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.