OLA Legislative Day is Monday!

Just a reminder that Monday is OLA Legislative day. If you’re unable to go to Salem to visit with your representatives, please visit them virtually and participate in other virtual ways. How?

  • Use the following e-mail template to address the issues facing libraries in our state. (The e-mail template appears after the cut.) If you don’t know who are your state legislature representatives, find out by using the Oregon State Legislature’s Find Your Legislator tool.
  • Use your social networking tools and savvy to drum up support from your friends and colleagues. Get them to participate virtually, too!
  • Post a message of support on Facebook.
  • Write a Tweet.
  • Use the day to send a reminder to our representatives in Washington, DC, too. Send them a note of thanks for supporting us, and let them know what we’re doing locally!

Additional information about the issues for 2011 OLA Legislative Day can be retrieved from any of the issue briefs posted to the wiki.

The schedule for OLA Legislative Day is on the wiki, and if you’re planning an office visit, or a virtual visit to your representatives, please track this information on the wiki’s Appointments page.

You might also consider posting a status on Facebook in honor of legislative day to encourage your librarian Facebook friends to participate, or send out a tweet calling for action.

February 7, 2011

Dear [Representative],

I am writing as part of a delegation for Oregon Library Legislative Day, which is today, February 7th, 2011. I am a librarian at [institution name] and I wanted to let you know about some of the issues facing libraries in Oregon and in [name of town].

As a librarian I support continued funding of the Ready to Read Grant program at $1 per child to support library efforts to advance early childhood literacy. Funding this program means that children who receive their elementary and secondary education in Oregon are more successful when they enter college and are better prepared for the rigors of studying at [name of institution] where I work.

I also support the formation of a task force examining  how to shape strong school libraries. I am asking you to [endorse HB 2649/ oppose SB 560]. The task force proposed by Representative Buckley would address the following:

  • Evaluate the current status of school libraries in relationship to staffing, instruction, programming, funding, and available materials/resources/equipment.
  • Study, assess and evaluate best practices for instruction and programming based on content standards, staffing, funding and available materials/resources/equipment in school libraries.
  • Develop recommendations based on evaluated best practice to improve instruction, programming based on content standards, staffing, funding and available materials/resources/equipment.
  • Undertake any other strategy designed to increase and improve school library services.

Investing in school libraries is a proven and efficient way to increase student achievement and improve education for all Oregon students. Research in 15 states, including Oregon, shows that the school library programs contribute to academic achievement. In Oregon, we only have 319 librarians serving 1,308 schools. Fewer than 1/3 of school-age Oregonians benefit from a strong school library program with a licensed librarian and an adequate budget for books and materials.

Without strong school libraries students come to [name of institution] less prepared than their out-of-state peers who had stronger library programs in their school systems. Examining school libraries will enable us to improve schools and literacy levels in children and increase success for students pursuing higher education.

I support county law libraries and I urge you to oppose further reduction in the percentage of court filing fees that fund their services. Please monitor HB 2367 and HB 2710 and consider how those bills would effect law libraries. County law libraries make legal information resources and research services available to every Oregonian. They serve attorneys, litigants, judges, court staff, county officials and the general public. They vary from one another in their funding levels and therefore in staffing and service levels. In over half of the counties, library services are virtually non-existent.

Since the Legislature authorized them in 1907, county law libraries have been funded by a percentage of court filing fees. Although use of law libraries has increased, the Legislature has cut the percentage from 40% in 1997 to 28% currently.  Consequently, we need a more efficient service model that provides equitable access to all Oregonians.

At [name of institution] we refer patrons to the county law libraries when our collections and resources do not meet their needs for legal research.

Finally, I support a continued exemption for library records, such as patron names, addresses, and circulation records, from public record. Please monitor SB 41, which deals with the public records issue. The privacy of library records is a long-held professional value and one that directly impacts individuals’ freedom to access information without “fear of intimidation or retaliation.”

Thank you for taking the time to learn about the issues facing libraries in Oregon. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions regarding the issues I mentioned in this letter.



[contact info]

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