Archive for March, 2012

Public Libraries Designated as Essential Service during Emergencies

Maryland SB 858 and HB 1001 – Designating Public Libraries as Essential Services (in times of Emergencies) have unanimously passed in each of their houses. These bills will make public libraries among those public services that Maryland’s Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will list as priority in getting services restored and funds allocated to do so by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  This also has the potential to earn each public library system a seat at the table with their local Emergency Management Board. Public libraries have already proven to have an important role during emergencies and this is considered a success for the public library community.

Feel free to thank your Senators and Delegates for their support. You can use Capwiz to do so.


Legislative Panel Meeting Minutes, 2/3/2012

The Minutes from the Legislative Panel’s Meeting on February 3, 2012 are now available.


MD Senators sign on to LSTA Dear Colleague Letter

Both Senator Mikulski and Senator Cardin signed onto the Dear Colleague letter in support of Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) funding. The letter asked for the funding to remain flat for FY 2013, as it is currently in the Appropriations bill 

At this point, it is unknown which members of the House may have signed onto a similar letter or whether or not any members of Congress signed onto the Dear Colleague letter in support of the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Grant.

Many thanks to everyone who contacted the Senators to ask for their support!

Budget passed in Senate; moves on to House

The full Senate has passed the budget and it has moved on to the House. It appears that the House and Senate versions of the budget will have major differences, including how revenue will be raised and over how many years to spread the pension push down. The House is expected to finish its work on the budget this weekend. This Gazette article gives an indication of how the budget is taking shape in the House.

Update and History of the State Teacher’s Pension

County officials have begun to respond to the recent revised budget plan passed last week by the Senate Budget & Tax Committee. See this Gazette article for more details.

This editorial by Blair Lee gives a good history of how the state started paying the pension. It also provides a counterpoint to the state’s view.

Action Alert! Dear Colleague letters for LSTA & Literacy

There are two separate Dear Colleague letters circulating in the House and the Senate that support funding for libraries in the FY 2013 Appropriations bill.

  1. LSTA Funding – This letter supports level funding for the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA) in FY 2013. This is the primary source of funding for public libraries in the federal budget. Here are links for the letter for the Representatives and the Senators.
  2. Literacy Grant – This letter supports funding already in the Appropriations bill for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Grant in FY 2013. At least half of this funding is set aside to go to low-income school libraries. Here are links for the letter to the Representatives and the Senators.

Please contact your Senators and Representatives to ask them to sign onto the letters. The deadline for Representatives is March 14th.  The deadline for Senators is March 26th. Senator Mikulski has already signed onto the LSTA letter, so please thank her for her support.

For more information, including talking points and how members of Congress can sign onto the letters, please check out the Capwiz Action Alerts for the House and Senate. You can enter your ZIP code to get phone numbers to your elected officials.

Thank you in advance for your support!

Support Libraries on Capitol Hill! It’s National Library Legislative Day 2012!

Each year, the American Library Association coordinates National Library Legislative Day, a national advocacy effort in support of libraries. This year, library advocates from across the country will come to Washington, DC on Monday, April 23rd and Tuesday, April 24th to learn about legislation and issues and visit members of Congress.  Although advocacy is a year-round activity, this coordinated effort helps to make an impression on legislators.

Briefing Day

On Monday, April 23rd, a briefing day will be held at the Liaison Hotel in Washington, DC.  Speakers will present information on federal legislation and issues that impact libraries to prepare library advocates for legislator visits on Capitol Hill.  To register, complete the online registration form.  The registration fee is $20 and includes breakfast and an afternoon snack.

Reception – 4/16/2012 Update

There is also a reception in the evening of Monday, April 23rd from 5:00-7:00pm in Room 116 of Dirksen Senate Office Building. Senator Jack Reed will be accepting an Honorary Membership to the American Library Association shortly after 5:00pm. Legsislators and their aides should be invited to attend.

Legislator Visits

On Tuesday, April 24th, library advocates will visit members of Congress and ask for support of libraries.  In Maryland, in order to present an organized advocacy effort, formal meetings with legislators will be coordinated through the Maryland Library Association’s Legislative Panel.  If you are interested in participating in the scheduled meetings, please contact Natalie Edington, Maryland’s State Coordinator and the Federal Coordinator of the Legislative Panel, at by Monday, April 2nd.

4/23/2012 Update: Virtual Library Legislative Days

Even if you can’t make it to DC, you can still participate in this national advocacy effort by calling your representatives in Congress during Virtual Library Legislative Days any day the week of April 23rd. In addition to saying a simple thank you for their support, there are many issues about which you can voice your opinion. See the Legislative Panel blog post for more information.

 4/3/2012 Update – Webinar: What to Know Before You Go

The American Library Association Washington Office is offering this free webinar on Tuesday, April 10th at 1:00pm. Before heading to Capitol Hill for National Library Legislative Day, learn how to be the most effective during meetings with legislators and more. See this link for more information, including how to register.

4/12/2012 Update: A video of the webinar is now available. Links to resources mentioned in the webinar are also provided.

4/3/2012 Update – Legislative Scorecards available

What legislation of interest to libraries did Maryland’s legislators support in 2011? Check the American Library Association’s Legislative Scorecards for the Senate and the House to find out. Be sure to thank legislators for their support and focus your message on other areas where they could increase their support.

Hotel Information

ALA Washington Office has already blocked off rooms at The Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel. These rooms will be available until March 22nd. To make reservations:

  • By Phone: Call 1-866-AFFINIA and reference the ALA National Library Legislative Day group or the reservation ID NLLD30.
  • Online: Go to the online reservation form and be sure that NLLD30 in the “Group Code” box.
  • By E-mail: Send reservations to Reference the ALA National Library Legislative Day group or the reservation ID NLLD30, confirm dates and provide payment information.


The White House Conference on Library and Information Services Taskforce (WHCLIST) and the ALA Washington Office are calling for nominations for the WHCLIST Award. This award is granted to a non-librarian participant of NLLD, who receives a $300 stipend and two nights in the Liaison Hotel. For more information, including the application, see the WHCLIST Award page.

More Information

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.  For some additional information, you may also visit the National Library Legislative Day web page of the American Library Association Washington Office.

Senate Committee approves revised budget plan; library and community college exempt from pension push down

With about half of the legislative session remaining, the General Assembly turned its attention to the FY 2013 budget. O’Malley’s proposal included a 50% shift of the retirement costs to the local governments. Earlier this week, the “Doomsday Budget” was released. This report outlines the significant cuts to local and state budgets that would be necessary if legislators do not raise taxes or cut spending.

Yesterday, the Senate Budget & Tax Committee approved a revised budget plan that shifts the cost of teacher pensions to the local school boards and county/local governments in phases over the next four years. This proposal would only apply to public school teachers, and not library or community college employees. The proposal is expected to go before the full Senate next week. For more information on this proposal, see the Gazette article.

Past Posts

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