Most program authorizations are designed to expire every few years and must be reauthorized. The process to reauthorize a program allows Congress an opportunity to examine if the program needs to be changed, modernized or possibly sunset (e.g., the Board of Tea Appeals, Board of Economic Warfare, etc.).

Authorizations can also include long-term spending plans for a program. However, an authorization is not necessary for a program to receive federal funding, nor does it guarantee a level of funding. Appropriations bills determine independently the level of funding a program is to receive in a given year. An unauthorized program may continue to receive funding, but some “fiscal hawks” in Congress are increasingly threatening to sunset unauthorized programs.

Many of the provisions, or Titles, of HEA will have minimal direct impact on libraries, but a few key areas warrant attention from the library community. How Congress views these programs may impact libraries at colleges and universities, particularly in two areas:

Title IV of HEA authorizes a broad array of aid programs to assist students in financing a higher education. The programs authorized under this title are the primary sources of federal aid to support higher education. Students who work in libraries or are enrolled in degree programs such as Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) programs may qualify for loan relief. The two most impactful HEA authorized programs for libraries are the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (allows debt forgiveness for borrowers working in public service careers for 10 years, including libraries), and the Perkins Loan Cancellation (allows loan forgiveness for qualifying borrowers who work in school or tribal libraries or other educational settings).

Titles III and V authorize grants to higher education institutions that serve a high number of low-income and minority students (including Historically Black Colleges, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic-Serving Institutions). These schools can utilize federal grants to meet a range of needs, including the purchase of library books and materials and the construction, renovation and improvement of classrooms and libraries. ALA opposes any efforts to reduce support for underserved students.

Programs to support higher education libraries and MLIS students are valuable assets at colleges and universities and support the mission of ALA. HEA reauthorization is likely to consume much of the higher education agenda for months, and the ALA Washington Office will keep you informed as these issues develop.


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On Being a New Liaison


Please welcome our new First Year Academic Librarian Experience blogger Abby Flanigan, Research Librarian for Music and Performing Arts at the University of Virginia. Last January, I joined the University of Virginia Libraries as the Research Librarian for Music and Performing Arts. This is my first professional position after graduating from the University of North … Continue reading On Being a New Liaison →

How fast is fast enough? Comments on FCC broadband deployment report

ALA District Dispatch -

Since 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been required by Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act to periodically release a report assessing the country’s state of advanced telecommunications capability and to adopt measures to measure further broadband deployments. Last Friday, we submitted comments to the FCC raising two issues particularly relevant to libraries and their public missions: first, the criteria and standards for broadband deployment to public institutions like libraries and schools; second, the role of mobile internet access in connecting consumers to information.

In our comments, we asked the FCC to maintain the benchmarks for broadband to libraries set in 2014 as part of the modernization of the E-rate program: for libraries serving less than 50,000 population the FCC recommended a minimum broadband speed of 100 Mbps; for libraries serving more than 50,000 population it recommended a speed of at least 1 Gbps. We also hope the FCC will work with us to find other metrics that might help our shared policy goals of ensuring well-connected anchor institutions.

In addition, we used our comments to share our view that mobile and fixed broadband access serve complementary purposes for people, but are not the same. Given our interest in ensuring peoples’ access to information, libraries have a vested interest in the quality of broadband access people have at home. Over 90 percent of public libraries offer their patrons access to commercial reference and periodical databases from thousands of sources, most offering that access to consumers at home. Increasingly, the content is multimedia, with a heavy reliance on streaming video.

In our view, the possibility that the FCC may consider mobile internet access as part of the universal deployment of advanced telecommunications capability is troubling because the capabilities of mobile service do not yet meet those of wired broadband access. Further, many services are subject to data caps, which will disproportionately hurt consumers with lower incomes.

Why does all this matter? FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently suggested that the commission’s current standard for home broadband of 25 Mbps up and 3 Mbps down, defined under a previous FCC chairman, was perhaps unnecessarily high. Pai has proposed a mobile broadband standard of 10 Mbps up and 1 Mbps down. Rather than ensuring commercial ISPs are meeting consumers’ needs and holding carriers accountable to existing standards, the FCC may be choosing to “make the test easier” for those providers.

We are not alone in our concerns: there is a letter to Chairman Pai, supported by eight senators and 29 members of Congress, opposing his efforts to lower broadband Internet standards for millions of Americans. The full letter can be found here.

The FCC is likely to issue a report with their findings the first part of next year.

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Section 702: Advocates brace for surveillance reform fight

ALA District Dispatch -

With fewer than 90 calendar days remaining before the expiration of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), this week ALA joined the ACLU and a host of other major national privacy advocates in calling on the leaders of the House Judiciary Committee not to reauthorize the program without adding substantial new privacy protections necessary to make the program constitutional. The fundamental flaw in 702, as reported in Politico’s coverage of the letter from almost 60 organizations, is that it “authorizes surveillance of people who are not ‘U.S. persons’ reasonably believed to be outside U.S. borders – but it vacuums up an unknown amount of data on Americans in the process.” 

Closing this so-called “backdoor search loophole” is the single most important reform backed by ALA and its coalition partners. For their part, leaders of the intelligence community recently wrote to congressional leaders in both chambers urging that the program be reauthorized without any changes and made permanent rather than subject to a new “sunset” date. (It’s just such a deadline, however, that’s forcing scrutiny of the program and the present reform debate.)

If passed, a June 2017 bill (S. 1297) by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) and backed by 13 other Senate Republicans, would do exactly as they wish. As widely reported, however, many other members of Congress – including the bipartisan leadership of both chambers’ Judiciary Committees with jurisdiction over section 702 – oppose clean reauthorization of the law without additional safeguards for civil liberties.

The House Judiciary Committee’s initial legislative proposals were just unveiled yesterday as the “USA Liberty Act” and are expected to change before being debated and voted on by the Committee, possibly as early as the week of October 23. As summarized by the Committee, the bill does constructively limit the use of information collected without a warrant for domestic criminal prosecutions, as well as sweeping so-called “about” searches of collected data. Initial reactions by major civil liberties organizations, while appreciative of those proposed changes, have been qualified and uniformly call for far greater reforms to section 702 than those detailed in the new bill.

The final shape of 702 reform legislation is still unclear, but the looming deadline to complete a bill by year’s end is now in legislators’ sharp focus. What is certain is that legislative debate now has begun in earnest and it will be fast, furious and high-stakes. All members of Congress will need to hear from their constituents at home that reforms are essential when the time is right.

That time will be very soon and ALA’s Washington Office will, as always, provide timely alerts of how and when to take action. The law is complicated, but the main message to Congress won’t be: “please don’t reauthorize section 702 the without closing backdoor search loophole now.”

Additional General Resources:

Warrantless Surveillance Under Section 702 of FISA
American Civil Liberties Union (2017)

Reforming Section 702: We Can Protect Americans’ Privacy and Protect Against Foreign Threats
Brennan Center for Justice (August 2017)

What is 702 and Why Should I Care? (infographic)
Arab American Institute (September 2017)

A History of FISA Section 702 Compliance Violations (interactive timeline and chart)
New America Foundation Open Technology Institute (September 2017)

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA): Its Illegal and Unconstitutional Use
Electronic Frontier Foundation (undated)

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Words, Censor, and Professionalism when WTF?!


That quaint blog post I published last month squeaked out just before Nazi rioters marched, threatened, and violently harmed counter protesters (killing one) in Charlottesville, VA. This post comes at the heels of the “worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history” (1)  at a Las Vegas music festival.  My first ever post for ACRLog was … Continue reading Words, Censor, and Professionalism when WTF?! →

Dr. Renate Chancellor talks with staff about library luminaries

ALA District Dispatch -

The ALA Washington Office was very happy to welcome and learn from Dr. Renate Chancellor (upper row on the left), Associate Professor of Library and Information Science at Catholic University.

Yesterday the Washington Office welcomed Associate Professor Renate Chancellor of The Catholic University of America’s Department of Library and Information Science for a breakfast discussion on the history of library advocacy and activism. Her presentation spanned the decades, from the work of E.J. Josey to the legacies left and continued by Augusta Baker and Sandy Berman.

Dr. Chancellor led a discussion that covered luminary library activists and dived into issues in the profession, from intellectual freedom to diverse books to bias in subject headings. She also provided some insight about how her students are learning about activism in libraries, from her current cohort’s desire to talk about librarians’ foreseeable role in social justice issues happening on campuses and in neighborhoods across the country today, to the concepts of John Kingdon around becoming a “political entrepreneur,” a term which she defined as someone “who, from the outside of the formal position of government, introduce, translate, and help implement new ideas into public practice.”

At Catholic, Dr. Chancellor oversees the law librarianship program. Her research interests include legal information seeking behavior, social justice in library and information services, multicultural library and information services, and transformative leadership. She also writes and publishes on issues of diversity in the field. She is now working on a book about E.J. Josey—a pioneering librarian, instrumental in integrating the American Librarian Association and founding its Black Caucus—documenting his life as a civil rights activist and leader in the modern library profession.

The Washington Office appreciated the opportunity to hear Dr. Chancellor’s insights on a range of critical issues that have shaped the history of advocacy within the field.

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Happy 72nd birthday to the Washington Office

ALA District Dispatch -

In 1945, the ALA announced the establishment of the Washington Office. It began operation 72 years ago today on October 1. The Washington Office was charged with educating and working with legislators and public officials to obtain funding and policies that benefit libraries and public access to information. In addition, the Washington Office was—and continues to be—responsible for making official comments on proposed regulations and advocating for legislation that supports libraries and library service through the press and personal contacts, in cooperation with state and local library agencies.

We are grateful to ALA’s members for their steadfast engagement and for allowing us the privilege of being ALA’s voice in Washington for over seven decades.

Here are seven ways you can celebrate our birthday this week:

  1. Sign up to receive ALA’s advocacy alerts at ala.org/takeaction.
  2. Let us know about your recent meetings with your elected officials.
  3. Browse the Washington Office’s newsletters in the archives.
  4. Check out archival photos of our leaders over the years.
  5. Save the date for National Library Legislative Day 2018—May 7 and May 8, 2018
  6. Follow ALA on Twitter and send the Washington Office a message via the hashtag #ALAWO.
  7. Speaking of archives, do you have some history (photos, postcards, documents, stories, etc.) related to the Washington Office? Send us a note at imanager@alawash.org and share what you have.

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Libraries again oppose unneeded, risky Section 108 update

ALA District Dispatch -

As reported last month, ALA and the other members of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA) have been scrutinizing the Copyright Office’s extensive new analysis of and recommendations for statutory changes to Section 108 of the Copyright Act. Section 108 (a.k.a. “the library exception”) allows libraries to make copies for preservation and other purposes, including interlibrary loan. The report was released on September 15.

In a statement released last Friday, LCA commended the Copyright Office for a thorough report and its balanced and well-reasoned legislative suggestions for updating section 108. Of special note was the Copyright Office’s strong, unequivocal rejection of arguments long made by some commercial stakeholders that libraries may not rely on both section 108 and fair use to undertake section 108-related activities. The Office couldn’t have been clearer in its conclusion that “it is essential that the fair use savings clause stay in section 108.”

That said, LCA nevertheless reiterated its prior calls on Congress not to take up section 108 reform and instead address other, more pressing copyright matters. In support of its position, LCA again cited strong fair use court decisions and the uncertainties inherent in a political legislative process that ultimately could weaken libraries’ rights. Notwithstanding LCA’s objections, many in Washington consider it probable that section 108 (and possibly other targeted) copyright reform legislation will be introduced later this year. If and when it is, the help of library supporters may be needed to remind Congress of libraries’ “thanks, but no thanks” perspective on section 108.

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ALA advocacy panel at New York Comic Con

ALA District Dispatch -

This year, New York Comic Con (NYCC) is teaming up with The New York Public Library to expand offerings for educators and librarians by providing them with a space for panels, networking, and workshops on Thursday, October 5.

ALA has organized a panel that will take place in the Celeste Auditorium at 10:30 a.m. The panel, Citizen-Centric Library Advocacy: Building People Power for Your Branch, will offer a space to talk about how library staff and patrons can use personal stories to advocate for their library. The following panelists will join us:

Ricci Yuhico
Managing Librarian, Young Adult Services, The New York Public Library (NYPL)

Ricci is a recent transplant to NYC from Miami. In the daytime, she is the Managing Librarian for Young Adult Services in NYPL’s Mid-Manhattan Library. Outside of work, she is the Advocacy Chair for Urban Librarians Unite. In previous experiences in the political realm, she co-founded a political action committee in 2013 to 2015, CALM, Community Advocates for Libraries in Miami, with other librarians and library advocates and advocated heavily for fully-funding the Miami-Dade Public Library System. CALM also partnered with local organizations and stakeholders to form the Coalition to Save Our Libraries.

Davis Erin Anderson
Community Engagement Manager, Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO)

Davis works to extend METRO’s presence into the digital realm. She keeps METRO’s friends, followers, and connections up to date on issues by writing and editing content for metro.org and METO’s social media channels. She also works directly with METRO’s Special Interest Groups, ensuring that METRO members have a forum for issues of importance to their careers. A graduate of Pratt Institute’s School of Information and Library Science, Davis also holds two degrees in music performance. Prior to joining METRO, she worked in the library at Boosey & Hawkes, a premiere classical music publishing company.

Robin Lester Kenton
Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)

Robin is the Vice President of Marketing & Communications at BPL, the nation’s fifth-largest public library system. She is charged with overseeing most of BPL’s public-facing communications, including social media, print materials, website management, press relations and email marketing. Her team promotes library services and materials and encouraged Brooklynites to become more involved in the success of their local branch. Prior to her role at BPL, Robin served as the Director of Strategic Communications for the NYC Department of Transportation, driving community involvement in local projects such as the planning and rollout of the city’s bike share program.

Nicholas Higgins
Director, Outreach Services, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL)

Nicholas is the Director of Outreach Services at BPL, where he oversees services for older adults, correctional services, immigrant services and outreach to individuals and families experiencing homelessness. From 2009 to 2013, he oversaw NYPL’s Correctional Services Department, developing several innovative programs, including mobile libraries at city jails, an early literacy and book-recording program for incarcerated parents, and a 12-week literature class offered for men in federal prison. He received a MLS from the Pratt Institute and a BA in British Literature from Hunter College.

Hours for Comic Con at NYPL are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at NYPL’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (enter at 42nd Street near 5th Avenue). This is a free, ticketed Comic Con event for librarians, teachers, and educators; a NYCC badge valid for Thursday is required for entry.

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Exploring the Washington Office special collections

ALA District Dispatch -

This is a guest post from Andrew Staton, our fall special collections intern joining us from the University of Maryland. Andrew is a genealogist and budding archivist with two semesters left at UMD. He graduated from the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of Arts in historic preservation and community planning.

My first projects as an intern in the ALA Washington Office have focused on three of the Washington Office’s archival collections – two that contain mostly bound materials such as books and reports, and one photographic collection representing events and staff from the office’s nearly seventy-five-year history.

The historical theme of library advocacy in Washington is visible throughout all three of these special collections. The photographs, for example, depict the history of the Washington Office and a variety of events connecting libraries and the government from the 1950s to the 2000s. These photos visually place the Washington Office at the forefront of library advocacy throughout its history, particularly through former directors Julia Bennett, Germaine Krettek and Eileen Cooke—the combined tenure of whom spans over forty years.

I think the moments captured in the photographs are important for two reasons: they show how the ALA and the Washington Office have been consistently at the forefront of library advocacy and they illustrate how U.S. Presidents in recent history have demonstrated their commitment to the library and information professions.

President John F. Kennedy celebrates the swearing in of the US Commissioner of Education, Francis Keppel, in December 1962. Germaine Krettek, director of the Washington Office, looks on from the far left of the photo.

The bound materials I have processed also point to our rich history of advocacy. The first collection of reports that I processed related to the National Commission on Libraries and Information Services (NCLIS), an organization that lasted from 1970 to 2002. The reports detail the development of many library programs that continue to exist and thrive today. For example, an August 1974 NCLIS report makes the argument for a national interlibrary loan program, a system that continues to be widely used in the 21st century.

The second collection of reports are related to the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services (WHCLIS), first held in 1979 under President Jimmy Carter and again in 1991 under President George H. W. Bush. WHCLIST – the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Science Taskforce – turned over its assets to the ALA Washington Office in 2012 to foster a new generation of library advocacy through an annual award that sponsors an attendee to National Library Legislative Day.

The purpose of NCLIS and WHCLIS was to foster a more standardized, universal dialogue regarding the world of libraries and information. Both were responsible for important constructive conversations that brought the profession forward.

Over the next half of my internship, I am looking forward to digging into more archival files and artifacts. Now, we are boxing up the photos and NCLIS and WHCLIS reports to send them to the American Library Association Archives, housed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Once there, they will be digitized and made searchable—just in time for the Washington Office to celebrate their 75th anniversary.

Director of the Washington Office Germaine Krettek (far left) and Executive Director of the ALA David Clift (second to left, behind Ms. Krettek) attend a 1964 White House event with President Lyndon Johnson (far right).

Germaine Krettek, director of the Washington Office, shakes hands with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office during a meeting with representatives of the American Library Trustees Association (ALTA, a division of the ALA) in October 1969.

Also present at President Nixon’s October 1969 meeting with ALTA representatives is then-House Minority Leader and future President Gerald Ford, far left.

Washington Office director Eileen Cooke, right, shakes hands with then-Second Lady (and future First Lady) Barbara Bush during a 1983 event in Washington.

A welcome letter from President Jimmy Carter greets guests at the first White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services (WHCLIS) in November 1979 – at which he also spoke to attendees about his previous service as a library trustee in Georgia.

Future President Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, is a speaker at the November 1979 WHCLIS, with his accomplishments relating to libraries and the information profession highlighted in the event’s program.

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HLS/ACRLog: Tweet your heart out?: Social Media and Expanding Professional Development


Today we welcome a post by Zohra Saulat as part of our collaboration with Hack Library School. Zohra Saulat is a second-year MLIS student and graduate assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She plans on becoming an instructional and reference librarian. Through librarianship, she hopes to do her part in making information accessible. She likes … Continue reading HLS/ACRLog: Tweet your heart out?: Social Media and Expanding Professional Development →

After 20 years, House hearing focuses on depository libraries

ALA District Dispatch -

On September 26, Congress’ Committee on House Administration held a hearing to discuss the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) – the first such hearing in 20 years.

The hearing was part of the committee’s initiative to examine Title 44 of the U.S. Code, which is the basis for the FDLP and the Government Publishing Office (GPO). While much of the law has not been substantially changed since 1962, today’s meeting is further evidence of growing momentum in Congress to develop legislation that will bolster the FDLP and help libraries connect Americans to their government.

The committee heard today from four librarians, testifying as individual experts rather than for their institutions, about their ideas for strengthening the program to improve the public’s access to government information. In addition, Laurie Hall, GPO’s acting Superintendent of Documents (and a librarian!), testified about the office’s oversight of the program.

Appearing before the committee were:

  • Mike Furlough, executive director of HathiTrust Digital Library, whose members include 128 Federal Depository Libraries
  • Celina McDonald, government documents & criminology librarian at the University of Maryland, the regional depository library for Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia
  • Stephen Parks, State Librarian of the Mississippi State Law Library, which is a selective depository
  • Beth Williams, library director at Stanford Law School, a selective depository

Testimony highlighted the enduring value of the FDLP in ensuring that Americans can access the documents of their government, not just today but in the future. The witnesses also discussed several ideas for facilitating collaboration between GPO and libraries, preserving publications over the long term and improving digital access to government publications.

Committee chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS3) described the hearing as an opportunity “to see how we can make something that we like, better.” ALA extends our thanks to Chairman Harper and the committee members for their interest in modernizing Title 44 and their thoughtful questions today.

The post After 20 years, House hearing focuses on depository libraries appeared first on District Dispatch.

Next CopyTalk – Understanding Rights Reversion

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Photo credit: trophygeek

Join copyright attorney Brianna Schofield, Executive Director and Erika Wilson, Communications and Operations Manager from the Authors Alliance on October 5th to learn about rights reversion. Authors who have a rights reversion provision in their contractual agreements with publishers can regain their rights of copyright. By doing so, authors can bring their out-of-print books back in print, deposit them in open access repositories, or otherwise make their works available to the public. This CopyTalk will cover why, when, and how to pursue a reversion of rights, review practical tools and resources, and show how librarians can educate authors about their options to regain rights from publishers and make their works newly available.

Tune in and see if rights reversion is right for you!

Mark your calendars for October 5th, 11am Pacific/ 2pm Eastern for “Rights reversion: restoring knowledge and culture, one book at a time.” Go to http://ala.adobeconnect.com/copytalk/ and sign in as a guest. You’re in.

CopyTalks are FREE and brought to you by OITP’s copyright education subcommittee. Archived webinars can be found here.

The post Next CopyTalk – Understanding Rights Reversion appeared first on District Dispatch.

2017 Patterson Copyright Award Winner: Jonathan Band

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Jonathan Band, recipient of the 2017 Patterson Award

We are pleased to announce that Jonathan Band is the 2017 recipient of the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award. The award recognizes contributions of an individual or group that pursues and supports the Constitutional purpose of the U.S. copyright law, fair use and the public domain.

ALA President James Neal had this to say:

“Jonathan Band has guided the library community over two decades through the challenges of the copyright legal and legislative battles,” said. “His deep understanding of our community and the needs of our users, in combination with his remarkable knowledge and supportive style, has raised our understanding of copyright and our commitment to balanced interpretations and applications of the law. The 2017 L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award appropriately celebrates Jonathan’s leadership, counsel and dedication.”

Band, a copyright attorney at policybandwidth and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law School, has represented libraries and technology associations before Congress, the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch and has written public comments, testimony, amicus briefs, and countless statements supporting balanced copyright. Band’s amicus brief on behalf of the Library Copyright Alliance was quoted in the landmark Kirstaeng v. Wiley case, where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the first sale doctrine applied to books printed abroad, enabling libraries to buy and lend books manufactured overseas. He also represented libraries throughout the Authors Guild v. Google litigation, whose ruling advanced the concept of transformative fair use. Band’s Google Book Settlement/Litigation flow chart, developed to explain the complexity of the case to the public, is widely cited and used worldwide.

The scope of Band’s work extends internationally as well. He has argued for balanced provisions in international trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and treaties that protect users’ rights and the open internet. He represented U.S. libraries at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which after several years of negotiation adopted the Marrakesh Treaty, mandating enactment of copyright exceptions permitting the making of accessible format copies for print disabled people to help address the worldwide book famine.

(Left to right) Former ALA Washington Office Executive Director Emily Sheketoff, Jonathan Band, Brandon Butler and Mary Rasenberger.

Mr. Band has written extensively on intellectual property and electronic commerce matters, including several books and over 100 articles. He has been quoted as an authority on intellectual property and internet matters in numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today and Forbes, and has been interviewed on National Public Radio, MSNBC and CNN.

The Patterson Award will be presented to Band by ALA President Jim Neal at a reception in Washington, D.C., in October. Several members of the D.C.-based technology policy community also will provide comments on Band’s influential career in advocating for balanced copyright policy.

The post 2017 Patterson Copyright Award Winner: Jonathan Band appeared first on District Dispatch.


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