This Week’s Activities to Save Net Neutrality

Because the Internet Shouldn't Have a Slow Lane Libraries TransformFrom the ALA Washington Office District Dispatch blog:

This Thursday, December 14, 2017, the FCC is expected to vote on a proposal from Chairman Ajit Pai that would rollback the strong, enforceable net neutrality protections established in 2015. The meeting will be webcast, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm EST.

As John Lewis said, “Every voice matters, and we cannot let the interests of profit silence the voices of those pursuing human dignity.” The American Library Association (ALA) understands that net neutrality enables opportunities for all by protecting an open and accessible internet – so that every voice, idea, information seeker and person gets a chance to prosper using the dominant communications platform of our day.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the vote this week will likely be a giant step backwards, but we and our allies will continue to vehemently advocate for a neutral net. Here are a few things going on this week:

Putting the pressure on Congress
Advocates have asked members of Congress to step in, as overseers of the FCC, to stop the impending vote on Thursday. Thousands of calls and emails have been sent from across the country, including nearly 37,000 emails using the ALA’s library-specific action alert. The ALA also is one of more than 150 groups (including individual libraries!) that have signed a joint letter to House and Senate committee leaders.

Also yesterday, 21 Internet and tech leaders, headlined by Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf and Steve Wozniak, and including inventors, innovators and creators of many of the fundamental technologies of the Internet, sent a letter to Congress with their own concerns.

Wait for the FTC?
Proponents of the draft order that will be voted on this Thursday have claimed consumers will still be protected from potential internet service provider misbehavior by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). But any day now, a federal court is expected to rule on a case that has serious implications for the FTC’s ability to help broadband consumers. At the end of last week, consumer groups and advocates including ALA asked the FCC to wait on any decision on net neutrality until this case is decided.

Making some noise
While we hope the efforts above will have an impact, advocates also are focused on activities to coincide with this week’s FCC meeting, including vigils, rallies and continued online engagement. Here are a few ways that you can add your voice:

  • Join Break the Internet Day by calling or emailing Congress via the ALA action alert on December 12.
  • Join protests online with some suggested social media messages on December 13 and 14:
    • Hey @AjitPaiFCC – America’s 120,000 libraries depend on equitable and robust access to the internet to serve our communities. We need #netneutrality!
    • .@FCC – Our libraries’ digital collections, podcasts, video tutorials, and more rely on an open internet. @AjitPaiFCC, keep #netneutrality!
    • #netneutrality is the First Amendment of the internet. @FCC, please protect the right to read, create and share freely without commercial gatekeepers.
    • OR tell us a story about what net neutrality means for your library and tag @ALALibrary, @FCC, @AjitPaiFCC

Stay tuned for additional actions if the FCC continues to ignore millions of people. Know that we would be far from game over as we seek relief in federal court–along with our many, many allied organizations.

Member of the Week: Tara R. Malone

Tara R. MaloneTara R. Malone is an assistant professor and medical librarian at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City, OKTara first joined ACRL in 2015 and is your ACRL member of the week for December 11, 2017.

1. Describe yourself in three words: Curious, skeptical, unconventional.

2. What are you reading (or listening to on your mobile device)? I just finished Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. It’s a really tragic true story, and especially hits close to home, being an Oklahoman. On the lighter side, I’m also making my yearly journey through the Harry Potter series.

3. Describe ACRL in three words: Transformative, informative, inclusive.

4. What do you value about ACRL? I value ACRL as an organization that is committed to helping others find, access, and understand information. ACRL brings together diverse perspectives and personalities to tackle some of the most challenging issues in today’s information landscape, and helps forge meaningful connections between information practitioners to better serve information consumers.

5. What do you, as an academic librarian, contribute to your campus? As a reference and instructional services librarian on a health sciences campus with seven colleges, I work with other library faculty and staff to provide a wide variety of on-campus instruction regarding library resources, database searching, and evidence-based health sciences information. We also perform mediated literature searches for our faculty, staff, and students, as well as handle the day-to-day reference needs of our patrons. We also are a resource library in the National Network of Libraries of Medicine under the National Library of Medicine umbrella. As such, in addition to our on-campus activities, we also are dedicated to health information outreach activities in our local community and across our state.

6. In your own words: As a child, I remember spending countless hours at the tiny public library in my town, where library staff essentially served as my babysitters. I also remember endlessly wandering the stacks of our state university library when my mother went back to school and took me to study with her. Libraries of many types have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I think in several ways, they saved me by giving me shelter when I had little and by opening my mind to new possibilities. Libraries were my home then, as they are now.

I believe that no matter what inspires you to become a librarian, and no matter what kind of librarian you are, we are all committed to the same ultimate goal: providing equitable access to quality information for as many people as possible. I have lived this reality from a patron standpoint; I’m proud to be on the practitioner side as well now.

Editor’s Note: Are you an ACRL member? Would you like to be featured as ACRL Member of the Week? Nominate a colleague? Contact Mary Jane Petrowski at for more information.

Free Dialogue/Deliberation Workshop for Academic Libraries at ALA Midwinter

Midwinter 2018 logoJoin ALA, ACRL, the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), and the National Issues Forums Institute for a free workshop about dialogue and deliberation approaches for academic libraries at ALA’s 2018 Midwinter Meeting.

“Libraries Transforming Communities: National Issues Forums Workshop for Academic Libraries” will be held on Friday, February 9, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver.

The one-day workshop will explore the National Issues Forums approach to dialogue and deliberation. Participation in the workshop is free, but space is limited and registration is required. Participants will also be asked to view three 90-minute webinars and claim digital badges in preparation for the workshop.

This workshop is part of Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, an ALA initiative that seeks to introduce libraries to various dialogue and deliberation approaches, enabling libraries to foster conversation and lead change in their communities. The initiative is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Questions should be directed to Sarah Ostman at

ACRL Immersion Program – All New for 2018

The ACRL Immersion Program is all new for 2018! The 4.5-day program will take place at the University of St. Thomas, in St. Paul, Minnesota from July 29 to August 3, 2018. The new, more central location will provide easy travel access, while still providing the small campus feel with nearby urban amenities.

The 2018 ACRL Immersion Program will launch a major curriculum revision. The Immersion Faculty are responding to feedback from teaching librarians, including past Immersion Program participants, in order to design a learning experience that meets current challenges, is responsive and flexible, enables participant-driven learning goals and experiences, and provides opportunities to develop a critical reflective practice. The program is not just for instruction or information literacy librarians or instruction coordinators. It is designed for anyone engaged in the educational role of libraries in higher education, including librarians from all library areas that engage in teaching and learning practices such as offering workshops, designing library assignments, creating exhibits,  etc.

Applicants may register for the program on a first come, first served basis in early 2018.

Some scholarships will be available; scholarship details will also be available in early 2018. Watch the Immersion Program webpage for details!

The Fun of Motivation: Crossing the Threshold Concepts

Fun of Motivation coverACRL announces the publication of The Fun of Motivation: Crossing the Threshold Concepts by Mary Francis, book number 71 in ACRL’s Publications in Librarianship series. This innovative book combines theory with specific lesson plans and assessment options to help readers explore, implement, and assess this powerful means of motivation.

What’s the place of fun in education? When students learn something new, they reach a learning edge, a threshold, where learning becomes uncomfortable because the material is difficult or beyond their understanding. To avoid this discomfort, some students can simply fall back on what they already know. This is a critical point, because if they do not move beyond the edge, they are stuck with both limited knowledge and a negative feeling about learning. Fun can be used as a motivating technique to help students get past this learning edge, and to meet an established goal or learning objective.

The Fun of Motivation: Crossing the Threshold Concepts is organized into two parts—Part I examines the theories behind motivation and fun in the classroom, and offers three instructional techniques that highlight their benefits. Part II is the application of the theories explored in Part I, and its six chapters each address one of the threshold concepts provided in ACRL’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. Each chapter contains three lesson plans addressing the threshold concept, one for each of the three fun instructional techniques. Assessment opportunities are provided throughout, with formative assessment strategies as well as summative assessments, including sample rubrics to apply to a range of student work. Each lesson plan ends with a section on possible modifications and accommodations and additional ideas on how to adapt the lesson for different student populations.

The threshold concepts within the Framework need to be facilitated with deliberation by librarians integrating them into their instruction sessions. Students must be motivated to learn these concepts that help them master skills across disciplines. The Fun of Motivation can help you utilize this compelling means of motivation.

The Fun of Motivation: Crossing the Threshold Concepts is available for purchase in print and as an ebook through the ALA Online Store and by telephone order at (866) 746-7252 in the U.S. or (770) 442-8633 for international customers.

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