Stay on Top of Key Library Legislative Issues and Fun Facts!
Dec 05, 2014


Did you know there are more public libraries in the USA than McDonalds?

The ALA Washington Office has put together two Factsheets that list important library legislative issues and key facts about 21st century libraries.

For more library-related fun facts, click here.




ALA Agrees with President Obama's Commitment to Net Neutrality
Nov 14, 2014


The following statement regarding ALA’s agreement with President Obama’s stance on net neutrality was posted on District Dispatch, the official blog of the ALA Washington Office, on November 11, 2014:

“The ALA heartily agrees with the essential elements of network neutrality affirmed by President Obama: no blocking, no throttling, increased transparency, and no paid prioritization,” said ALA Incoming President Sari Feldman. “As the President noted, these elements are ‘built into the fabric of the internet since its creation.’ In fact, the initial protocols for the internet were developed by institutions of higher education, and universities were the first to deploy private high-speed data networks that formed the test-bed for what later became the public internet.”

To read the entire blog post, click here.

FREE WEBINAR: Making the Election Connection
Oct 01, 2014

Making the Election Connection - A Webinar

ALA and Advocacy Guru Stephanie Vance will host a free webinar on Monday, October 6th from 2 PM to 2:30 PM EDT entitled Making the Election Connection. The webinar will address how all types of library supporters can legally engage during this upcoming election season and will describe impactful activities. Each participant will learn 10 quick and easy outreach tactics.

For more information, visit:

A Message from the ALA Washington Office
Jul 07, 2014


Please contact your United States Representative TODAY at 202-224-3121 and urge her/him to support the passage of H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The Senate recently passed this bill with a bipartisan vote of 95-3. Your help is crucial to ensure that the House does the same thing.

H.R. 803 would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and has the following provisions supporting public libraries:

Title I – Workforce Development Activities

  • Allows public libraries to be considered additional One-Stop partners. Meaning that Libraries will now have access to federal funding for job training and job search programs.
  • Functions of the State and Local Workforce Development Board. State and Local Workforce Boards must include plans to improve digital literacy skills at One-Stop delivery systems.
  • Prohibits federal supervision or control over selection of library resources.
  • Allowable Statewide Employment and Training Activities. Authorizes adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries as an allowable statewide employment and training activity.

Title II – Adult Education and Literacy

  • Definition of Workforce Preparation Activities. Includes a definition of “workforce preparation activities” that specifically includes digital literacy skills.

H.R. 803 could be a huge victory for libraries and your call could get this legislation to the President’s desk. Your participation can make all the difference. Please call today!

How Do I Find Out About Current Issues and Legislation?
May 01, 2014

Interested in knowing about current library-related issues and legislation?

Visit ALA’s Legislative Action Center!

The Legislative Action Center highlights current action alerts in Congress and state legislatures. It also describes bills with library relevance that are currently being considered in Congress. This is a great resource for staying informed on issues that matter to libraries in New Jersey and beyond.

A Message from Tim Dodge, the ACRL Chapters Council Legislative Network Representative
Apr 23, 2014


'I regret to bring more bad news on the federal library-related legislative front, this time concerning the House of Representatives Budget Committee’s budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2015.  Committee Chair Paul Ryan (Republican – Wisconsin) proposes the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as part of his plan for cutting $5 trillion in federal expenditures over the next decade.  Other controversial measures proposed by Rep. Ryan and his committee include steep cuts to Medicare and to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e., food stamps).  As the Selah Jubilees gospel group sang on their 1946 record of the same title, “Lord, help the poor and needy in this world.”

Regarding the IMLS, this proposed program elimination would affect 123,000 or more libraries in the United States.  As many of you likely know, IMLS grants are often matched by state funding and thus provide critically needed support for library services.   Considering the fact that public libraries and the services they offer are more needed than ever, the proposed elimination of IMLS grants is very unwelcome indeed.  Considering the continued underfunding of public libraries and libraries in general, the proposed elimination of IMLS grants could hardly be more inopportune.  Considering the fact that citizens must increasingly use electronic means to fulfill basic responsibilities of citizenship such as paying taxes and fees, communicating with government agencies (federal, state, and local), finding jobs and applying for jobs, the elimination of IMLS grants will seriously hamper public libraries as they attempt to assist members of the public function as responsible citizens in this evermore technological world. Government agencies along with many other societal institutions and businesses are increasingly unreachable by mail, phone, or in person.   There are tens of millions of Americans without a computer at home and computer literacy is by no means universal.   IMLS grants provided via the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) help public libraries meet the needs of these citizens.  The prospect of possibly eliminating this support is worrisome.'

Tim Dodge

Take Action for Libraries!
Mar 12, 2014


The following message is from the ALA Washington Office:


Appropriations season is now underway in Washington DC. It's crucial that you call your U.S. Representative today and ask him or her to sign two separate "Dear Colleague" letters that support funding for libraries.
-One letter supports funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in FY15. LSTA is the primary source of funding for libraries in the federal budget.

-The other letter supports funding for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Grant in FY15. This grant is crucial because at least half of it would go to low-income school libraries to help update their books and materials.

For more information and talking points visit the Legislative Action Center (LAC). You can also find a list of last year’s signatories for both letters on the LAC.

Please be on the lookout in the next few days for a similar alert in the U.S. Senate.


Register for 2014 National Library Legislative Day!
Feb 22, 2014


The following is a message from Ted Wagner of ALA's Washington Office:


Registration for the 2014 National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) is now open! To get started simply visit

On the registration page, you will also find information about making a hotel reservation at the official NLLD hotel. This year's event will be held at the Liaison Hotel in Washington DC on May 5 and 6. You can also find preliminary information about this year’s schedule.

For 40 years (!), there has been an annual National Library Legislative Day in the nation's capital. Each year, over 400 library supporters travel to DC where they receive training and briefings to prepare for meetings with their members of Congress. Many continue their advocacy activities when they return back home by building on the relationships they established at NLLD.

There is a funding opportunity available for NLLD. The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce and the ALA Washington Office are calling for nominations for the WHCLIST Award. Each year, the award is granted to a non-librarian participant in National Library Legislative Day (NLLD). The winner receives a stipend of $300 and two free nights at the NLLD hotel. For more information visit the WHCLIST page:

Each state has a coordinator who arranges the meetings with legislators, communicates with the ALA Washington Office and serves as the contact person for the state delegation. To find your state coordinator, visit

If you have any questions, please contact Ted Wegner in the ALA Washington Office at or call 800.941.8478

Spotlight on Library Legislation - What is the Affordable College Textbook Act?
Feb 06, 2014
  • The Affordable College Textbook Act was introduced on November 14, 2013 by United States Senators Dick Durbin and Al Franken, Democrats of Illinois and Minnesota.
  • The bill numbers are S. 1704 and H.R. 3538.
  • The bill aims to reduce the cost of textbooks at colleges and universities in the United States by expanding the use of open textbooks that everyone can use, adapt, and share freely.
  • To do so, the bill would institute a grant program to fund the creation of new textbooks with the stipulation that the grant-funded textbooks be made available for free online.
  • With this grant incentive, the bill’s co-sponsors hope to tackle the rising cost of textbooks.
  • For more information, download a Fact Sheet compiled by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.
Spotlight on Library Legislation - What is the USA FREEDOM Act?
Dec 13, 2013
  • The USA FREEDOM Act is the Uniting and Strengthening America by Fulfilling Rights and Ending Eavesdropping, Dragnet Collection, and Online Monitoring Act.
  • The bill numbers are H.R. 3361 and S. 1599.
  • The USA FREEDOM Act was introduced on October 29, 2013 by Sen. Patrick Leahy (Democrat - Vermont) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (Republican - Wisconsin).
  • As noted on Congressman Sensenbrenner's website, the purpose of the USA FREEDOM Act is to "rein in the dragnet collection of data by the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies, increase transparency of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), provide businesses the ability to release information regarding FISA requests, and create an independent constitutional advocate to argue cases before the FISC".
  • Among its many goals, the USA FREEDOM Act would end bulk collection under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which relates to the privacy of library circulation records.
  • For a Section by Section analysis of the USA FREEDOM Act, click here:
  • To find out how to encourage your Senators and Representatives to support this bill, click here:


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