Author Archives: Kara Malenfant

ACRL Sets 2017 Legislative Agenda

Each year, the ACRL Government Relations Committee, in consultation with the ACRL Board of Directors and staff, formulates an ACRL Legislative Agenda. Drafted with input from key ACRL committees, ACRL leaders, and the ALA Washington Office, the ACRL Legislative Agenda is prioritized and focuses on issues at the national level affecting the welfare of academic and research libraries. The ACRL Board of Directors recently approved the 2076 ACRL Legislative Agenda in time for National Library Legislative Day, May 1-2, in Washington, D.C.

The 2017 ACRL Legislative Agenda focuses on four issues that the U.S. Congress has recently taken, or will most likely take, action on in the year ahead: federal funding for libraries, network neutrality, access to federally funded research, and privacy and government surveillance. The agenda also includes a watch list of policy issues of great concern to academic librarians. Legislation on these issues is not likely to arise and, moreover, ACRL does not believe that any legislation about these issues is necessary. Issues on the watch list are: access to government data, proposed budget cuts, and activities of the Congressional House Education and the Workforce Committee. ACRL will continue tracking these issues and advocate for the best interests of academic and research libraries, if necessary. Read the complete legislative agenda for more details.

Don’t forget to advocate for libraries in early May by calling or emailing Congress as part of ALA’s Virtual Library Legislative Day. Virtual Library Legislative Day activities will be held throughout the week of May 1-5, 2017, and will be an opportunity for all library advocates to make their voices heard on a national level. Library advocates who cannot make it to Capitol Hill for the event can be a part of the effort by calling and/or emailing their elected officials any time the week of May 1-5.

Over the next few days, please take a moment to register and then ask others in your circles — members, followers, patrons, fellow library staffers, and friends — to join. You’ll receive reminders to take action, along with talking points, email templates, and other resources to help you craft your message. You’ll also find a link to the live webcast from National Library Legislative Day, so you hear the issue briefing live from D.C. on May 1.

Seeking Feedback on Draft of Revised Standards for Libraries in Higher Education

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An ACRL task force seeks comments on a draft of potential changes to the the Standards for Libraries in Higher Education (SLHE) before completing final revisions and submitting the standards with a recommendation to approve them. Like all ACRL standards and guidelines, these are subject to a regular cyclical review. Please review the draft documents and provide feedback either by attending an upcoming online open forum or by submitting your comments through an online feedback form by Tuesday, May 23.

Join the free online open forum Seeking Feedback on Draft of Revised Standards for Libraries in Higher Education on Thursday, May 11, from 1:00 — 2:00 p.m. Central time (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific | 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Mountain | 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern.  Convert additional time zones online.)

How to Register
Submit your free registration online by May 10, 2017.  Login details will be sent via email the afternoon of May 10.  The webcast will be recorded and made available shortly after the live event.

Tech Check
The online open forum takes place in a WebEx meeting room. Make certain you have an updated version of Java. Make sure you have the most recent WebEx software by checking the system requirements. This especially applies to users accessing the meeting through a mobile device. We recommend a USB headset. Please allow a few minutes to get in and test your audio, etc. before the start time.

Background
The SLHE, adopted in 2011, are designed to guide academic libraries in advancing and sustaining their role as partners in educating students, achieving their institutions’ missions, and positioning libraries as leaders in assessment and continuous improvement on their campuses. Libraries in higher education are increasingly required to demonstrate their value and document their contributions to overall institutional effectiveness and be prepared to address changes in higher education. The SLHE is a framework for library planning and assessment that can be used for a variety of circumstances including annual planning, program review, and accreditation self-study.

Questions?
Contact the task force chair, Andrea Falcone at Andrea.Falcone@ucdenver.edu or (303) 352-3953.

Join ALA Washington Office for Webinar on Federal Budget 4/13

On Thursday, April 13, 2017, the ALA Washington Office Appropriations expert Kevin Maher and the Penn Hill lobbying group’s Aissa Canchola will host an hour long discussion about the Congressional budget process. Their goal is to help unravel the complicated tangle that is the FY17 budget, the FY18 budget, the President’s “Skinny” budget, Continuing Resolutions, and everything that means for library funding. They’ll also take time to look to the future and discuss what comes next in the appropriations process and ways that you can take action.

The free webinar will be hosted on the ALA YouTube channel on at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on April 13th and will include a time for Q and A. Tune in to hear from the experts and ask questions of how it all works (or doesn’t), and use #SaveIMLS to ask questions and join the conversation.

Looking for other ways to help #SaveIMLS and protect federal library funding? Sign up to join the National Library Legislative Day Thunderclap or commit to calling, emailing, or tweeting your Members of Congress on May 1, 2017.

ACRL Supports Open Data Legislation

On April 5, 2017, ACRL joined over 80 other organizations in signing a coalition letter supporting the Open, Public, Electronic and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, reintroduced by a bicameral and bipartisan group of lawmakers on March 29, 2017, as S. 760 and H.R. 1770. The OPEN Government Data Act will require all federal agencies to publish their information online, using non-proprietary, machine-readable data formats.

The bill codifies and expands the 2013 government-wide Open Data policy (“Open Data Policy-Managing Information as an Asset”, M-13-13), which has been integrated into agency policy for the past three years. It is similar to what was passed by the Senate last Congress.

In summary, the legislation would:

  • Require federal agencies to take the next step in publishing their data sets in a truly accessible manner in open formats and as machine-readable data;
  • Help create a map of all federal data sets;
  • Empower agency Chief Information Officers to improve the quality of the data they are publishing; and
  • Write meaningful open data definitions into US law to enable smarter legislation in the future.

The coalition letter is being sent to relevant Congressional committees. Supporting this legislation is consistent with ACRL’s strategic goal to accelerate the transition to more open and equitable systems of scholarship and, more specifically, the strategic objective that ACRL is an advocate for open dissemination practices.

Call your Representative in the US House TODAY to Preserve Library Funding

In mid-March 2017, the President of the United States proposed eliminating virtually all federal library funding along with the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the agency that distributes most library funding to every state in the nation. Now budget-cutters in Congress are considering whether to follow his lead. This year, like never before, libraries and everyone who loves them must fight for libraries and tell their members of Congress to support full federal funding. In the immediate near term, we’re asking you to focus on preserving the more than $210 million provided annually for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA, the vast bulk of which is the Grants to State program, population formula funding administered by IMLS comprising two-thirds of the agency’s budget) and Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) programs.

Library champions in the U.S. House of Representatives are circulating two “Dear Appropriator” letters to their colleagues to preserve this federal library funding, one supporting LSTA (PDF) and the other supporting IAL (PDF). The deadline for your Representative to sign on is April 3 so please call your Representative today! The bottom line is about the bottom line: the more Members of Congress who sign the LSTA and IAL letters, the better the chance that the Appropriators will not cut those critical programs.

RIGHT NOW is the time! Pick up the phone and call your Representative in the House to ask them to sign these two important letters to the Appropriations Committee now making the rounds. Can’t get through to DC? Try calling the local district office in your home state. The more members of Congress who sign these “Dear Appropriator” letters, the less likely LSTA and IAL are to be eliminated or cut. But they won’t sign unless you, their constituent, demands it.

Find the phone number and message you’ll convey to the friendly office staff of your Representative at the ALA Legislative Action Center; it’s simple:

“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Representative  ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature before April 3.”

Then tell them why. Share a story about what this funding means for people in your community. How did LSTA or IAL funding support students and improve their learning? Help faculty be more effective in their teaching? What are other members of your community able to accomplish that they wouldn’t have been able to do? If this funding goes away, what will the impact be for people where you live?

Five minutes of your time could help preserve over $210 million in library funding now at risk. While the President proposed eliminating many agencies, Congress is unlikely to defund IMLS wholesale but is likely to severely cut or eliminate “line item” appropriations for specific programs — like LSTA and IAL — that are not demonstrably very broadly supported in Congress. The “Dear Appropriator” letter process underway right now is THE first and best way to demand that critical support from every member of Congress. Since states are required to match about a third of the federal LSTA funds provided through IMLS, federal cuts probably mean state funding cuts too! The Dear Appropriator letters in the House are one part in a larger, longer grassroots effort to win continued support for IMLS. (Learn more about why the fight for libraries this week is so important and read a late breaking appropriations update.) Stay tuned for a similar alert for the Senate letters in the coming days. We need your help this year like never before. Help preserve federal library funding.

UPDATE: Check to see if your Representative has signed the LSTA and IAL letters in this handy database. If your Representative hasn’t signed, give them a call and ask them! And if they have, a thank you call or email never hurts.

Ready for more? Here’s what you can do next:

  • Get ready to call your Senators when “Dear Appropriator” letters are circulating in that chamber of Congress
  • Stay current by registering for action alerts and follow blog posts from the ALA Washington Office.
  • Help staff in the ALA Washington Office tell Congress the best library story: yours. Share your stories about what federal library funding means for your community. Tweet using the #SaveIMLS tag – say how IMLS funding supports your local community.
  • Sign up to participate in National Library Legislative Day (May 1-2) either in person or virtually.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to significantly amplify your voice and urge public support for libraries.
  • Talk to others on your campus, in particular your government relations staff (typically in the office of the president, provost or external affairs), and tell them why preserving federal funding for libraries should be a priority for them, too. Ask for their help.
  • Attend a constituent coffee at the local office when your members of Congress are in their districts April 10–21. Go see them.
  • Invite your members of Congress to your campus for a library tour or organize an event and invite them to attend. (Not available? Ask a staff person from the local district office to serve on a panel discussion, hosted at the library.)

At the ACRL 2017 Conference in Baltimore, we heard during a town hall meeting and grassroots writing sessions that ALA has 3 lobbyists for our nearly 60,000 members and one person is only one voice. In other words: we’re only as good as our members are engaged. While postcards are a good first step (and you can download and print ours) we urge you to dedicate yourself to learning to lobby and to commit yourself to regular sustained action. We need ACRL and ALA members, all of us, to join together in, “the fight of our generation.”

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