Archive for January, 2010

Contact Senators to include librarians in Jobs for Main Street

The Jobs for Main Street Act has passed in the House and is now in the Senate.  The bill would put $80 billion toward creating jobs, but it does not currently include librarians.  However, the bill does include $18 billion for hiring and retaining teachers.  The American Library Association’s Washington Office is encouraging people to contact Senators and ask them to write a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), requesting that the hiring and retaining of librarians be included in the $18 billion as well.  Be sure to tell them what your library is doing to help people find jobs. 

You may contact Senators by phone (Senator Mikulski – (202) 224-4654; Senator Cardin – (202) 224-4524) or via e-mail using the Action Alert on Capwiz.  To get to the Action Alert and more details, go to Capwiz and click on the Take Action button below the alert entitled “Out of Work Librarians Need Your Help NOW!”

USDA sets aside $100 million for rural libraries

The United States Department of Agriculture designated $100 million for rural libraries as part of the Rural Development Community Facilities program.  The money may be used to construct, enlarge or improve rural public libraries.

 For more information, including a link to a fact sheet, please see the District Dispatch posting.

Reminder: FREE program! – Advocacy 101: Getting Your Message Heard

It’s not too late to register for this FREE program on advocacy on February 4th.  This training is essential and timely, as the Maryland General Assembly is beginning their session and both the state and local governments face budget challenges.  For more details, see the Legislative Panel’s blog posting.

NTIA & RUS to webcast workshops on 1/26 & 1/29

According to an update on the BroadbandUSA web site:

 “NTIA and RUS will be webcasting two of their technical assistance workshops for any potential applicants who cannot make it in person. RUS will stream its Broadband Initiatives Program live from Portland, OR on Tuesday, January 26, starting at 9:00 am PST (12 noon EST); NTIA will stream its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program live from Denver, CO on Friday, January 29, starting at 9:00 am MST (11 am EST). Both webcasts will be archived and available for reference 3-5 days after streaming.”

 For links to view the webcasts, go to and scroll down to the January 22nd update under “What’s New at”

Webinar: Broadband Round 2 now available online

The webinar “Broadband Stimulus – Round Two: Get Connected” from the American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office is now available online.  The PowerPoint and PDF files of the slides are also available.  The webinar provides an overview and describes the key changes from Round One to Round Two of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP)–the federal broadband stimulus programs.  Please go to the District Dispatch posting for details and links.

BIP FAQ for Round 2

The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) has posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP).  In addition to answering questions, it also identifies the differences between Round 1 and Round 2.

O’Malley releases FY 11 budget for Maryland

Governor O’Malley released the details of the FY 11 budget today.  The budget closes the $2 billion deficit.  While the budget appears to be cutting an additional $330 million in local support, apparently it is not coming out of libraries.  Most of the changes in funding to libraries seem to be based on normal population increases and decreases and the wealth/population formula.  Some of the highlights regarding libraries are:

  •  State teachers’ and librarians’ pensions are fully funded.
  • The County Public Libraries received a slight reduction of $187,070.  The FY 11 proposed state appropriation is $33,032,330; the FY 10 appropriation was $33,219,400.
  • The State Library Resource Center (SLRC) received a small gain of $25,473, however, this does not begin to restore the significant reduction received in FY 10.  The FY 11 proposed appropriation is $9,408.107; the FY 10 appropriation was $9,382,634.
  • The Regional Libraries received a small gain of $23,733.  The FY 11 proposed appropriation is $6,185,646; the FY 10 appropriation was $6,161,913.

 The press release from the Governor’s office includes some additional highlights.  This page also provides links to a PowerPoint presentation, the Budget in Brief and Budget Highlights.

 The Budget Bill is SB 140 and the Budget Reconciliation and Financing Act of 2010 (BRFA) is SB 141.  These bills should be available for viewing on the Maryland General Assembly’s web site on January 21st.

USDA Community Facilities Program offers loans & grants for library construction

United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development provides loans and grants through the Community Facilities Program whose purpose is to construct, enlarge, extend or improve essential community facilities, including libraries, that provide essential service primarily to rural residents.  Additionally, the national office can provide grants (not loans) for up to 75% of the cost of new bookmobiles for eligible service areas.  For more information on the program, visit the Maryland Association of Public Library Administrators (MAPLA) web site, go to the section on grants and check out the documents listed under USDA Grant Information.

CPSC releases CPSIA report to Congress

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has released its report to Congress about the problems with enforcing the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).  The report acknowledges that books are a problem and agrees that Congress likely did not intend to include books.  However, it determined that CPSC cannot exclude books and instead has stated that Congress may need to consider granting an exclusion. 

 A statement from CPSC in August 2009 indicated that libraries were under no obligation to test books for lead.  (See the August 27, 2009 District Dispatch posting for more on this statement.)

 For more details, including a link to the report, please see the District Dispatch posting.

 The American Library Association Washington Office is currently working to determine the best next step.

ALA files comments to FCC on net neutrality

The American Library Association (ALA) has submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in support of the six principles regarding net neutrality that serve to maintain an open Internet.  For more information, including a link to the comments, please see the District Dispatch posting

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