Act now! Save IMLS!

we the peopleLast week The White House released the proposed budget that calls for eliminating the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS), the only federal agency charged with providing support to the nation’s hundreds of thousands of libraries and museums. ALA and ASCLA need your help to ensure that IMLS is saved, because without libraries people will not have the access to resources and support they need to succeed in school, careers, their communities and their everyday lives.

Here’s how you can help right now:

  • Use the sample messages in this form to contact the offices of your members of Congress.
  • Sign up via this web page to receive updates on the #SaveIMLS effort.
  • Start planning how you and other library advocates will participate in National Library Legislative Day on May 2 in Washington D.C.
  • Can’t make it to D.C.? Register for Virtual Library Legislative Day! We’ll send you a reminder to take action, along with a link to the live webcast of our keynote and issue briefing on the morning of May 1st. We’ll also send you the talking points, give you access to email templates, and other resources to help you take action.
  • Join and track the conversations #SaveIMLS, #LibrariesRespond.
  • Encourage your friends, family, and colleagues to do take these actions, too!

Don’t know much about IMLS?  Here’s a quick overview: through IMLS, every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. territories receive funding to support their state’s libraries and museums. In FY14 the total funding IMLS distributed to states and territories was $154,800,000. In addition, IMLS offers competitive grant opportunities that individual libraries and museums can apply for.  In FY14 they awarded 594 grants (from 1,299 applications) totaling more than $54,700,000. Visit the IMLS site to see how much funding your state receives from them.

Timing is key, make our priorities clear to Congress!

Sign up for National Library Legislative Day 2017.

2017 National Library Legislative Day Logo
Registration for National Library Legislative Day 2017 is open! To find information about the event, to register, or to book a room in the hotel block, please visit ala.org/nlld.

As with previous years, National Library Legislative Day 2017 will be held at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, DC. Briefing day will take place on May 1st, and includes informational sessions about each of the most important legislation issues libraries are facing, as well as advocacy training with experts from the Campaign Workshop. On May 2nd, each state delegation will go to their meetings on the Hill with their elected officials.
Featured issues include:

  • Library funding
  • Privacy and surveillance reform
  • Copyright modernization
  • Access to government information
  • Affordable broadband access
  • Net neutrality protection

Registration this year is $50 and includes entry into a reception held on Capitol Hill, along with a folder full of briefing materials, talking points, and other resources.

To learn more about the event, check out our blog post on District Dispatch.

As always, please feel free to reach out to Lisa Lindle at llindle@alawash.org if you have any questions!

Public Hearing in Orlando for the Revision of the Standards for Libraries Serving People who are Blind or Handicapped, 2011

The Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) will hold a public hearing at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando on Sunday, June 26, 2016, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM, in the Orange County Convention Center, Room W105A for the revision of the 2011 Standards for Libraries Serving People who are Blind or Physically Handicapped. The 2011 Standards may be viewed here: http://www.ala.org/ascla/sites/ala.org.ascla/files/content/asclaissues/LCNIS2011Introduction.pdf.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS), Library of Congress, is the administrator for the free informational and recreational reading resources for residents of the United States who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical impairment.

The Standards and Guidelines of Service for the Library of Congress Network of Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, which was last revised in 2011, is the standing document that guides network libraries and staff around the country who provide direct service to eligible individuals and institutions.

Additional information about NLS and the patrons that are served can be found in these promotional videos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udZ6NO5_x-Q and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIKG2HxnYMk. A working paper of the current progress of the Working Team can be found here: Working Paper Download.

Comments from the general public are invited and can also be sent to the Working Team here:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1z0S1bmXuC0wrEUPWB-PzEBbYIjQyd9PATXEDgIg5nBQ/viewform.

The revision of the standards is supported by a grant from the Library of Congress. The ASCLA President appoints the members of the Working Team and the Advisory Committee, with input from NLS. Library members of both are usually ASCLA members that represent the four regional conferences of network libraries. In addition to network librarians, ASCLA asks the presidents of specific consumer groups to select representative to the committee. Finally, the president of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) is asked for a representative to the committee. The Working Team will receive assistance from a Project Advisory Committee of consumers and librarians that will advise the Team, review draft documents, and serve as a sounding board for the concerns of the groups they represent.

The working and advisory team members are:

Working Team

Eura Ryan Szuwalski, Project Director

Goleta, CA 93117

Danielle H. Miller, Director & Regional Librarian

Washington Talking Book & Braille Library

Representing the Western Conference

Will Reed, OLBPD Manager

Cleveland Public Library/Ohio Library for the Blind & Physically Disabled

Representing the Midlands Conference

***********************************************************************************

Advisory Team

Eura Ryan Szuwalski, Project Director

Adam Szczepaniak

New Jersey State Library Talking Book and Braille Center

Representing the Northern Conference

Dr. Nancy Pack, Director

Alabama Public Library Service

Representing Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)

Kim Charlson, President

American Council of the Blind

Representing the American Council of the Blind

David Hyde, Chairperson

Library Services Committee Chairperson

Representing the National Federation of the Blind

Melanie Brunson, Director

Government Relations

Representing the Blinded Veterans Association

Ava M. Smith, Division Director, Talking Book Program

Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Representing the Southern Conference

 

 

New District Dispatch website to highlight federal legislation and policy news that impacts libraries!

December 9, 2014 the American Library Association’s Washington Office launched a new and reinvigorated District Dispatch website that will highlight federal legislation and policy news that impacts libraries. The new District Dispatch makes it easier for library advocates to find important library news, search articles, share news with friends and learn more about library policy issues. Best of all, the new and improved site includes a “Breaking News” feature that makes it easier for library advocates to find the critical information they need to take action. Additionally, the new blog makes it easier for library staff to find free educational webinars.

As we head into a new Congress, ALA members are encouraged to subscribe to the District Dispatch to keep abreast of relevant library policy news, such as library funding opportunities, copyright reform, open access legislation, FCC proceedings and much more. Visit the blog today: http://www.districtdispatch.org.

ALA opposes e-book accessibility waiver petition

“ALA and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) renewed their opposition to a petition filed by the Coalition of E-book Manufacturers seeking a waiver from complying with disability legislation and regulation (specifically Sections 716 and 717 of the Communications Act as Enacted by the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010). Amazon, Kobo, and Sony are the members of the coalition, and they argue that they do not have to make their e-readers’ Advanced Communications Services (ACS) accessible to people with print disabilities.”   Read more here: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2014/10/ala-opposes-e-book-accessibility-waiver-petition/

Libraries Support Digital Readiness with Tech Training, STEM Programs, More Robust Online Collections

Leading Role Recognized in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Nearly 100 percent of America’s public libraries offer workforce development training programs, online job resources, and technology skills training, according to a new study from the American Library Association (ALA). Combined with maker spaces, coding classes, and programs dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business development, libraries are equipping U.S. communities with the resources and skills needed to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – global marketplace.

President Obama and Congress recently acknowledged the vital contributions of libraries by enabling them—for the first time—to be considered One-Stop partners and eligible for federal funding to support job training and job search programs. The bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act also authorizes adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries as an allowable statewide employment and training activity.

“Senator Jack Reed and I led the effort to include public libraries in this important new law because they are often the first places Americans go for skill development and job search assistance,” said Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). “I’ve seen this firsthand with NJWorks@yourlibraryproject, which used federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding to help get job seekers back to work with access to online job resources and training in every community in New Jersey.”
Overall, libraries report technology improvements—including nearly ubiquitous public wi-fi, growing mobile resources and a leap in e-book access—but the ALA’s 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey also documents digital differences among states and an urban/rural divide.

“Until the Digital Inclusion Survey, no national study has shown in such detail the extent to which libraries complete education, jumpstart employment and entrepreneurship, and foster individual empowerment and engagement, or the E’s of Libraries™,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “The study also begins to map new programs and technology resources that range from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) maker programming to 3D printing to hackathons.”

Among the study findings:
*98% of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89% in 2012;
*98% provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media;
*98% provide assistance completing online government forms;
*97% provide online homework help;
*95% offer workforce development training programs;
*90% offer e-books, up from 76% in 2012;
*56% offer health and wellness programs regarding developing healthy lifestyles;
*50% offer entrepreneurship and small business development programs; and
*Average number of computers provided by libraries is now 20, up from 16 in 2012

“Changes in technology—whether internet speeds, or new devices or new applications—are racing faster all the time,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “Libraries are ideally positioned to help everyone in our communities get up to speed. This is the heart of digital inclusion—equitable access to internet-connected devices and online content plus the skills to take advantage of the educational, economic and social opportunities available through these technologies.”

Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and managed by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland, the Digital Inclusion Study provides national- and state-level data. The International City/County Management Association and ALA Office for Information Technology Policy are partners in the research effort.

While most libraries marked progress from the last national library technology study in 2012, advances are uneven. Less than half of rural libraries reported they increased bandwidth speeds in the last 24 months, compared with 64 percent of urban libraries and 56 percent of suburban libraries. Fewer than two-thirds of rural libraries report having access to information technology (IT) staff, far behind their counterparts. A vast majority of all libraries (66 percent), though, agree they would like to increase their broadband capacity, and that cost is the leading barrier to doing so.

“It is increasingly understood that access to broadband is the critical success factor across our society, and we must do more to connect all of our communities,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “Libraries play an essential role in helping local governments meet their greatest challenges by connecting their services to critical community priorities.”

The study provides a first national look at emerging trends, from STEM maker spaces (17 percent, or about 3,000 libraries), to wireless printing (33 percent) to 3D printers and hosting hackathons or other coding/application development events (about 2 percent each, or roughly 260 libraries). Creation and making activities already are transforming what is possible for communities through libraries. At the Johnson County Library in Kansas, for instance, a library patron printed a mechanical hand for a family friend. High school student Mason Wilde loaded needed blueprints onto library computers and used the library’s 3D printer to create the necessary parts. Wilde then decided to start a nonprofit to make 3D prosthetics for other children, and he is now considering a career in the biomedical field.

“Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs,” said Ann Joslin, President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. Joslin also is the state librarian in Idaho, which currently has a pilot program underway to support library maker activities and encourage the use of new technologies and tools.

“Whether it’s a class on internet safety, an entrepreneur who identifies potential customers from databases or a class on digital content creation, libraries continue to establish themselves as digital leaders in communities,” Young concluded. “This study demonstrates how technology investments benefit our libraries and our patrons, and keep our communities thriving.”

Methodology: The Digital Inclusion Survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013. The survey was open to all public libraries to participate. However, the analysis conducted used only sampled libraries. The survey received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate. For more information, please visit http://www.ala.org/research/digitalinclusion and http://digitalinclusion.umd.edu/. Past related reports on public library technology are available at www.ala.org/plinternetfunding.

ALA seeks candidates for 2014 Google Policy Summer Fellowship!

For the seventh consecutive year, the American Library Association is pleased to participate in the Google Policy Fellows program for 2014. The ALA Office for Information Technology Policy began its participation at the program’s founding.

For the summer of 2014, the selected fellow will spend 10 weeks in residence at the ALA Washington Office to learn about national policy and complete a major project. Google provides the $7,500 stipend for the summer, but the work agenda is determined by the ALA and the selected fellow. The Google Washington office provides an educational program for all of the fellows, such as lunchtime talks and interactions with Google Washington staff.

The fellows work in diverse areas of information policy that may include digital copyright, e-book licenses and access, future of reading, international copyright policy, broadband deployment, telecommunications policy (including e-rate and network neutrality), digital divide, access to information, free expression, digital literacy, online privacy, the future of libraries generally, and many other topics.

Jamie Schleser, a doctoral student at American University, served as the ALA 2013 Google Policy Fellow. Schleser worked with OITP to apply her dissertation research regarding online-specific digital libraries to articulate visions and strategies for the future of libraries.

Further information about the program and host organizations is available at the Google Public Policy Fellowship website. Applications are due by Monday, April 14, 2014. ALA encourages all interested graduate students to apply and, of course, especially those in library and information science-related academic programs. Here’s a link to the application: https://www.google.com/policyfellowship/faq.html

ACTION ALERT: LSTA Call Alert

We’re sharing the message below on behalf of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy and Washington Office.

Please share it by sending a link to this blog post, retweeting it from our Twitter feed at @ala_ascla, or resharing from our Facebook page.

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We issued an alert yesterday about the LSTA “Dear Colleague” letter that is now making rounds in the House of Representatives. We’d like library supporters to ask their Reps to sign on to this letter (Rep. Raul Grijalva is the lead signature). The deadline for signatures is April 10.

We even set up our nifty new calling tool from Mobile Commons so people can be connected directly to the DC office of their Rep.

Thanks to all of you who have already shared this alert with your lists. This is a great pre-Leg Day ask that you can follow up with at your meetings in May. Be sure to let me [Ted] know if you have any questions.

Ted Wegner
Grassroots Coordinator
American Library Association
Washington Office-Office of Government Relations
1615 New Hampshire Avenue N.W., 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20009-2520
Phone: 202-628-8410
Fax: 202-628-8419
twegner@alawash.org

Contact your U.S. Senators – ask them to sign on to library funding letter

 

Please call both of your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to sign onto this letter by COB Wednesday, June 8.  Also ask library supporters to contact your senators as well.

Senators Jack Reed and Olympia Snowe are leading an effort to increase support for FY2012 federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries.  Tell your senators’ staffers to contact Elyse Wasch in Reed’s office or Matthew Hussey in Snowe’s office.  We need other senators to sign the Reed-Snowe letter as soon as possible.  Please call immediately.

It may help if you describe at least one valuable service that your library provides the community or a success story about a library patron.  Examples include access to computers and data services to aid job searchers, support for small businesses  with marketing data and other resources as well as teaching digital literacy to people of all ages including K-12 students.

ACTION ALERT: Call your representative, tell them to oppose Amendment #35 to the Continuing Resolution

This week, the House of Representatives will consider two amendments to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution that are critical to libraries – one that would eliminate all Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding including Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding and another that would halt all funding for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders seeking libraries and bookstore records of U.S. citizens.

E-mail via Capwiz or call your representative at (202) 224-3121 today and tell him or her to oppose Amendment #35 to the Continuing Resolution!

Amendment #35, submitted by U.S. Rep. Scott Garret (R-NJ), seeks to zero out the Institute of Museum and Library Services, eliminating all federal funding specifically for libraries.

Message to Your Representative:

  • Libraries are essential to every community, and federal funding is critical for ensuring library resources and services remain available to their constituents.
  • LSTA supports all kinds of libraries including school, academic, and public libraries.
  • Public libraries are the primary source  of no-fee access to the Internet and are active in assisting the public with online  job searches, e-government services, and lifelong learning.

E-mail via Capwiz or call your representative at (202) 224-3121 today and tell him or her to support Conyers’ amendment to the Continuing Resolution!

This amendment, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), would halt all funding for FISA orders seeking libraries and bookstore records of U.S. citizens.  Currently, this vote is scheduled for this Thursday, February 17.

Message to Your Representative:

  • Vote YES on the Conyers amendment to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution to halt funding for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders that would seek library and bookstore records of U.S. citizens;
  • The Conyers amendment seeks to protect individual privacy and personal reading records from inappropriate access by law enforcement;
  • Like previous reader privacy bills, this amendment has bipartisan support;
  • Law enforcement access to the reading habits of individuals should be held to a higher legal standard in order to protect civil liberties and the right to read and access information.

In the weeks to come, extending your advocacy efforts to your senators as well as continuing to reach out to your representatives will be vitally important to protecting the future of libraries. Questions as well as reports and feedback from your calls and e-mails are welcomed.  Please contact Kristin Murphy or Lynne Bradley at the ALA Office of Government Relations, Washington Office.