Legislative Updates

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.

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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.

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Libraries Ready to Code adds capacity

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[[Guest post by Linda Braun, CE coordinator for the Young Adult Library Services Association has been involved with ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative since it’s start, serving as project researcher and now assisting with the administration of the Phase III grant program.]]

The Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) team is growing by one! Dr. Mega Subramaniam, Associate Professor, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, will serve as Ready to Code Fellow during 017-2018. Dr. Subramaniam began her involvement with RtC as an advisory committee member and currently serves as co-principal investigator for RtC Phase II. She will contribute overall guidance based on her professional expertise as well as her role as an ALA member.

We are also happy to announce the RtC Selection Committee who will contribute their expertise (and time!) to select a cohort of school and public libraries as part of the next phase of our multi-year initiative. The committee includes representatives of the Association for Library service to Children (ALSC), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), and the Office for Information technology Policy (OITP). We are extremely pleased to have such a strong collaboration across different ALA units. Committee members are:

  • Michelle Cooper, White Oak Middle School Media Center, White Oak, TX (AASL)
  • Dr. Colette Drouillard, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA (ALSC)
  • Dr. Aaron Elkins, Texas Woman’s University, Denton, TX (AASL)
  • Shilo Halfen (Chair), Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL (ALSC)
  • Christopher Harris, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Le Roy, NY (OITP)
  • Kelly Marie Hicks, Detroit Country Day School, Bloomfield Hills, MI (AASL)
  • Peter Kirschmann, The Clubhouse Network, Boston, MA (YALSA)
  • Dr. Rachel Magee, University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, Champaign, IL (YALSA)
  • Carrie Sanders, Maryland State Library, Baltimore, MD (YALSA)
  • Conni Strittmatter, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD (ALSC)

The committee is reviewing over 300 applications from across the country to design and implement learning activities that foster youth acquisition of computational thinking and/or computer science (CS) skills. Awards up to $25,000 will be made to as many as 50 libraries. Awardees will form a cohort that will provide feedback for the development of a toolkit of resources and implementation strategies for libraries to use when integrating computational thinking and CS into their activities with and for youth. The resulting toolkit will be made widely available so any library can use it at no cost. The program is sponsored by Google as part of its ongoing commitment to ensure library staff are prepared to provide rich coding/CS programs for youth.

This project is Phase III of the RtC ALA-Google collaboration. The work began with an environmental scan of youth-focused library coding activities. “Ready to Code: Connecting Youth to CS Opportunity Through Libraries,” published as a result of that work, highlights what libraries and library staff need in order to provide high-quality youth-centered computational thinking and computer science activities. Phase II of the project provides faculty at LIS programs across the United States with the opportunity to redesign a syllabus in order to integrate computational thinking and computer science into teaching and learning.

Learn more about the Libraries Ready to Code initiative and access an advocacy video, the Ready to Code report, and infographics on the project website.

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Dear Congress, here’s how to ensure public access to government information

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As previously reported, Congress’ Committee on House Administration is currently examining Title 44 of the U.S. Code. That’s the law that governs the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

On Sept. 15, ALA President Jim Neal sent the committee a letter highlighting the vital role of libraries and the FDLP in providing equitable and long-term access to a wealth of information resources created by the federal government. As president Neal put it:

Libraries help the public find, use and understand government information. Through their decades-long partnership with the FDLP, libraries collect, catalog, preserve and provide reference services to support a wide array of users, including business owners, lawyers, researchers, students of every age and citizens.

However, the law designed to support those important activities has become less and less in tune with changing library and information practices. Many provisions of Title 44 were last revised in the 1960s and are understandably but badly out of step with the way Americans use, and libraries want and need to provide, information in the 21st century.

In order to ensure the public’s continued access to government information, ALA has made specific and detailed recommendations to Congress that it modernize Title 44 to:

  1. Strengthen library partnerships for public access to federal publications;
  2. Ensure the long-term preservation of federal publications; and
  3. Improve the collection and distribution of digital publications.

On Sept. 26, the committee will hold a hearing to discuss the FDLP – Congress’ first hearing on the program in 20 years. ALA looks forward to this discussion and appreciates the committee’s interest in exploring these issues, with particular thanks to chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS3) and ranking member Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA1). We hope this hearing will identify directions in which reform legislation might productively go to strengthen the program and help libraries better connect Americans to their government.

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Copyright Office releases draft bill to change Section 108

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Thirteen years. That’s arguably how long the U.S. Copyright Office and many in industry and the library universe (notably including ALA president Jim Neal) have wrestled with difficult practical, legal and political questions about whether or how to modernize section 108 of the Copyright Act (17 USC §108). That’s the provision that creates a “safe harbor” from copyright infringement liability under specific circumstances for libraries and archives copying or distributing copyrighted material to preserve, secure and replace their collections (and other limited purposes). In a 70+ page “Discussion Document” released last Friday, and building on the work of the Section 108 Study Group’s own 2008 recommendations, the Copyright Office recounts the history of that effort and makes detailed proposals for updating section 108. It also provides “model” statutory language for Congress’ consideration.

ALA and its coalition colleagues are analyzing Friday’s Discussion Document and accompanying legisla-tive text. While drafted in legislative form, they have not yet been introduced (in whole or in part) as actual legislation and it is not yet clear whether they will be. More on that front as information becomes available. For the moment, as summarized by the Copyright Office, its principal findings and recommendations for changes to section 108 include:

Organization and Scope

  • Reorganize section 108 to make it easier to understand and apply in practice;
  • Add museums to the statute in order to increase the reach of section 108 and ensure that more works can be preserved and made available to scholars and researchers;
  • Add exceptions to the rights of public display and performance where appropriate; and
  • Add common-sense conditions for libraries, archives, and museums to meet in order to be eligible for section 108 coverage, so as to balance the significant expansion of the exceptions.

Preservation, Research, and Replacement Copies

  • Replace the current published/unpublished distinction with a new publicly disseminated/not publicly disseminated distinction, to better reflect the ways in which commercialized works are made available;
  • Allow preservation copies to be made of all works in an eligible entity’s collections, with expanded access for copies of works that were not disseminated to the public, a “dark archive” for publicly disseminated works, and replacement of the three-copy limit with a “reasonably necessary” standard;
  • Expand the limits of what is allowed to be copied for research use in another institution, and replace the three-copy limit with a limit of what is “reasonably necessary” to result in a single end-use copy; and
  • Add “fragile” to the list of conditions that may trigger a replacement copy, expand off-premises access for replacement copies, and replace the three-copy limit with a limit of what is “reasonably necessary” to result in a single end-use copy.

Copies for Users

  • Clarify that digital distributions, displays, and performances are allowed to be made of copies made at the request of users, under certain conditions;
  • Add a requirement for copies for users of an entire work or a substantial part of a work, that not only must a usable copy of the work not be available for purchase, but the user must not be able to license the use of the work; and
  • Eliminate the exclusion of musical works; pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works; and motion pictures or other audio- visual works from the provisions permitting copies to be made at the request of users, under certain conditions.

Audio-visual News Programs, Last 20 Years of Protection, and Unsupervised Reproducing Equipment

  • Expand the means through which copies of audio-visual news programs may be distributed;
  • Expand the provision concerning exceptions in the last 20 years of copyright protection to cover all works, not only published works; and
  • Clarify that the limitation of liability for patron use of unsupervised reproducing equipment includes equipment brought onto the premises by users, such as smart phones and portable scanners, and require copyright warnings be posted throughout the institution’s public areas.

Licenses and Outsourcing

  • Provide that eligible institutions do not infringe a work if they make preservation or security reproduc¬tions in violation of contrary, non-bargained-for, contractual language; and
  • Allow eligible institutions to contract with third parties to perform any of the reproduction functions under section 108, under specific conditions.

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Washington Office’s copyright expert, puzzle master recognized

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Here’s something you may not know about the Washington Office’s in-house copyright expert Carrie Russell: Carrie loves puzzles.

On the first floor of the Washington Office, Carrie always has a jigsaw puzzle in progress. And, in her office on the second floor, she’s spent the last 18 years trying to untangle the field’s bigger knots.

Carrie — who is being recognized by her alma mater the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UMW) this weekend at their 50th Anniversary Gala — thinks there is no better feeling than completing a puzzle.

“When I was a student at UWM, I worked in the library and loved cataloging,” said Carrie. “I remember we had to carry around these huge Sears List of Subject Headings manuals everywhere and I loved it. To me, cataloging was a puzzle that’s a lot like the public policy I work on now.”

Carrie joined the Washington Office in 1999 as a copyright specialist, developing copyright education programs for librarians and analyzing the expansion of copyright law in the digital environment. Carrie’s work broadened in 2007 when she became director of the Program on Public Access to Information, covering international copyright, accessibility, e-books and more.

“This honor is certainly well-deserved given Carrie’s many contributions to the field,” said Office for Information Technology Policy’s Director Alan Inouye. “She has been a driving force behind ALA’s involvement in big copyright issues like the Marrakesh treaty, the Google books lawsuit, HathiTrust, the ongoing Georgia State e-reserves case, Section 108 study group and our work with LCA and the newer Re:Create coalition. We are grateful for her vision, dedication and partnership these significant areas.”

UWM is honoring Carrie alongside 49 other alumni — including ALA’s Kristin Pekoll, assistant director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom — who, through their lives and careers, have exemplified UMW’s focus on critical inquiry and leadership to address the needs of a diverse and global information society.

Carrie didn’t start out thinking she would become an international copyright expert. When she graduated from UMW in 1985, she took a position as a serials cataloger in the library at the University of Arizona Tucson. There she progressed from serials to media.

“After I graduated from UMW I became really interested in the concept of information as a commodity,” explained Carrie. “I started to spend time with the political economists in the University’s Media Arts Department.”

Carrie, who studied film (ask her about Italian neorealism!) during her undergraduate years, was no stranger to Media Arts—and brought a unique perspective.

“To me, serials pricing was the perfect political economy puzzle. Each journal title publishes unique research findings and, as a result, creates these unique commodities,” explained Carrie. “But, at U of A, rising subscription costs often prevented us from being able to afford certain subscriptions. We had to try to contain costs while simultaneously maximizing access for our users.”

After getting her second master’s degree, Carrie moved into a position as the University’s Copyright Librarian, consulting faculty regarding curriculum-related copyright issues and developing an advocacy program for faculty on scholarly communication and alternative publishing models.

Today, Carrie continues to work directly with librarians on copyright, hosting training and webinars, analyzing legislation, presenting at conferences and writing books. Through her work with ALA’s Copyright Education Subcommittee, she became known for her creative communication on copyright, creating the spinner, the slider, the “foldy thingy” and Fair Use coasters. She was the recipient of the 2013 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for Best Book in Library Literature for Copyright Copyright: An Everyday Guide for K-12 Librarians and Educators. She also is the author of Complete Copyright: An Everyday Guide for Librarians, now in its second edition.

“I know that all of my colleagues at the Washington Office and ALA broadly join me in applauding both Carrie and Kristin for this impressive acknowledgment of their outstanding leadership and commitment to the library field,” said Associate Executive Director Kathi Kromer. “ALA is fortunate to have such talented issues experts on staff to help us serve members and the public and we look forward to their future contributions.”

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House approves full IMLS, LSTA and IAL funding for FY 2018

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Today, the full House of Representatives voted as part of a large spending package (H.R. 3354) not to make any cuts in federal funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), including all funding for its programs under the Library Services and Technology Act, and for the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. Notably, the package also increased funding for the National Library of Medicine by $6 million.

The House approved full funding for FY 2018 key federal library programs. Photo credit: origamiexpressions.com

With today’s vote, the House has now finished work for the FY 2018 appropriations cycle, at least until it must reconcile its bill to one eventually passed by the Senate. The full Senate is not likely to take up its own appropriations bill* until late this year.

Once the Senate has acted on a spending bill and the process of resolving differences with the House bill begins, ALA and library supporters everywhere may need to again push hard to retain funding gains made in the Senate. ALA’s Washington Office will put out an alert when your voice can be most effective.

Congratulations to everyone who contacted their representative. Your advocacy has put libraries in a great position at this point in the process; your persistence later this year will give us a strong finish.


* Read last week’s post on the Senate Appropriations Committee vote to increase IMLS’ FY 2018 budget.

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ALA appoints Jon Peha and Sari Feldman as senior fellows

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ALA has appointed Sari Feldman and Jon Peha as senior fellows. Photo credit: American Library Association

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jon Peha and Sari Feldman as senior fellows of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). As senior fellows, they will provide strategic advice on our national policy advocacy.

Jon Peha is a professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy and the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. He has served as the chief technologist at the Federal Communications Commission, assistant director in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, legislative fellow on the House Energy & Commerce Committee and team leader and fellow in the U.S. Agency for International Development. In industry, Peha has been chief technical officer for three high-tech companies and a member of technical staff at SRI International, AT&T Bell Laboratories and Microsoft. He is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Peha will provide ALA with counsel on the broad range of telecommunications issues from net neutrality and network engineering to spectrum and universal service.

Sari Feldman is executive director of the 27-branch Cuyahoga County Public Library in Ohio. She has served as the president of the American Library Association and the Public Library Association. As part of her service to ALA, Feldman served as co-chair of the ALA Digital Content Working Group that successfully advocated for library access to e-books from the largest publishers. She was named one of Publishers Weekly’s “Notable Publishing People of 2014.” She has held other leadership posts in libraries that include deputy director at the Cleveland Public Library. She also served as an adjunct faculty member at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University. Feldman’s local civic involvement included president of the board of Cuyahoga Arts and Culture and as well as an appointed member of the City-County Workforce Development Board. She currently serves as Chair of DigitalC, formerly OneCommunity. Feldman will provide guidance on e-book and digital content issues as well as library broadband policy and implementation.

“ALA is fortunate to have such capable individuals sharing their knowledge with us,” said Marc Gartler, chair of the OITP Advisory Committee. “Libraries have many policy concerns, so the breadth and depth provided by the senior fellows is essential to our ability to adequately address the myriad issues before us. On behalf of ALA, I extend our sincere thanks for their willingness to serve.”

Feldman and Peha join senior fellow Robert Bocher, senior counsel Alan Fishel and senior advisor Roger Rosen as strategic advisors to ALA.


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Copyright Office IT modernization progress report

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The library community has been urging Congress not to derail the Copyright Office (CO)’s ongoing IT modernization by relocating it now or in the future. Rights holders, on the other hand, have been lobbying hard for CO independence. Some of them argue that the CO should become independent of the Library of Congress (LC) because the CO’s technology needs, rights holders suggest, are inherently different. In fact, both seem to have similar needs: record management, searchable databases, archiving, online transactions, security, storage availability and data integrity, to name a few.

I am happy to report, according to a new Copyright Office report submitted to the House Committee on Appropriations, “Modified U.S. Copyright Office Provisional IT Modernization Plan,” IT modernization at the CO is well underway. Much credit goes to Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden, who was confirmed in July 2016. One of the first things that Dr. Hayden did was restructure her management team so the head of the Library’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) now reports directly to her, thus allowing the Librarian to manage modernization for the entire LC, including the CO. As a result, the House Committee on Appropriations asked the CO to modify its 2016 Provisional Plan, which assumed that modernization would be “managed from within the Copyright Office.” The modified plan makes clear that coordination between LC and CO is now the new normal.

And real progress has been made. The last year has been spent studying the many complex elements of the CO’s copyright recordation function. Currently, a manual system is used to record who currently holds the exclusive rights to a work, with a six to 10-month lag time for integrating new records. (So, if the work you are interested in is not an orphan work, the CO can tell you who holds the copyright of a work only as of late 2016.)

The work plan has three phases over the next several years. The existing systems for registration (the ancient eCo system), public records catalog (which currently limits retrieval of search sets to 10,000 results – ouch!) and the statutory licensing systems are slated to be scrapped for new systems and significant upgrades. The CO has a fiduciary responsibility to distribute royalty fees to rights holders, so any system also must be able to ingest and examine licensing data. Of course, accomplishing these goals will take several years and there will be a period in which the old and new systems will operate concurrently, but enhancements will be implemented in as early as two years.

While other national priorities have moved copyright review legislation to Congress’ back burner, the OCIO and the CO are making progress on much-needed IT modernization. By working together, the OCIO can work towards the IT goals of the CO as well as provide needed IT support. Meanwhile, LC, OCIO and CO should be congratulated for the progress made thus far, which already has cut two years off earlier IT improvement projections.

So, if relocating the Copyright Office makes little technical, functional or economic sense, it’s hard to say how it will be any more sensible as time and improvements march on.

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Copyright in music webinar now available

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An archived copy of the CopyTalk webinar “Copyright in music and sound recordings: introduction and legislative update” is now available. Originally broadcast on September 7, 2017, presenter Eric Harbeson, music special collection librarian at University of Colorado-Boulder, introduced us to singular and confounding aspects of music copyright—compulsory licensing, state protection of sound recordings, how one song recording has numerous copyrights, how some copyright exceptions don’t apply to music, and more. Eric also discussed recent litigation and pending legislation including the CLASSICS Act.

All CopyTalk webinars archived and available free by using AdobeConnect.

A big thanks to Laura Quilter who stepped in as moderator while Patrick Newell, our regular host, took a long-deserved vacation. And thanks to Julianna Kloeppel at ALA-HQ for running the show while I was not out of town. (I did not take a long-deserved vacation as planned because of Irma—oh well, another vacation some other time.)

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Library licensing concerns: beyond legal details

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In August, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) released a “Literature review on the use of licenses in the library context, and the limitations this creates to access to knowledge,” authored by Svetlana Yakovleva. This 40-page report is recommended reading for those interested in gaining an understanding of library licensing concerns that go beyond legal details. Many understand that a private license agreement with terms and conditions determined by the rights holder can sidestep the user rights elements of public copyright law, which for the United States is determined by Congress. But licensing cannot be escaped—this is the business model used by rights holders to make digital resources available. Today, licenses are omnipresent: we agree to licenses when we purchase an airline ticket, when we buy an appliance that includes software, when we buy digital music, when we subscribe to Pandora, when we sign up for cable television. Licensing is here to stay.

A new literature review from IFLA sheds light on library licensing concerns that go beyond legal details. Photo credit: Wikicommons

The IFLA report summarizes how licensing is further befuddled by economic concentration of the publishing industry, pricing models and the transaction costs of libraries having to manage and comply with multiple licenses. Not surprisingly, Yakovleva also notes the lack of literature on licensing content regarding public libraries, including a lack of evidence that “public libraries equally suffer from increasing financial burden of rising licensing fees.” (I know a few public librarians who would argue with that.)

For public libraries, understanding the problems with licensing seemed to hit home only in the last several years, when libraries began to acquire e-books. For academic libraries, discussions regarding “access over ownership” – i.e. licensing over copyright – began more than 30 years ago, fueled in part by journal price inflation that decimated acquisitions budgets. Academic libraries had to act quickly, learn from one another, develop and support new collection policies. Eventually, they formed the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), now a global coalition committed to open access, authors’ rights, open sharing of research data and open educational resources.

A similar trajectory seems less likely with public libraries, for several reasons:

  • While a growing percentage of the collections budget is spent on digital resources, public libraries still have tremendous print collections with circulation stats unheard of in academic libraries.
  • Public libraries collect resources from the trade book market, which is profoundly different from the academic market.
  • Public libraries focus less on collection development than on providing a broad array of user services to their local communities.

The differences between public and academic libraries are numerous, but most licensing issues centered on owning library resources are common. More research on public library funding, licensing and collection development may identify new commonalities and strategies to advance learning and equitable access to information and help better understand the publishing ecosystem.

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Senate boosts funding for IMLS, LSTA thanks to ALA grassroots

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Congress delivered good news for library funding after returning from its August recess this week. Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an increase of $4 million in funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), all of which would go to the formula-based Grants to States program.

Following months of intensive Hill lobbying by ALA Washington Office staff and the emails, phone calls and visits to Congress by ALA advocates, these gains are a win for libraries. According to a key Senate staffer, ALA’s ongoing grassroots campaign to save direct library funding launched last March – and the significant increase in the number of Senators and Representatives signing “Dear Appropriator” letters this year that it produced – played a major role in the gains for IMLS and Grants to States in the Senate Committee’s bill.

The Senate Committee’s bill, approved by the Labor-HHS Subcommittee on Wednesday, would boost IMLS funding to $235 million. Grants to States would receive $160 million. The bill also includes increased funding in FY 2018 for a number of other library-related programs.

Institution/Program Total Increase National Library of Medicine $420.9 million $21 million Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants $450 million $50 million Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies $15.5 billion $25 million Innovative Approaches to Literacy $27 million level Title II Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants $2.1 billion level Career and Technical Education State Grants $1.1 billion level

Overall, education funding in the Senate bill decreased $1.3 billion, but libraries remain a clear priority in Congress. These increases in direct library funding would not be possible without sustained advocacy by ALA staff and members!

The Committee’s funding measure now heads to the full Senate for consideration. If passed, it must eventually be reconciled with House legislation that proposes to fund IMLS and Grants to States for FY2018 at FY2017’s level of $231 million and $156 million, respectively. While yesterday’s vote does not guarantee increased direct library funding, Senate approval of the Appropriations Committee’s bill would leave libraries in a very strong position to avoid any cuts for FY2018 – in spite of the Administration’s proposals (reiterated again this week in a “Statement of Administration Position“) to effectively eliminate IMLS and federal library funding.

While library funding is on track to remain level through the standard appropriations process, final passage of legislation by both chambers of Congress by the end of the 2017 Fiscal Year on September 30 is unlikely.  Congressional staff tells ALA that Congress will not be able to pass most, if any, of its 12 individual appropriations bills by the end of this month. Congress will likely need to enact a Continuing Resolution (CR), which would fund the government at current levels, to avert a government shutdown on October 1.

Thanks to you, the outlook for library funding in FY2018 is promising, but it’s not close to being a done deal. Right now, we must be patient; but please be ready to participate in one last grassroots push this fall when your voice is most needed to maintain – and possibly increase – library funding. We will keep you updated.

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Latino Cultures platform from Google is a new library resource

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This post originally appeared on The Scoop.

Libraries across the country are working in a variety of ways to improve the full spectrum of library and information services for the approximately 58.6 million Spanish-speaking and Latino people in the US and build a diverse and inclusive profession.

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15, Google Cultural Institute has collaborated with more than 35 museums and institutions to launch a new platform within Google Arts & Culture: Latino Cultures. The platform brings more than 2,500 Latino cultural artifacts online and—through immersive storytelling, 360-degree virtual tours, ultra-high-resolution imagery, and visual field trips—offers first-hand knowledge about the Latino experience in America.

The American Library Association’s (ALA) President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo is excited about this new resource, which she believes will help libraries continue to draw attention to the rich legacy of Latinos and Latinas across America.

“Nationwide, libraries are celebrating Latino cultures by offering programs that highlight our music, cuisine, art, history, and leadership,” says Garcia-Febo. “I know this platform will be a great springboard as we continue to reshape our library collections to include Spanish-language and Latino-oriented materials.”

Latino Cultures pulls from a wide variety of collections to recognize people and events that have influenced Hispanic culture in the US. For example, it highlights the Voces Oral History Project’s interviews with Latinos and Latinas of the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War generations. Likewise, the platform showcases luminaries like Mari-Luci Jaramillo, the first Latina Ambassador of the US to Honduras, and civil rights activist and labor leader Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez in the 1960s.

According to the latest research, America’s Hispanic population reached a record 17% of the US population in 2017. As this segment of the population grows, it is increasingly important for educators, hospitals, civil services, and other institutions to have more information about the diverse experiences and backgrounds of Latino Americans.

“Libraries must make sure that more than the basic services are available to Latino Americans,” says Garcia-Febo. “We have to provide respectful spaces for Latino voices and perspectives.”

Google Cultural Institute aims to inspire Americans to learn more about the cultures of Latinos and Latinas in the US. As a complement to the platform, they are creating lesson plans that support bringing content into classrooms, afterschool programs, and other organizational programming.

Office for Information Technology Policy Director Alan Inouye considers it ALA’s responsibility to bring these resources to the attention of all libraries.

“We are especially excited about this new resource in terms of our policy work,” says Inouye. “Issues of race, ethnicity, and immigration are front and center on the nation’s policy agenda, and diversity and inclusion are central to ALA’s strategic priorities. No doubt, the Latino Cultures platform will be a wonderful resource for libraries to leverage in their programs and services.”

In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Garcia-Febo also gives credit to her personal cultural inheritance as a librarian.

“My mother, Doña Febo, was a librarian who taught me the importance of intellectual freedom and the right of everyone to access information. I always celebrate this month with her in mind.”

The post Latino Cultures platform from Google is a new library resource appeared first on District Dispatch.

Rep. Pallone talks net neutrality at N.J. library

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Guest post by Tonya Garcia, director of Long Branch (New Jersey) Public Library

The Long Branch Public Library recently hosted a meeting with their representative, Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ6), to discuss net neutrality and its importance to libraries. As the most senior minority representative on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he is a strong advocate for net neutrality (the principle that internet service providers should pick winners and losers among content and services offered to consumers). The library community is grateful for his interest in how libraries and the people they serve will be affected should rules preserving net neutrality be weakened or completely eliminated, as the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has proposed.

Left to right: Tonya Garcia, director of Long Branch Public Library; Patricia A. Tumulty, executive director of the New Jersey Library Association; U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (NJ6); Eileen M. Palmer, director of the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium. Photo credit: Eileen Palmer

Following a tour of the library, Congressman Pallone met to discuss net neutrality and how important he believes it is to maintain rules protecting access to high-speed broadband. He invited the library advocates to share our concerns with him.

Patricia A. Tumulty, executive director of the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA), told the Congressman that in their comments filed with the FCC, the NJLA noted:

“The current net neutrality rules promote free speech and intellectual expression. The New Jersey Library Association is concerned that changes to existing net neutrality rules will create a tiered version of the internet in which libraries and other noncommercial enterprises are limited to the internet’s ’slow lanes‘ while high-definition movies and corporate content obtain preferential treatment.

People who come to the library because they cannot afford broadband access at home should not have their choices in information shaped by who can pay the most. Library sites—key portals for those looking for unbiased knowledge—and library users could be among the first victims of slowdowns.”

The availability of affordable high-speed internet has meant that public libraries now serve as incubators for local entrepreneurs, noted James Keehbler, director of the Piscataway Public Library. His makerspace and makers programs within the Piscataway library play a central role in supporting their residents. Without access to high speed internet, their makerspace, for example, could not have been used by local entrepreneurs to develop prototypes that were used in successful crowd-sourced funding efforts to start a local business.

New Jersey State Librarian Mary Chute also discussed the significant current investment in digital resources by the state’s library that are then made available to all New Jersey residents. These expensive resources are relied on by small businesses, students, job seekers and lifelong learners throughout the state. A “slow lane” internet in libraries would hamper access to bandwidth-heavy visual content such as training videos used by those seeking certifications for employment and many others.

Eileen M. Palmer, director of the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium and member of the ALA’s Committee on Legislation, added concerns that the loss of net neutrality rules could negatively impact the many local digital collections housed in public and academic libraries. She also spoke about the potential loss of access to government information, such as the NASA high-speed video feeds used just recently by many libraries to host eclipse programs and viewing events for students and the public.

This was a wide-ranging discussion. Attendees were appreciative of Congressman Pallone’s leadership on this issue and his interest in better understanding how libraries and our patrons will be impacted should we lose rules protecting net neutrality. It also was a conversation that the Congressman was eager to have with his constituents in a library in his congressional district.

Who’ll be writing the next blog about their representative’s visit to their library, I wonder?

The post Rep. Pallone talks net neutrality at N.J. library appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA appoints Alisa Holahan OITP Research Associate

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Alisa Holahan will serve as a Research Associate in its Office for Information Technology Policy.

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) announced that Alisa Holahan will serve as a Research Associate in its Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). In that role, Alisa will provide policy research assistance on copyright, telecommunications and E-rate and other issues within the OITP portfolio.

Alisa just completed her term as ALA’s Google Policy Fellow for 2017, during which she explored copyright, telecommunications (especially the E-rate program) and other policy topics. Other activities as a fellow ranged from attending briefings on Capitol Hill to meeting with librarians from Kazakhstan. Google pays the summer stipends for the fellows and the respective host organizations determine the fellows’ work agendas.

During her fellow tenure, Alisa published “Lessons From History: The Copyright Office Belongs in the Library of Congress,” a report that explains how Congress repeatedly has considered the best locus for the U.S. Copyright Office and consistently reaffirmed that the Library of Congress is its most effective and efficient home. She also completed background research on the stakeholders and influencers of the E-rate program and prospective champions we may wish to cultivate.

Alisa Holahan is a second-year master’s candidate at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, where she serves as a Tarlton Fellow in the law library. Previously, she completed her J.D. at the University of Texas Law School where she graduated with honors and served as associate editor of the Texas Law Review. Holahan also completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Texas.

She has interned twice in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Holahan is licensed to practice law in Texas.

We look forward to Alisa’s contributions to our work in the coming year.

The post ALA appoints Alisa Holahan OITP Research Associate appeared first on District Dispatch.

Take action for libraries: webinar

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Have you ever asked, “How do I become an advocate for libraries?” Have you ever wondered what National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is, and how it impacts libraries? Have you ever thought, “What I can do to advocate for libraries from home?”

The COL Grassroots subcommittee is presenting a free webinar entitled Take Action For Libraries: Advocating for Libraries at National Library Legislative Day. The webinar will take place on Monday, September 11, 2:00p (EST). Seasoned NLLD state coordinators from across the country will share their experiences at NLLD. Our guests will discuss advocacy best practices as well as tips on how to advocate from home.

Our guest panelists will include:

  • Kent Oliver, Nashville Public Library, Library Director, Chair of ALA Committee on Legislation (COL)
  • Anthony S. Chow, Ph.D, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, School of Education, Department of Library and Information Studies, 2017 SOE Faculty Assembly Chair, Associate Professor, Chair, NCLA Legislative and Advocacy Committee
  • Nicolle Davies, Charleston County Public Library, Executive Director, COL Grassroots Subcommittee.
  • Mary Hastler, Hartford County Public Library, CEO, Hartford County Commission for Women Chair, Maryland Humanities Board, ALA COL, COL Grassroots Subcommittee.

The information shared in this webinar will offer great tips and tools for library advocates and supporters who want to take a stronger role in advocating for libraries, but are not sure where to start. The webcast will be viewable from the ALA YouTube channel, and will available as an archive shortly after the webinar concludes.

We hope you join us!

LaJuan S. Pringle
Chair, COL Grassroots Subcommitee

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ALA tells FCC: the library community needs you to protect net neutrality

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Today, the American Library Association (ALA) told federal regulators that rolling back strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that keep the internet open would hurt libraries and the communities they serve. In comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ALA reiterated the fact that 120,000 libraries depend on the open internet to carry out their missions and ensure the protection of freedom of speech, educational achievement and economic growth.

Today’s comment deadline was another stop in a longer fight. In 2015, the Obama FCC adopted strong net neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, censoring or discriminating against any online content. The rules were subsequently upheld by a federal court. In May 2017, the new Chairman of the FCC announced a plan to do away with the rules, a move which greatly concerns us, along with thousands of businesses and startups, consumer advocacy organizations and millions of consumers. We filed initial comments and, today, had the opportunity to respond to arguments raised by other commenters and raise additional issues.

ALA has been on the front lines of the net neutrality battle with the FCC, Congress and the federal courts for more than a decade, working in coalition with other library and higher education organizations as well as broader coalitions of net neutrality advocates. In addition to ALA’s comments, thousands of librarians and library staff from across the country filed comments on their own or via the ALA’s Action Alert as part of a coordinated “Internet Day of Action” on July 12. In fact, more than 1,640 alerts had been sent through the action center as of the morning of July 13, and there were more than 140,000 impressions via Twitter and nearly 85,000 via Facebook for ALA and I Love Libraries social channels.

The comments we filed today relied on the voices and stories from individual library professionals, libraries, systems and state library agencies and associations to tell regulators just how damaging efforts to roll back net neutrality could be.

So, what’s next? The FCC will proceed to draft a formal rule and vote on those rules, likely this fall. It is highly probable that some members of Congress will seek to broker a legislative solution. For ALA’s part, we will continue to advocate for strong, enforceable net neutrality protections and educate policymakers about the concerns of libraries and other institutions. We thank the ALA community for their engagement and will continue to keep you updated about opportunities to take action to support net neutrality.

The post ALA tells FCC: the library community needs you to protect net neutrality appeared first on District Dispatch.

CopyTalk must go on!

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We just dodged a calamity that would have forced us to cancel CopyTalk!

What was the problem? Our moderator, Patrick Newell and the person who hits the record button (me) will not be available on the 7th. What’s the solution? We have pitch hitters! Laura Quilter, acclaimed copyright expert and counsel at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and long-time OITP copyright education subcommittee member, will moderate. The technical genius will be ALA’s own Julianna Kloeppel, eLearning Specialist. The webinar is bound to go off without a technical glitch.

Our speaker is Eric Harbeson, music copyright expert as well as a long-time member of the copyright education subcommittee. He will present the ins and outs of music and copyright (obviously). As you know, dealing with music and copyright questions is more difficult than cataloging a sound recording. And there’s copyright legislation—The CLASSICS Act—to discuss.


September 7, 2017 at 2 p.m. (Eastern) /11 a.m. (Pacific)

Go to ala.adobeconnect.com/copytalk and sign in as a guest. You’re in!

This free program is brought to you by OITP’s copyright education subcommittee.

The post CopyTalk must go on! appeared first on District Dispatch.

Congress examining Title 44 and the Federal Depository Library Program

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Congress’ Committee on House Administration this year began examining Title 44 of the U.S. Code, which is the authority for the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Publishing Office (GPO). This process is an important opportunity for librarians to advocate for improvements to the FDLP and public access to government information.

So far, the committee has held two hearings on GPO, in May and July. There may be one or more additional hearings in the fall. The committee may also prepare legislation to amend Title 44.

In her testimony at the July hearing, GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks commented that “there are certain provisions of Title 44 that no longer make good business sense.” She also noted that the laws underpinning the FDLP, which have gone largely unchanged since the 1960s, have “been eclipsed in some areas by technology.”

To address those issues, GPO has asked the Depository Library Council, an advisory committee to GPO on FDLP issues, to provide the office with recommendations for potential changes. The council, in turn, has invited suggestions from the community.

In response, ALA submitted comments to the FDLP on Aug. 23 stating, in part:

For decades, FDLP libraries and GPO have worked together to implement Title 44 and help the public find, use, and understand government information. The FDLP’s purpose, to ensure that the American public has access to its government’s information, remains vital. Since the major concepts of Title 44 were last revised, however, the information environment has evolved considerably: government publishing and information-seeking increasingly take place online, and libraries continue to update their services to meet patron needs. Revising Title 44 to account for these changes would keep the FDLP relevant for the next generations of information users.

ALA looks forward to working with the Depository Library Council and GPO to advance ideas that strengthen the federal government’s partnership with libraries and expand the American public’s long-term access to government information.

For Title 44 to best serve libraries and the public, it will be critical for ALA members to engage with this process and provide their ideas. If you have suggestions, please share them with me so we can consider them as this process moves forward.

The post Congress examining Title 44 and the Federal Depository Library Program appeared first on District Dispatch.

My experience as a Google Public Policy Fellow

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the American Library Association’s Washington Office participation in the Google Public Policy Fellow program. We were lucky to host Alisha Holahan, JD, a graduate student at the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin, over the summer. Read on to learn more about her experience working with the Office for Information Technology Policy.

Left to right: Emily Wagner, information manager for the Washington Office, Alisa Holahan, ALA’s 2017 Google Public Policy Fellow, and Alan Inouye, director of the Office for Information Technology Policy.

I was honored to have the opportunity to serve as a Google Public Policy Fellow this summer at the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in Washington, D.C. The Google Public Policy Fellowship provides undergraduate, graduate and law students with the opportunity to work in the summer with organizations that are actively engaged with technology policy issues. OITP supports ALA’s public policy work by advocating for information technology policies that promote open, full, and fair access to electronic information.

The placement with OITP was an ideal match because it perfectly combined my interests in librarianship and information policy. In my work at the ALA, I focused on both copyright and issues related to the FCC’s Schools and Libraries Program (“E-rate”). My work on copyright focused on the recent debate over whether the Copyright Office should remain in the Library of Congress. I wrote a report for OITP arguing that based on both legislative history and the Office’s current needs, the Copyright Office should stay in the Library of Congress. I also researched a number of different aspects of the E-rate program, which provides essential funding for broadband in schools and libraries. I provided information about how various public policy organizations view the program, researched the administration of the program, and identified possible E-rate supporters.

A key component of my experience as a Google Public Policy Fellow was expanding my knowledge of technology policy issues. Google hosted bi-weekly panels for the fellows, which focused on important tech policy issues, such as free speech, the future of work and privacy. It was a privilege to listen to and learn from so many experts in the tech policy field. It was also exciting to speak with the other fellows about their work and policy interests.

Additionally, during my time as a fellow, OITP Director Alan Inouye encouraged me to take advantage of as many relevant events in D.C. as possible. I attended a number of panel presentations on topics related to tech policy, including big data, free speech and anti-SLAPP legislation. A highlight was having the opportunity to attend a congressional oversight hearing on the Library of Congress’s information technology management.

The Google Public Policy Fellowship with the ALA gave me a much deeper understanding of the many ways in which libraries and technology policy intersect. It was a wonderful experience and I am so grateful to have had the chance to spend my summer with OITP.

The post My experience as a Google Public Policy Fellow appeared first on District Dispatch.


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