Report from Library Advocacy Day in Washington, DC
Last week at ALA’s 2010 Annual Conference, I had the pleasure of participating in Library Advocacy Day. On Tuesday, June 29th, librarians from all over the country gathered to show legislators the importance of funding libraries, and pointed to key issues facing libraries today. At 11am a Rally in Washington DC’s Upper Senate Park commenced. Outgoing ALA President Camila Alire spoke along with guest speakers Lauren Myracle, Senator Jack Reed, and Representative Vernon Ehlers. Despite a muggy DC summer heat, the energy among the crowd of librarians was up and chants of “we’re gonna show ’em” grew loud. Be sure to check out the pictures of the rally on Flickr.
In addition to attending the rally, I was able to go with Oregon’s team of librarians for office visits to meet with some of the state’s Representatives and Senators. The issues we stressed during the meetings were:
FEDERAL FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES:
- Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $300 million to ensure the best possible library resources for all constituents.
- Fund Improving Literacy Through School Libraries at $100 million to best prepare students for the 21st century workforce.
SUPPORT SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION ACT (ESEA):
- Every school should have a fully funded school library staffed by a full-time, state-certified school librarian.
- Include school librarians in state & local teacher professional development federal funds for recruitment and training of K-12 staff.
EQUITABLE ACCESS TO TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION:
- Co-sponsor the Access to Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 (H.R. 3101 and S. 3304) so that persons with disabilities will have access to new technologies and library services.
- Support network neutrality to assure a free and open Internet for all.
- Assure public access to federally funded congressional and scholarly research by supporting:
- Congressional Research Service Electronic Accessibility Act of 2009, H.R. 3762;
- Open the Congressional Research Service (CRS), S.R. 118; and,
- The Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (FRPAA of 2009), S. 1373 and H.R. 5037.
-From the ALA Office of Government Relations (Read the whole document here.)
All of our meetings were successful and our state representatives learned about the issues affecting libraries in Oregon. Representative Blumenauer even loved the Library Advocacy Day red t-shirts and asked for some!
Just as a follow up you might consider writing your state representative and Oregon’s Senators to thank them for their interest in and support of libraries.