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 http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld

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: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld/funding

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 http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld/coordinators

If you have any questions, please contact Ted Wegner in the ALA Washington Office at twegner@alawash.org 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: http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/uploadedfiles/usa_freedom_act__-_section_...
  • To find out how to encourage your Senators and Representatives to support this bill, click here: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2013/11/keep-freedom-act-momentum-going/
Spotlight on Library Legislation - What is the Library Services and Technology Act?
Nov 18, 2013
  • The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is the only federal program exclusively for libraries.
  • LSTA was reauthorized under the Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA) of 2010 (S. 3984) and signed by the president on December 22, 2010.
  • LSTA will be up for reauthorization again in 2015.
  • LSTA is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • State libraries use the funds to support statewide initiatives and also distribute the funds through subgrants or cooperative agreements to public, school, academic, research and special libraries.
  • LSTA consolidates federal library programs, while expanding services for learning and access to information resources in all types of libraries for individuals of all ages.
  • LSTA funding provides libraries with the resources needed to offer a range of programming including resume writing, family literacy events, learning how to access government information, and much more.
  • Every fiscal year, Congress provides funding for LSTA in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
  • The LSTA for 2014 will be funded at a level of $175,000,000.
  • For more detailed information about the LSTA, visit http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/federallegislation/lsta
Oppose Delay to Public Access of Federally Funded Research
Nov 15, 2013

A message from Kara Malenfant, ACRL's Senior Strategist for Special Initiatives:


Currently circulating in U.S. Congress is the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act of 2013 (FIRST) Act. One provision of the bill – Section 302 – would undercut federal agencies’ ability to effectively implement the widely-supported White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Directive on Public Access to the Results of Federally Funded Research, undermine the public access program pioneered by the National Institutes of Health, and put the U.S. at a severe disadvantage among our global competitors.


Earlier this week, ACRL joined with 10 other national and regional library, publishing, and advocacy organizations to express our strong opposition to this language in a letter to Congress (see http://sparc.arl.org/sites/default/files/OAWG%20FIRST%20Letter_0.pdf). ACRL’s legislative agenda includes increased access to federally funded research as one of our top issues.


We encourage you to let your members of Congress know that you oppose language in the proposed FIRST Act to delay public access. Learn more, read talking points and take action at http://www.sparc.arl.org/advocacy/national/first.


2013 ACRL Legislative Agenda
Sep 26, 2013

The 2013 ACRL Legislative Agenda focuses on three issues that the U.S. Congress has recently taken, or will most likely take action on in the year ahead:

  • First sale doctrine
  • Public access to federally funded research
  • Federal funding for libraries

New this year, the agenda includes a watch list of policy issues of great concern to academic librarians. Legislation on these issues is not likely to arise and, moreover, ACRL does not believe that any legislation about these issues is necessary.

Issues on the watch list are:

  • Government information
  • Safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • Orphan works/section 108
  • Fair use

ACRL will continue tracking these issues and advocate for the best interests of academic and research libraries, if necessary. Read the complete legislative agenda for more details.


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