Legislative Updates

Senate Dear Appropriator campaign by the numbers

ALA District Dispatch -

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

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

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

Here are a few other details about the Senate campaign:

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

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

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

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President’s stark budget cuts library funding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ALA President Responds to the Administration’s 2018 budget proposal

ALA District Dispatch -

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Internet Association debunks claims that strong Net Neutrality protections hurt internet investment

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Some opponents of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order claim the order created a regulatory environment that kept Internet Service Providers from investing and building better broadband. Today, the Internet Association (IA)’s Chief Economist responded, finding that ISPs continue to invest and innovate at similar or greater levels in the current regulatory environment, including after Title II reclassification of internet services. IA will release its full research paper on internet service provider (ISP) investment in the coming months. Using multiple sources, IA demonstrates that strong net neutrality protections have NOT harmed investment or innovation in our broadband networks. Some key findings include:

  • SEC filings show a 5.3% or $7.3 Billion increase in telecom investment among publicly traded companies from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016;
  • OECD and US Telecom data show a 5.1% or $4.7 Billion increase in telecom investment in 2014 to 2015;
  • SNL Kagan and NCTA: the Internet and Television Association data show a 56% or $89.9 Billion increase in cable investment from 2009 to 2016;

The Internet Association represents many of the largest and most rapidly growing internet companies. Find IA’s Net Neutrality fact sheet here.

Tomorrow, the FCC will vote on a proposed rulemaking that would begin to undo strong net neutrality protections. The ALA has and will continue to advocate for strong, enforceable net neutrality protections. You can watch the FCC’s Open Meeting live here, beginning at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

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UMD, OITP and YALSA announce first cohort of YX Librarians

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ALA’s Office for Technology and Information Technology Policy is pleased to support the University of Maryland’s iSchool YX Graduate Certificate program as part of its Youth & Technology portfolio. We will be working closely with the YX partners to explore how the participating students work can augment our Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative. Dr. Mega Subramaniam and Linda Braun, faculty in the YX Program are also RtC team members. Amanda Waugh is a doctoral candidate in the iSchool at the University of Maryland and contributed this post.

This cohort includes 14 librarians from across the country, they serve babies through teens in urban and rural communities and have already shown themselves to be leaders in their field.

We are proud to announce the first cohort of YX Librarians for 2017-2018. The Youth Experience (YX) Certificate is an innovative graduate certificate in professional studies from one of the top library and information studies programs in the nation, University of Maryland. Working with partners, including both ALA’s Office of Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Young Adult Library Service Association (YALSA), UMD’s iSchool will train this first cohort of youth service librarians to be leaders in harnessing technology, learning and assessment and design thinking. Through the generosity of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the 2017-2018 cohort is receiving substantial stipends to defray tuition.

This cohort includes 14 librarians from across the country, they serve babies through teens in urban and rural communities and have already shown themselves to be leaders in their field. They have received grants from the National Science Foundation, ALSC and Dollar General, been recognized as ALA emerging leaders, served on national awards committees like the Alex, Morris and Printz Awards and developed innovative programming in their libraries. To learn more about the cohort, see yx.umd.edu/2017-2018-cohort.

The YX Certificate will begin on May 24-25 with an on-campus orientation and attendance at the Human-Computer Interaction Lab’s Symposium, then continue for the next 12 months as the librarians take four online courses focusing on information studies and learning theory, technology and learning, design thinking and youth and developing and sustaining community partnerships. Throughout the program, the librarians will be working in their communities to apply the knowledge they are learning in class, both through programming and through publications and presentations.

For more information about the YX Certificate, see yx.umd.edu. The iSchool gratefully acknowledges the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services in the creation and continuation of the YX Certificate.

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White House survey provides additional opportunity to #SaveIMLS

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The White House is currently seeking public input on how the federal government can be better organized—with a focus on which government agencies should be reformed or eliminated. The official survey follows an Executive Order “directing the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to propose a plan to reorganize governmental functions and eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs.”

While framed in terms of eliminating government programs, the survey provides an opening to speak to the value of small but vital agencies like the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). So, after you have called your Senators to ask them to sign the FY 2018 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Dear Appropriator letters, log on here to add your voice to the record on the impact of IMLS and other federal agencies to libraries, museums and the communities we serve. The last survey question is the most open-ended regarding “any other ideas for reorganizing the Federal government.”

The survey is open until June 12.

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All hail the card catalog!

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Yesterday, I attended what I have been calling the event of the year: a panel program at the Library of Congress program celebrating the publication of The Card Catalog: Books, Cards, and Literary Treasures, by Peter Devereaux, writer and editor at the Library’s Publishing Office.

I love the card catalog. It takes me back to the days when I first became a librarian. I was a cataloger — and not just any cataloger, a serials cataloger, which was more peculiar. Sadly, back then, being a catalog librarian was thought to be somewhat second rate. The general consensus was that if you were a cataloger, you probably had some kind of nervous condition or were “not good with people.” For most librarians, cataloging was punishment and, indeed, many catalogers were locked up in the basement of the library building without a single window. Of course, all of this changed when catalogers changed their title (inside joke) to “metadata” librarians. That job title linked catalogers to digital technology (something much trendier than AACR2) and really changed the profession. For instance, metadata librarians were paid more.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the program attracted quite a crowd of fellow oddballs — it was standing room only. Excellent panelists — Beacher Wiggins, Kathy Woodrell and Barbara Orbach Natanson from the Library, and Christopher Cronin from University of Chicago Library and Jennifer Baxmeyer from Princeton University Library — had the audience laughing as they discussed the olden days peppered with curious facts about Cutter, Dewey and former Library employees who played major roles in creating machine readable cataloging.

I learned that Thomas Jefferson started the Library’s catalog system devising a method for his own library—a library that made up the entire Library of Congress for a time after the British destroyed by fire much of the Library’s original collection. Before the typewriter, catalogers wrote cards in “library hand,” legible penmanship that was taught in library school. Library users would occasionally rip cards out of the catalog drawer—I have witnessed this—and for convenience take them on the way to the stacks, confirming the truism: “a lost card is a lost item.” Henriette Avram, a computer scientist who worked at the Library, created the MARC standard to automate the printing of catalog cards. The good thing about MARC was that it eventually led to the online catalog. Unfortunately, only libraries used the MARC format leading to all kinds of problems with interoperability.

The Library of Congress closed its card catalog in 1980, moving it and its 22 million cards to Deck 16 and 33 of the Jefferson Building. Now the card catalog is retro and used for art, storage and furniture. One can buy old card catalogs and store wine bottles in the drawers and use the backs of old catalog cards for recipes. Or one can buy a wine humidor and keep their recipes on Pinterest. Some faculty still miss the old card catalog. They had learned how the catalog works around the time students were studying computer science (usually within the math department) and walking the halls with a stack of big punched cards. One speaker noted that the physical-ness of rows after rows of card catalogs gave one a sense of how much information was available, something today we can no longer fathom.

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Corporate champions urge all Senators to support FY18 library funding

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If you’re part of or connected to the library world in any way, you know that the President’s “skinny budget” released in mid-March proposed eliminating the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the small and respected federal agency that administers bulk of federal library funding. It also “zeroed out” virtually all such appropriations anywhere in the federal government, including programs authorized by the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Happily, however, Congress just added $1 million to the IMLS FY 2017 budget in the omnibus spending act signed into law last week. Moreover, it specifically directs that $600,000 of that $1 million be used for LSTA-authorized purposes. It did so after one-third of the entire House of Representatives signed separate “Dear Appropriator” letters in support of slightly increased FY 2018 funding for LSTA ($186.6 million) and level funding for IAL ($27 million).  Two similar bipartisan letters are now circulating in the Senate, where both programs also historically have enjoyed the support of approximately one-third of all Senators. ALA’s Fight for Libraries! grassroots campaign for FY 2018 LSTA and IAL funding is aiming to increase that base of support to 51 Senators – a majority of all members of that chamber.

Today, that effort got an enormous boost when ALA delivered a powerful letter by eight leading national companies with collective revenue measured in billions of dollars to the offices of all Senators who have not already signed both the Senate LSTA and IAL letters urging them to do so.  As Baker & Taylor, Follett School Solutions, Gale/Cengage, OverDrive, Peachtree Publishers, Penguin Random House, ProQuest and Rosen Publishing detail in the letter, they took such action because fundamentally: “[L]ibrary funding may be among the very best yielding and most leverageable investment that Congress makes across the entire federal budget. Libraries are thus very much critical national infrastructure: ubiquitous, indispensable and economically essential.”

ALA President Julie Todaro warmly welcomed today’s endorsement of libraries’ value and the companies’ specific appeal to all Senators to sign the Dear Appropriator letters now circulating, noting:

The eight leading companies that today have urged all Senators to support critical federal library programs are spotlighting an often overlooked and critical aspect of libraries’ service to the public and the nation: libraries mean business. In addition to loaning print and electronic materials, modern libraries are job training, job search, workforce-building, entrepreneur-training, veteran-helping and business building centers at the core of almost every community in America. As these corporate leaders accurately recognize, libraries are among the highest yielding and most leverageable investments that Congress makes. Now is not the time to deprive taxpayers of that tremendous ROI by cutting federal library funding.

The companies’ letter is open to online signature by any other similarly supportive business.  Please pass the word to any and all other business owners you may know and ask them to join our corporate champions today.

Finally, corporate support is terrific, but if Senators don’t hear from you – their constituent – they are far less likely to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters on which we need 51 Senators’ signatures by May 19.  Please, check our sortable tracker tool to see if both of your Senators have signed both the LSTA and IAL letters and, if they both haven’t signed both, contact them – or re-contact them if you’ve already reached out – TODAY.

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“The Durationator” webinar archived

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An archived copy of the CopyTalk webinar “Code + Copyright: Creating the Durationator as the 21st Century Helpdesk for Libraries, Archives and Museums” is now available. Originally webcast on May 4th by the Office for Information Technology Policy’s Copyright Education Subcommittee, our presenters were Elizabeth Townsend Gard, Associate Professor of Law and the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University and Ron Gard, CEO of Limited Times, the parent company of the Durationator. Learn about the Durationator—a tool, helpdesk and resource for solving copyright questions for libraries, archives, museums, artists, content owners, and everyone else!

Plan ahead! One hour CopyTalk webinars occur on the first Thursday of every month at 11am Pacific/2 pm Eastern Time. Free!

On June 1st, our webinar will focus on copyright and music. Don’t miss it!

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#NLLD17 roundup

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Last week, we were thrilled to welcome over 530 librarians to Washington, D.C. for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) 2017. With representatives from every state, and over 1,000 additional library supporters who committed to join in the advocacy efforts from home, the energy this year was higher than ever.

In the wake of the President’s budget proposal, which included the elimination of IMLS and most federal library

The VA delegation speaks with a staffer at Rep. Bobby Scott’s office. Photo credit: Andrew Propp

funding, the stakes were also high. After hearing a fantastic keynote, delivered by Hina Shamsi of the ACLU, attendees were provided with an appropriations update by Washington Office staff. You can catch both the archived keynote and the issue briefing on YouTube, and find out how you can get involved library advocacy by visiting Fight for Libraries.


This year, advocacy training was provided by the team from the Campaign Workshop. They discussed research, gave advice for telling your story to legislators, and provides plenty of tips of conducting a successful meeting with Members of Congress. The slides from the presentation are available here.

Want to hear more? Check out these articles about the event:

You can also catch up on all the social media coverage of #NLLD17 on Storify!

Looking ahead to next year? National Library Legislative Day 2018 will be held on May 7-8th. But don’t wait till 2018 to get involved with library advocacy – head to Fight for Libraries for more information or head straight to the Action Center for talking points and pre-written scripts.

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Jobs summit, Emily’s party, e-Rate, and San Diego

ALA District Dispatch -

Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) talking about the future of American jobs at the CTA recent summit.

This past week, I had the privilege of attending a part of the New American Jobs Summit organized by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a member of the American Library Association’s Public Policy Advisory Council. This was a wonderful event and my only regret was being able to attend only a part of the day.

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Chairwoman of the Committee on Education and the Workforce, raised a number of points of direct relevance to the library community. Foxx emphasized the skills gap, especially in the tech sector and that the nation needs stronger education, not training. We “train animals and educate people,” she said. “All education is vocational” and all degree seekers want a job. Foxx is supportive of innovative learning opportunities and better community partnerships. Of course, we will have to see if Chairwoman Foxx’s positions will lead to actual positive change for the nation’s communities.

CTA featured its new market research report “Future of Work,” based on a survey of tech industry leaders. Not surprisingly, 71% of leaders say it is difficult to find appropriately skilled employees. However, only 9% believe that the situation will improve during the next five years — so there is plenty of opportunity for libraries to help, for example, through engaging in coding awareness and skills development, bolstered by ALA’s Libraries Ready to Code initiative.

Emily Sheketoff and Senator Jack Reed in the photo-booth at the NLLD reception.

To cap off the festivities for National Library Legislative Day, ALA hosted a party to honor and acknowledge the work of Emily Sheketoff, who is retiring as the head of ALA’s Washington Office. Nearly 200 attended the affair, with a program and audience of Washington luminaries and library intimates. Check out the video message from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI). We are all extremely appreciative of Emily’s contributions during her 17 years at ALA.

We expect E-Rate to become a policy issue at both the FCC and Congress this summer or fall and so we are beginning some preparatory work in anticipation. On April 28, ALA was a major part of an E-Rate briefing at the Russell Senate Office building, organized by the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC, of which ALA is a founding member) and National Coalition for Technology in Education & Training (NCTET). The session opened with remarks from Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and included OITP’s Marijke Visser as co-moderator and Henry Stokes from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and a member of ALA’s E-Rate Task Force. The main purpose of this briefing is to raise the awareness of how the E-Rate program is essential to ensuring the availability of high-speed broadband in libraries and schools. Also in the vein of E-Rate, ALA recently submitted comments to the FCC in its solicitation for input on an array of rules that it may revise or eliminate.

Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) delivering opening remarks at last month’s E-Rate briefing at the Russell Senate Office building, organized by EdLiNC and NCTET.

Finally, I will be presenting at a parallel session and at the lunch plenary session at the Partnership for Progress on the Digital Divide conference in San Diego. I will be there on May 25 and 26 and would be happy to meet up. If you will be at the conference or are based in the San Diego vicinity and want to meet up, please do contact me. Happy to talk about whatever I can, especially related to the policy swamp of Washington!

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LSTA Nets Small Increase in Shutdown-Avoiding FY17 Omnibus Spending Bill

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Seven months past their October 1, 2016 deadline — the start of the Fiscal Year — the U.S. Senate late yesterday approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 (H.R. 244): a $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package for FY2017. It includes additional funding for libraries. The House approved the spending measure on Wednesday, just two days after it was released early Monday morning. The President is expected to sign the funding measure despite the exclusion of several of his key priorities.

Coming on the heels for the President’s FY2018 “Skinny” budget recommendation to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), which includes the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), Congress reversed course and added $1 million funding to IMLS for the remainder of FY 2017. LSTA funding was increased by $628,000 raising their total level to $183.6 million. The Grants to States Program and National Leadership Grants were each increased over $300,000 (raising Grants to States to $156.1 million and National Leadership to $13.4 million). Native American Grants ($4.1 million) and Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian ($10 million) received level funding.

As the only program specifically dedicated to school library materials, Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) received level funding at $27 million. ALA was disappointed, however, at the $400 million funding level of the ESSA Title IV Part — far below the authorized level of $1.6 billion and now a competitive grant program.

Attention now turns to FY 2018 Appropriations process kicked off by the release of the President’s “Skinny” Budget which included a recommendation to abolish funding for IMLS along with substantial spending cuts and program eliminations across the board, hitting education (and possibly IAL) especially hard. The President’s full budget, which is likely to include additional cuts and program eliminations, is expected to be transmitted to Congress later in May. While the President’s budget is “dead on arrival” in Congress, never-the-less it provides spending hawks a strong budget-cutting message.

ALA’s campaign to fight for library funding is well underway. ALA grassroots responded en-masse and were responsible for a significant increase in House signatures to the “Dear Appropriator” letters for LSTA and IAL. Last week, ALA kicked off its Senate Campaign, which runs through May 19.

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NetGain, criminal justice, and Maura Marx

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Well, it has been a tough week with the announced plan to attempt a rollback of net neutrality, House passage of the Register of Copyrights bill and ongoing deliberations on the federal budget for FY 2017 (yes, the budget year that’s already more than half over!). But there’s more happening and I would like to mention a few things here.

The NetGain partnership includes the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation.

I participated in the recent NetGain convening on the Internet of Things held at the New York Public Library last week. The NetGain partnership — which includes the Ford Foundation, the Knight Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, and the Open Society Foundation — was created in 2015 to “address the challenges and opportunities of the Internet age [and] to strengthen digital society and advance the public interest.”

While the Internet of Things promises many opportunities and benefits, there are also potential dystopian outcomes as well. This convening focused on the possible downsides and especially their disproportional impact on those in society with the fewest resources. One big challenge for philanthropy (and all of us, really) is our organization into silos — the K-12 box, environmental box, library box, technology box, freedom of expression box, and so forth. By contrast, the Internet of Things is inherently “cross-box” and, as Ford Foundation President Darren Walker observed, the “Internet of Things can wash all of our boxes away.”

The panel of municipal officials pointed to another challenge: cities, or even parts of cities, are far from homogeneous. In higher crime areas, residents may view video surveillance as a priority for the Internet of Things, whereas in affluent areas, real-time parking information and services may be seen as a higher priority than crime prevention.

For libraries, the Internet of Things presents many opportunities. Just as the expansion of information access and creation from analog to analog and digital brought fundamental change to libraries, so too will the Internet of Things. The forthcoming change in information access and creation for libraries (and everyone) could be characterized as analog, digital, physical and geographical.

In a rather different substantive direction, I also attended the launch of a new initiative on justice, work and opportunity by the R Street Institute here in Washington. The core of this initiative is the premise that jobs for ex-offenders are critical for them to reintegrate into society. Society, however, erects barriers for ex-offenders seeking to obtain employment, which ultimately leads to high recidivism. The new initiative Justice for Work is “a coalition of organizations spanning the ideological spectrum which seeks to respond to proposals for mandatory, government-run background checks and fingerprint collection in private industry hiring practices.”

At this R Street discussion, the role and possibilities of entrepreneurship were highlighted. One of the panelists was Marcus Bullock, CEO of Flikshop, who developed a new business based on identifying a need while incarcerated himself. I am sure we all see the multiple intersections with libraries, such as the re-engagement in communities, job search, small business development and digital literacy. We just have to figure out what makes sense for us and who is willing to take the initiative to push ahead.

Finally, I want to note that today is Maura Marx‘s last day as deputy director for Libraries at the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as she prepares to take on a fabulous new opportunity in New England. During her tenure at IMLS, which included service as the acting director, Maura has worked tirelessly on behalf of the library community. Her notable initiatives include the national digital platform and advancing ebook access, the ConnectED Library Card Challenge and a concerted effort to focus and improve IMLS’ grantmaking and develop priorities through engagement with the library community. I deeply appreciate her contributions in moving the library community ahead at the national and policy level and wish her the best in her exciting new endeavor.

The post NetGain, criminal justice, and Maura Marx appeared first on District Dispatch.

The fight for library funding is on in the U.S. Senate

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The Fight for Libraries! has moved to the United States Senate. Today, two “Dear Appropriator” letters began circulating in the Senate, one seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) program for FY 2018. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are again championing funds for LSTA, while Sens. Reed, Grassley (R-IA) and Stabenow (D-MI) are leading the fight for IAL. For more information about each program and the appropriations process, visit our previous posts on this topic or watch our most recent webinar.

Senators have until May 19 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters, so there’s no time to lose. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to contact both of your Senators and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by signing on to both the Reed/Collins LSTA and Reed/Grassley/Stabenow IAL Dear Appropriator letters.

Many Senators will only sign if their constituents ask them to. Let them know why libraries are important to your community and ask them directly to show their support.

Last month, library advocates succeeded in convincing a record one-third of all Members of the House to sign the House versions of these LSTA and IAL letters. We need you to keep that momentum going by collectively convincing at least half of all Senators to do the same!

Given the President’s proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and virtually all other library funding sources, the support of both your Senators is more important than ever before. Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding that’s at serious risk.

To take action, visit the Action Center for additional talking points and easy-to-send email templates.

Have a few more minutes to invest in the fight for library funding? Here are some fast and enormously helpful things you can do as well:

  1. Share your library’s federal funding story and support for LSTA and IAL on Twitter using the #SaveIMLS hashtag. Tell us how IMLS funding supports your local community through LSTA or other means. (If you aren’t sure which IMLS grants your library has received, you can check the searchable database available on the IMLS website.)
  2. Whether you tweet it or not, tell us your story so we can make sure that your Members of Congress know how federal library funding is working for them and their constituents at home.
  3. Sign up to receive our action alerts so we can let you know when and how to take action, and send you talking points and background information to make that easy, all through the year.
  4. Participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day starting on May 1 and sign up for our Thunderclap.

Thank you for your indispensable support. Together, we can win the Fight for Libraries!

The post The fight for library funding is on in the U.S. Senate appeared first on District Dispatch.

Build relationships to advance advocacy

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This advocacy guest post was written by Arizona’s Pima County Public Library Director Amber Mathewson, whose member of Congress, Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), led the recent effort to gather 144 signatures on a “Dear Appropriator” letter in support of LSTA funding. To highlight the important local uses of Federal LSTA funding, Rep. Grijalva held a press conference in front of the library at the El Pueblo Neighborhood Center during Congress’ spring recess.

A crowd gathered this week outside the El Pueblo Library in South Tucson where Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D) and other library advocates to discuss the possible effects of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts — including the elimination of the IMLS —on libraries in Arizona and nationwide. A statement by ALA Julie Todaro was read at the event, in which the American Library Association thanked Rep. Grijalva for his leadership in fighting for library funding.

A statement by ALA Julie Todaro was read at the event, in which the American Library Association thanked Rep. Grijalva for his leadership in fighting for library funding.

Manager of the El Pueblo Library Anna Sanchez was among those who spoke: “Public libraries play a significant role in maintaining and supporting our free democratic society. They are America’s great equalizers, providing everyone the same access to information and opportunities for success.”

At Pima County Public Library, across 26 locations and 9,200 square miles in Southern Arizona, we passionately embrace that role in all that we do. From innovative programming helping entrepreneurs launch their dreams to high-tech youth centers where young adults engage in life-long learning, the Library gives everyone — regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or economic status — a chance to thrive.

Sanchez added: “Libraries are truly the one place in America where the doors are open to everyone.”

Arizona’s Pima County Public Library Director Amber Mathewson, whose member of Congress, Rep. Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), led the recent effort to gather 144 signatures on a “Dear Appropriator” letter in support of LSTA funding.

While libraries nationwide form the cornerstone of our democratic society, they cannot afford to be complacent. As the current threat to funding demonstrates, it is critical that we dedicate ourselves to building relationships with elected officials. It is their votes that can drastically affect the future of libraries. In Southern Arizona’s 3rd Congressional District, we have a champion and steadfast ally in Congressman Grijalva. He recently secured 144 lawmakers’ signatures, across party lines, on a letter to Congress, urging against the cuts and requesting more than $186 million in funding for library programs. Last year, the letter was signed by 88 Representatives.

Grijalva has helped to preserve and defend libraries, elevating library service in the local, state and national arenas. We must build upon that support and expand relationships with other policymakers. Like Rep. Grijalva, they are the ones who will help ensure a future in which libraries are valued as pillars not only of our communities but of our nation.

Last year, as the President of the Arizona Library Association, I attended ALA’s 42nd Annual National Library Legislative Day. Alongside State Librarian Holly Henley, citizen advocate Teresa Quale, and Legislative Chair Kathy Husser, we spoke to all 11 Arizona staff representatives from the House and Senate. We highlighted STEM programming and workforce development, answered funding questions, discussed collaborations and made plans for onsite visits.

In-person meetings are immeasurably meaningful. They are vital if we wish lawmakers to view libraries and librarians as true changemakers. It is in those meetings where we are afforded the space to share the powerful stories of transformation that take place at our libraries every day.

Pima County Public Library is an active partner in the Arizona State Library Association and the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. These organizations are committed to our success and offer much to help us become our own best advocates.

Staff training provides tools to communicate effectively, while easy-to-use resources guide us in identifying and securing meetings with elected officials.

As a county-run system, the relationship we have with our Board of Supervisors is one of paramount importance. To be fully engaged in a library’s vision, one must see for themselves what the library makes possible.

We regularly invite supervisors to attend events and to visit their district libraries. The location of our Library Board Retreat, held annually, alternates between districts which help strengthen those relationships.

At Pima County Public Library, we believe it is our job to educate others so they can advocate on our behalf. The value we bring to our community is incalculable. Every day, we provide people with pathways to a better future. For many, we are a lifeline.

“Free and public libraries are a great tradition in this nation,” said Grijalva. Thankfully, he vows to continue fighting on our behalf. But it is up to us to make sure others — from lawmakers to board members, volunteers to citizen advocates — do, too.

As writer Caitlin Moran once said, “a library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft and a festival.” We have seen it in our libraries and on the faces of our customers whom we serve. Now is the time to make their stories heard and to ensure our future.

The post Build relationships to advance advocacy appeared first on District Dispatch.

Next CopyTalk webinar: The Durationator

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Join us for the next CopyTalk webinar: code + copyright = the Durationator.

Plan ahead! One hour CopyTalk webinars occur on the first Thursday of every month at 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern.

For the last decade, the Copyright Research Lab at Tulane University has been building the Durationator — a tool, helpdesk and resource for solving copyright questions. Designed to be used by libraries, archives, museums, artists and content owners (and everyone else!), the Durationator Copyright System combines complex legal research + code + human experts. The Durationator looks at every kind of cultural work (poems, films, books, photographs, art, sound recordings) in every country and territory of the world. It even covers state sound recordings! Elizabeth Townsend Gard will discuss what was learned during the ten-year development process. She will touch on basic information that is available for determining whether a work is under copyright or in the public domain, and how to think through copyright questions at the help desk.

Dr. Elizabeth Townsend Gard is an Associate Professor of Law and the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Tulane University. She teaches intellectual property, art law, copyright and trademark law, advertising, property and law and entrepreneurship. Her research interests include fan fiction, the role of law in creativity in the content industries, and video games. She also fosters kittens, which makes Elizabeth an even more appealing speaker!


Date: Thursday, May 4, 2017

Time: 2:00 p.m. (Eastern) / 11:00 a.m. (Pacific)

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

This program is brought to you by the Office for Information Technology Policy’s copyright education subcommittee. An archive of previous CopyTalk webinars is available.

The post Next CopyTalk webinar: The Durationator appeared first on District Dispatch.

How to participate in #NLLD17 from home

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As library supporters from across the United States prepare to go to Washington, D.C. to participate in National Library Legislative Day, don’t forget that you can participate from home!

All week long (May 1-5th), we’re asking library supporters to email, call, and tweet their Members of Congress about federal library funding and other key library issues. Register now, and you will receive an email on May 1st reminding you to take action, along with a link to the livestream from National Library Legislative Day, so you can hear our keynote speaker and the issue briefings live.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, and the issue briefings will be provided by the staff of the ALA Washington Office. Check out our earlier post to see the full list of panels at National Library Legislative Day this year.

This year, we’re asking Congress to:

House: Save IMLS; Fully Fund LSTA & IAL
Senate: Sign LSTA & IAL “Dear Appropriator” Letters
House/Senate Reauthorize MLSA (incl. LSTA)

We’ll have talking points and background information available on the Action Center starting May 1st, to help you craft your message. You can use the event tag #NLLD17 to join in the conversation.

Looking for other ways to participate? Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr users can sign up to participate in our Thunderclap.

Questions? Email llindle@alawash.org

The post How to participate in #NLLD17 from home appeared first on District Dispatch.

ALA Announces Google Policy Fellow for 2017

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Alisa Holahan will serve as ALA’s 2017 Google Policy Fellow. Holahan is a candidate for the Master of Science in Information Science degree at the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin. Previously, she completed her J.D. at the University of Texas Law School where she graduated with honors.

I am pleased to announce that Alisa Holahan will serve as ALA’s 2017 Google Policy Fellow. She will spend ten weeks in Washington, D.C. working on technology and internet policy issues through the library lens. As a Google Policy Fellow, Holahan will explore diverse areas of information policy, such as copyright law, information access for underserved populations, telecommunications policy, digital literacy, online privacy, the future of libraries and others. Google, Inc. pays the summer stipends for the fellows and the respective host organizations determine the fellows’ work agendas.

Holahan is a candidate for the Master of Science in Information Science degree at the School of Information at the University of Texas, Austin. 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.

Since September 2015, Holahan has served as a Tarlton Fellow at the Tarlton Law Library 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.

ALA is pleased to participate once again in the Google Policy Fellowship program as it has from its 2007-8 inception. We look forward to working with Alisa Holahan on information policy topics that leverage her strong background and fight for library interests with the Trump Administration and U.S. Congress.

Find more information the Google Policy Fellowship Program.

The post ALA Announces Google Policy Fellow for 2017 appeared first on District Dispatch.

Reintroducing the ALA Washington Office Newsline

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There are many public resources about upcoming hearings, current legislation, news alerts, how to help, who to call… the information never stops. … the information never stops.

That’s why—in honor of National Library Week—we are announcing the reintroduction of the ALA Washington Office Newsline, a twice-weekly “vertical file” and email briefing, which we hope will help to make sense of what’s happening in D.C., specifically through the library lens. It will be published Monday and Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (perfect lunch reading) and we hope it will be useful to you as a custom-fit “10,000-foot view” of what’s happening for libraries in D.C. Likewise, we know it will be a good line of communication as we move forward with the #SaveIMLS campaign.

What are the sources of the news?
Newspapers, RSS feeds, think tanks, government information resources, congressional schedules and websites, blogs (and occasionally Twitter!) as well as trade associations and news organizations. The Washington Office policy experts and lobbyists are reading, meeting with coalition partners, and gathering information inside and outside of D.C. and we want to be able to share it with you.

Are there criteria for the information that is included?
We are the look-out for a wide variety of sources and topics and aim for the content to be either immediately useful or good food for thought. Of course, we are attempting to collect a diversity of viewpoints from credible sources.

What topics can you expect to see covered?
Right now, both OGR and OITP are focused on the #SaveIMLS campaign and reauthorizing LSTA, but we are also keeping a pulse on broadband; copyright; coding and computational thinking; net neutrality; personal privacy; public access to government information; telecommunications resources; open access to research; and federal funding for school libraries and other library programs as well as how libraries help small businesses and veterans and create economic opportunity.

What else should you know about the Newsline?
While this biweekly newsletter will communicate to you what we are reading, watching, and thinking about… it is just one leg of the WO stool. We encourage you to stay tuned here to the District Dispatch (which will continue to provide deep dives and original reporting) and our Legislative Action Center (which you should sign up for right now).

Why should you subscribe to this resource?
If you want to be armed with usable information and help to solve the issues facing libraries, Newsline is essential reading. Also, we hope to keep the conversation going on social media, too, via the hashtag #ALAWO. If you see news we should include or have feedback you would like to share, post and tag.

Some of our “analog” Washington Office newsletters, dating back as far as 1947.

I am an ALA Washington Office history nerd… what do you mean by reintroducing?
This is actually the third generation of the Newsline, and one of many Washington Office newsletters dating back to 1947. The first was published from 1983 through 1991 and the second generation was published from 1992 through 2007.

The post Reintroducing the ALA Washington Office Newsline appeared first on District Dispatch.

Panels announced for National Library Legislative Day 2017

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There are just 20 days until National Library Legislative Day, and the speaker lineup is our best yet! You’ve likely already heard that Hina Shamshi from the ACLU will be joining us as our keynote speaker. Now check out some of the other panels we have planned:

The Political Dance

  • Jennifer Manley
    Managing Director, Prime Strategies NYC
  • Christian Zabriskie,
    Executive Director, Urban Librarians Unite; Branch Administrator, Yonkers Public Library

At times government relations feels like a complicated tango filled with intricate footwork and precise timing. This conversation between political activist Christian Zabriskie and Government Relations and Communications Consultant Jennifer Manley will cover a huge range of topics including navigating the new abnormal in Washington, being unafraid to play the game, and how to leverage the press and social channels for your government relations efforts. Buckle up, it’s gonna be a fast talking roller coaster of wonky fun.

Speaking Truth to Power (and Actually Being Heard!)

  • Brian Jones – Partner, Black Rock Group
  • Tina Pelkey – Senior Vice President, Black Rock Group

William Carlos Williams was a poet, not a lobbyist, but he was on to something when he said: “It is not what you say that matters but the manner in which you say it; there lies the secret of the ages.” Well, we’re not sure about that secret to the ages part, but we guarantee that speaking “truth to power” is a whole lot easier and ultimately successful when you speak Power’s language. Learn how to – and how not to – make libraries’ best case when you “hit the Hill” on May 2nd after you get home.

Libraries Ready to Code

  • Marijke Visser – Associate Director, Office for Information Technology Policy
  • Other speakers TBD

Come to this program to learn about the great promise of coding in libraries. Programs in libraries bring opportunity to youth to learn about and develop skills not only in coding, but also in the broader computational thinking behind coding. For advocacy, the story of library-based coding programs positions libraries as key institutions to prepare youth to consider and pursue STEM and many other careers based on computing and tech.

Democracy dies in darkness: helping editorial boards shed light on issues facing your community

  • Molly Roberts – Digital Producer for Opinions, The Washington Post
  • Gina Millsap – Chief Executive Officer, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (KS)

The Washington Post’s new motto echoes a truth librarians live by: an informed citizenry is necessary for democracy to thrive. What does that mean for the collective opinion voice of a major news outlet? How can library professionals help shed light on community issues for editorial boards? Learn how editorial boards take positions and why librarians need to be at the discussion table.

Interested in taking part in National Library Legislative Day, but unable to come to D.C. yourself? Register to participate digitally, and sign up for our Thunderclap.

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