Archive for April, 2011

Action Alert! Virtual Library Legislative Day, May 10, 2011

Can’t make it to Washington, DC for the American Library Association’s (ALA) National Library Legislative Day on May 10th?  Then participate in Virtual Library Legislative Day and be a part of the advocacy effort!  Just call and/or e-mail your representatives in Congress on May 10th, or any time the week of May 9th – May 13th.

By contacting your elected officials in Washington, DC and asking them to vote for libraries, you can make a difference. Just five minutes of your time will help support and strengthen the efforts of the library supporters in Washington, DC.

Need some help?  Here are two places to start:

  • Legislative Action Center: Capwiz – Use this online tool to identify your elected officials.  This video tutorial may help, if you have never used the Legislative Action Center before.
  • Talking Points – Talking points will be posted on the website of the ALA’s Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) as the event draws closer.

Spread the word!  Please share this opportunity to voice support for libraries to your Friends group members, Board of Trustees, library staff, patrons, and community at large. Here are two ways to help promote the event:

  • Promotional Bookmark & Flyer – The ALA Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF) has provided a reproducible bookmark and flyer to help spread the word.
  •  Promote on Facebook – You can promote the event  on Facebook, RSVP and share this event on your Facebook page.

Virtual Library Legislative Day is sponsored by the ALA Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF), the ALA Washington Office, ALA Chapter Relations, and the ALA Office for Library Advocacy.

IMLS releases budget plan for FY 2011

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) released the specifics of its budget based on the total funding allocated in HR 1473, the bill that will fund the federal government through the end of FY 2011.  Some of the funding items are:

  • IMLS received $237.8 million in funding.  It lost $28 million in funding, plus another $16 million in earmarks.
  • The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) will be funded at $189 million—a $24.5 million cut.
  • The Grants to States section (state population-based grants within LSTA) will be funded at $160 million–a $12.5 million cut.
  • The Laura Bush 21st Century Library Professionals program was cut 47.7% to $12.8 million.

As we move on to the FY 2012 budget, it will be very important to express the importance of funding for libraries.

For more information, including an allocation table , please see the District Dispatch posting.

Bill to expand leadership role of libraries in workforce development

The Workforce Investments through Local Libraries (WILL) Act (HR 1616) was introduced to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA).  The bill would expand the libraries’ role as a leader in workforce development.  HR 1616 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.  (Maryland has no representation on this committee.)

For more information (including some quotes from PLA President Audra Caplan!), please see the District Dispatch posting.

ALA submits comments to FCC to support broadband in libraries

ALA submitted comments to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in two areas that would impact libraries:

  • Libraries as partners in Lifeline & Link Up programs – ALA is encouraging the inclusion of libraries as partners in any pilot program with Lifeline and Like Up programs.  The pilots would evaluate how these programs could support broadband adoption by low-income households.  For more information, including a link to the comments, see the District Dispatch posting.
  • Universal Service Fund (USF) programs to support broadband in libraries – ALA supports changing the high-cost program within the USF in order provide libraries with broadband, particularly in rural areas.  ALA also supports the creation of the Connect America Fund to assist with broadband infrastructure in libraries.  For more information, including a link to the comments, see the District Dispatch posting.

FY 2011 federal budget may impact government resources

The ALA Washington Office, based on a report from the Senate Committee on Appropriations, has identified some additional cuts to the FY 2011 budget that impact government resources used by libraries:

  • The Library of Congress (LOC) received a cut of 2%, or $13.4 million.  This will require a hiring freeze and potential delays in services and products.
  • The Government Printing Office (GPO) will be flat funded at $135.3 million and should be able to maintain existing operations.
  • The General Services Administration (GSA) was cut by almost $1 billion.  No decisions have been made yet, but this cut could reduce their e-government funding for sites such as

For more details on these cuts and their impact, see the District Dispatch posting.

Now is a great time to invite members of Congress to visit Maryland’s libraries to see firsthand what libraries do.  Additionally, grassroots efforts will be even more important as debate begins on the FY 2012 budget.  Updates will be posted to this blog.

Libraries receive flat funding from state for FY 2012

The Maryland General Assembly approved no change to the per capita funding for libraries as part of the Budget Reconciliation and Finance Act (BRFA).  This translates into another year of flat funding for Public Libraries, Regional Libraries and the State Library Resource Center (SLRC).  Because the per capita funding is based on population and real property wealth, individual library systems may notice a slight change in their funding amount, but it will otherwise remain the same.

FY 2011 federal budget includes IMLS cuts, ILTSL uncertainty

The American Library Association (ALA) Washington Office has examined the FY 2011 budget, which is scheduled for a vote on Thursday.  They found two disappointing items: 

  • IMLS cut – The Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS) was cut by $28 million, bringing the total funding down to $237.8 million.  It is unknown where within IMLS these cuts will be made.
  • ILTSL – The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries (ILTSL) program is not listed in the budget bill (HR 1473).  This means that the Department of Education will have 30 days to submit an operating plan or expenditure for school libraries.

No amendments are expected to be introduced before Thursday’s vote and the bill is expected to pass.  At this point, the strategy of the ALA Washington Office will be to focus on maintaining or increasing funding for libraries in the FY 2012 budget.

Thank you to everyone who took action to advocate for library funding in the FY 2011 budget.  Grassroots efforts will be even more important as debate begins on the FY 2012 budget.  Further updates will be posted to this blog.

For additional comments, please see the District Dispatch posting.

New advocacy discussion list for YA librarians

The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has established an e-mail discussion list for people interested in advocacy issues and library services for teens.  More information, including how to subscribe, may be found at the yadvocacy-l web page.

Public Library Capital Grant funding receives cut, but maintains mandate

In Conference Committee, the House version of the Public Library Capital Grant prevailed.  This means that the funded amount for FY 2012 will be reduced from $5 million to $4 million—a 20% reduction that is in line with the 20% reduction to the entire Capital budget.  However, what was more important is that the mandate to include $5 million for this grant in the budget each year was retained.  The mandate was retained largely due to the advocacy efforts of the public library administrators, who demonstrated to legislators the importance of this state funding to leverage local funding and complete library projects.

Public libraries exempted from Pension administrative fee

In late March, the Maryland House of Delegates voted within a matter of hours to charge local governments an annual administrative fee of $162.77 for each person enrolled in the State Teachers’ Pension.  This fee would have added an additional $2 million in expenses to public libraries statewide, and no funding was restored in order to offset the expense.

Public library administrators rallied to show the Senate how this significant financial burden would negatively impact public libraries.  Their efforts were successful and the Senate voted to exempt public libraries from this administrative fee.

Fortunately, in Conference Committee the Senate prevailed.  Public libraries will be exempt from this administrative fee.

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