Dec 02, 2016
Registration for National Library Legislative Day is now open! The event will be held on May 1-2, 2017 in Washington, DC. More information can be found here.
Nov 04, 2016
View the webinar "SSRN: Another Enclosure of the Commons" to learn more about the unannounced removal of articles on a popular open access repository, Social Science Research Network, after it was purchased by Elsevier. The webinar was originally webcast on October 6, 2016 by ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy's Copyright Education Subcommitee and presented by Michael Wolfe, Executive Director of the Authors Alliance.
Oct 07, 2016
The District Dispatch is a blog about library policy news from the ALA Washington Office. Subscribe using this form to receive a weekly email highlighting the most recent updates from the Washington Office.
Sep 08, 2016
Learn how to thank your Senators for confirming the appointment of the new Librarian of Congress!
Aug 10, 2016
The 114th United States Congress will be in session until January 3, 2017. Listed here are crucial library legislative priorities, compiled by the American Library Association Office of Government Relations:
APPROPRIATIONS – Support funding at $186.6 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and maintain level funding of $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. LSTA helps target library services to people of many geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, to disabled individuals, veterans, businesses, and to people with limited literacy skills. Half of all IAL funds provide school library materials to low-income communities.
COPYRIGHT – Immediately move to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty for the print disabled and, in parallel, consider and pass its associated implementing legislation with proposed “report” text without change. The Treaty will afford 4 million print disabled Americans critical new access to copyrighted material worldwide vital to their education, work and quality of life. ALA does not believe that full implementation of the agreement requires any changes to US law, but does not oppose those proposed by the Administration, as written. ALA DOES vigorously oppose any and all changes to the proposed legislation and associated Committee report text that could delay or derail the Treaty’s ratification. ALA also is equally committed to respecting the rights of authors and to assuring that overly restrictive copyright laws do not thwart the Framers’ intent that copyright is meant “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts….”
GOVERNMENT INFORMATION – Pass “FASTR,” the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.779/H.R. 1477), rapidly conference the FOIA Improvement and FOIA Oversight and Implementation Acts (S.337/H.R.653) and send the approved Report to the President for signature, take up and pass the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act (S.2639/H.R.4702), and assure continued public access to the unique information collections held by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). ALA is strongly committed to: no-fee access to all government-funded information and reports; robust support for all federal libraries and archives; maximum public access to all non-classified government information; and funding a single repository for NTIS’ unique scientific and technical collections.
PRIVACY & SURVEILLANCE – Restore the Constitutional privacy rights of library users and all Americans lost to overbroad, invasive and insufficiently “checked and balanced” provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). ALA urges immediate passage of the ECPA Amendments and Email Privacy Acts of 2015 (S.356/H.R.699) and reform of Section 702 of FISA. Librarians have long defended against government attempts to obtain patrons’ borrowing and internet use records without a warrant believing that liberty need and must not be sacrificed to security.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS – Support the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules and modernization of the Lifeline program to close the “homework gap,” as well as legislation to ensure that all libraries have access to affordable high-capacity broadband. Preserving an Open Internet is essential to freedom of speech, educational achievement, and our nation’s economic growth. Internet service providers should not be information gatekeepers. ALA urges all Members of Congress to protect Open Internet principles, assuring equitable access to online information, applications and services for all. ALA also supports legislation that creates new opportunities for underserved and rural committees to access the Internet, and efforts to ensure that sufficient and appropriate spectrum continues to be available for public use.
Jun 01, 2016
E-Government Services At your Library: Conquering An Unfunded Mandate
Ever felt frustrated by the prospective of another unfunded mandate from the federal, local or state government? Empower yourself, your library and your community by learning to navigate major e-government resources and websites by attending “E-Government Services At your Library: Conquering An Unfunded Mandate.” Learn about taxes, housing, aid to dependent families, social security, healthcare, services to veterans, legal issues facing librarians in e-government and more.
Washington Office Update: Concrete Tips to Take Advantage of Workforce Funding
Learn how to secure workforce support funding for your library at this year’s 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference. During the Washington Update session “Concrete Tips to Take Advantage of Workforce Funding,” a panel of library and workforce leaders will discuss best practices for supporting job-seekers at the conference session “Concrete Tips to Take Advantage of Workforce Investment Funding.” Participants will hear about effective job training from two different panel discussions and learn about activities, classes and programs you can offer in your own library. Conference session attendees will also discuss new workforce support opportunities as the federal government rolls out the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). WIOA regulations will be announced on June 30, 2016.
Taking Libraries Transform and the Policy Revolution! to the New Presidential Administration
The presidential election is right around the corner, with the presidency, Congress, and the U.S. Supreme Court in the balance, and a new Librarian of Congress imminent. Learn about actions that the American Library Association (ALA) is taking to prepare for the coming opportunities and challenges at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. Join political and library leaders at the conference session “Taking Libraries Transform and the Policy Revolution! to the New Presidential Administration,” where experts will discuss strategic efforts to influence federal policy initiatives in Washington, D.C., and how these efforts transfer to the state and local levels. Speakers include Susan Hildreth, former director, Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), ALA Treasurer-elect; and executive director, Peninsula (Calif.) Library System; Anthony Sarmiento, executive director of Senior Service America, Inc., member of the ALA Public Policy Advisory Council, and past senior official with AFL-CIO; Alan S. Inouye, director of the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP); and Mark Smith, Director and Librarian of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. This conference session is sponsored by ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy and United for Libraries.
3D Accessibility Synergy: Anchor Institutions ‘Make’ Opportunities for Diverse Learners
3D printers may seem novel, but they are already being harnessed for social good. A prime example: The Silicon Valley-based social advocacy organization Benetech has forged a partnership between libraries, museums and schools to level the playing field for learners with disabilities. During the session, “3D Accessibility Synergy: Anchor Institutions ‘Make’ Opportunities for Diverse Learners,” attendees will learn about how this partnership is giving rise to new learning tools and strategies that help individuals with print and other disabilities more easily grasp complex science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) topics.
Addressing Digital Disconnect for Low-Income Americans
From the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development’s ConnectHome effort to the Federal Communications Commission’s Lifeline Program to citywide digital inclusion initiatives, libraries are playing leadership roles in connecting low-income Americans. Policy and library leaders will discuss public policy options and share exemplars of how libraries and allies are expanding digital opportunities. During the conference session “Addressing Digital Disconnect for Low-Income Americans,” leaders will explore efforts to connect disadvantaged Americans to the digital world.
Digital Content Working Group—Update and Future Directions
What has changed in the library ebook lending environment in the past year? A panel of library and publishing experts will provide an update on the library ebook lending market and discuss best ways for libraries to advance library access to digital content at the 2016 American Library Association’s Annual Conference. Library leaders from ALA’s Digital Content Working Group (DCWG) will provide an update on the DCWG’s activities. The event features an expert panel that focuses on future directions. The ALA Digital Content Working Group was established by ALA leadership to address the greatest digital opportunities and challenges for libraries.
Libraries Ready to Code: Increasing CS Opportunities for Young People
Coding in libraries? Learn about the variety of programming in school and public libraries at the 2016 American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. During the conference session “Libraries Ready to Code: Increasing CS Opportunities for Young People,” a panel of library experts will share experiences gained through a yearlong look at what’s behind the scenes in coding programs for youth—especially for underrepresented groups in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and computer science fields. Panelists will also discuss “computational thinking” and the unique library perspective on successful learning models based on coding concepts.
Ask Us Anything: Copyright Open House
Have a question about copyright policies? Library copyright experts will be available during the 2016 American Library Association’s Annual Conference in Orlando, Fla. to respond to vexing copyright questions about licensing, fair use, electronic reserves, using music, images and video content, and more. Join copyright leaders during the interactive session “Ask Us Anything: Copyright Open House,” participants have the opportunity to engage copyright on all of their copyright concerns. The program will include a late breaking copyright policy update from copyright leaders. The session will be a great opportunity to meet copyright geeks keen on helping academic, public and school librarians. The session is co-sponsored by the ALA Committee on Legislation Copyright Subcommittee.
Coding in Tomorrowland: Inspiring Girls in STEM
What are the best ways to excite young learners about science and math? Join the “Coding in Tomorrowland: Inspiring Girls in STEM” session which will feature a NASA astronaut and Disney television executives and producers as they discuss the creation of Disney Junior’s acclaimed animated series “Miles from Tomorrowland. The show weaves science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) concepts geared towards kids ages 2-7 into its storylines. Session speakers are: “Miles from Tomorrowland” creator and executive producer, Sascha Paladino; series consultant and NASA astronaut, Dr. Yvonne Cagle; and Disney Junior executive, Diane Ikemiyashiro. The panelists will discuss the relationship between science and entertainment and detail ways that the show imparts scientific concepts and principles to young viewers, particularly girls.
Student Privacy: The Big Picture on Big Data
Every day, technology is making it possible to collect and analyze ever more data about students’ performance and behavior, including their use of library resources. The use of “big data” in the educational environment, however, raises thorny questions and deep concerns about individual privacy and data security. Join privacy and library experts at the conference session “Student Privacy: The Big Picture on Big Data” for an informative look at the big picture on student data privacy.
Accessible Books for All
There has been a shift in the way people access information: Ebooks and the widespread use of graphics to convey information have created a “new normal” for how we read and learn. While these resources are readily available, too many of them are not accessible. As a result, people with disabilities such as vision impairments, physical limitations and severe learning disabilities, often face barriers to information. During the session “Accessible Books for All,” a panel of ebooks and accessibility experts will discuss the successful partnership between Benetech/Bookshare, the New York Public Library and others to provide free access to over 400,000 books, periodicals and more to qualified library patrons.
The People’s Incubator: Libraries Propel Entrepreneurship
The library community does more to promote entrepreneurship than many realize. Libraries provide assistance at every stage of the effort to launch and operate a new venture—from writing a business plan, to raising capital, to managing workflow. Learn about best practices for supporting entrepreneurs in libraries at the 2016 American Library Association Annual Conference. During the session “The People’s Incubator: Libraries Propel Entrepreneurship,” a panel of experts will elucidate the value of this assistance to the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and discuss ways in which libraries might make an even greater impact on the innovation economy moving forward.
Mar 31, 2016
NJLA Library Advocacy Week is April 11-17, 2016. During Advocacy Week, NJLA members acting as Advocacy Captains will visit with local legislators to update them about library legislation and ask for support on these important issues and your help is needed! The State Legislative Initiatives for 2016 are:
Click here to become an Advocacy Captain.
Mar 21, 2016
Online registration is now open for National Library Legislative Day, to be held May 2-3, 2016 in Washington, DC. This is your chance to meet with members of Congress to rally support for library issues and policies. Participants receive training before speaking with Senators and Representatives. Click here for hotel and registration information.
Aug 12, 2015
A July 22nd article written by Andy Woodworth of the Cherry Hill Public Library and posted on INALJ.com, details the ways in which we can make our voices heard during the selection process for the next Librarian of Congress. Read the article to find out who you can contact and how you can voice your opinion during this critical period in the history of the Library of Congress.
Jun 11, 2015
Current Per Person State Aid to NJ Libraries is Less Than The Cost of a Postage Stamp!
Please ask your legislators to support resolutions to provide an additional 3 million in the New Jersey State Per Capita Aid Program in the upcoming state budget. Funding for library programs has been at a greatly reduced level for six straight years. The current level of support is only 41 cents per person per year! Since FY11, the state budget has increased by billions of dollars. Many programs which had suffered funding cuts in the FY11 budget have been restored. Funding for library programs, however, have remained at this decreased level.
Click here to contact your legislators.