Category Archives: Advocacy

ACRL Joins Coalition in Opposing Changes to Net Neutrality Rules

On May 18, 2017, ACRL joined 11 other library and higher education groups (including ALA) in issuing a statement which reiterates that the groups believe no changes to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) 2015 Open Internet Order are necessary. Through that order, internet users have benefited from strong and enforceable network neutrality policies. However, during an open meeting today the FCC voted to move forward with its notice of proposed rulemaking, which begins to roll back strong net neutrality protections. The library and higher ed groups have consistently advocated for network neutrality principles and will continue to do so. The full statement reads:

Since the passage of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order, internet users have benefited from strong and enforceable net neutrality policies, which are essential to protecting freedom of speech, educational achievement, and economic growth for all Americans. Today’s vote puts those protections in jeopardy.

Libraries and institutions of higher education are leaders in maximizing the potential of the Internet for research, education, teaching and learning, and the public good. In the modern era, a free and open internet is essential to our public missions. The current net neutrality rules – no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization, backed by a general conduct standard to ensure net neutrality adapts as the Internet evolves – generated unprecedented public support, and the validity of both the rules and the process that produced them has been affirmed by the DC Circuit Court.

Given all these factors, we believe no changes to the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order are necessary. We urge the Commission to rescind the NPRM approved today and work with all stakeholders to enhance flexibility and innovation within the existing framework. Application of the rules to this point has demonstrated that the Commission can manage the regulatory environment for Internet access without undermining the sound, legal basis for network neutrality.

Should the FCC continue down the path proposed in the NPRM, however, the higher education and library communities would again draw the Commission’s attention to the network neutrality principles for which we have consistently advocated. We believe the Commission can and should frame any efforts to support an open Internet around these principles, and we will work through the rulemaking process to sustain strong network neutrality rules based on them.

We look forward to working with the FCC on ensuring that the Internet remains open.

The organizations endorsing this statement are:
American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)
American Council on Education (ACE)
American Library Association (ALA)
Association of American Universities (AAU)
Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL)
Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU)
Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA)
Council of Independent Colleges
EDUCAUSE
National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)

In addition to this coalition statement, ALA separately condemned the FCC vote to undermine net neutrality protections and vowed to defend open internet.

Call Your U.S. Senators TODAY to Preserve Library Funding

Fight For LibrariesThe Fight for Libraries! has moved to the United States Senate. Library champions in the U.S. Senate are circulating two “Dear Appropriator” letters to their colleagues to preserve federal library funding, one seeking $186.6 million for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the other $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Libraries (IAL) program for FY 2018.

We are aiming to get 51 United States Senators to sign letters by our Senate champions.  So far, we’re doing okay, but not okay enough. The deadline for your Senators to sign on is tomorrow, May 19, so please call your Senators today!

The ALA Washington Office of Government Relations is maintaining an up to the minute and sortable online tracker showing which Senators have signed which letter(s). If yours haven’t already signed both the LSTA and IAL letters for FY 2018 please use ALA’s Fight for Libraries! webpage TODAY to contact both your Senators’ offices to ask them to sign both letters on or before May 19.

RIGHT NOW is the time! Pick up the phone and call your Senators. 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 appropriate phone number at the ALA Legislative Action Center and use the sample message below to convey your support to the friendly office staff of your Senators. It’s simple:

“Hello, I’m a constituent. Please ask Senator  ________ to sign both the FY 2018 LSTA and IAL ‘Dear Appropriator’ letters circulating for signature by May 19.”

Five minutes of your time could help preserve more than $210 million in library funding now at risk.

The other great news is that we’re not in this fight alone. As posted May 11 on District Dispatch by the ALA Office of Government Relations:

Today, that effort got an enormous boost when ALA delivered a powerful letter by eight leading national companies with collective revenue measured in billions of dollars (Baker & Taylor, Follett School Solutions, Gale/Cengage, OverDrive, Peachtree Publishers, Penguin Random House, ProQuest and Rosen Publishing) to the offices of all Senators who have not already signed both the Senate LSTA and IAL letters urging them to do so.

Even better, the companies’ letter is open to online signature by any other similarly supportive business, should they decide to join our campaign.

Corporate support is terrific, but if your Senators don’t hear from you – their constituents – they are far less likely to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters. Please, check the sortable tracker tool to see if both of your Senators have signed both the LSTA and IAL letters and, if they both haven’t signed, contact them – or re-contact them if you’ve already reached out – TODAY.

Thank you for helping us continue the Fight for Libraries!

Librarians March for Science Recap

Alison Ricker

Alison S. Ricker of Oberlin College at the Washington D.C. March for Science.

Editor’s Note: In this post, Alison S. Ricker, head of the Science Library at Oberlin College, recaps last month’s March for Science.

Science librarians were well-represented in the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22, in cities from coast to coast, from the heartlands to the deep south and the far west. The March for Science drew tens of thousands of scientists, science communicators and science enthusiasts world-wide, with a mission statement that was strictly nonpartisan: “The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.”

In addition to the March in Washington, D.C. there were 610 registered satellite marches to “acknowledge and voice the critical role that science plays in each of our lives.” The March For Science website links to a website or social media page for every march, where summaries of speeches, photos, videos and estimated attendance numbers attest to the outpouring of support for science and, just as fervently, evidence based policy, and legislation.

Dallas March for Science students

A group of students show their support at the Dallas March for Science.

It was both exhilarating and exhausting in Washington, D.C., where we spent 5 hours standing in the rain at the foot of the Washington Monument. Inspiring messages from speakers and good music kept us energized for the eventual march along Constitution Avenue toward the U.S. Capitol. By the time we passed the EPA building, marchers and spectators were full of enthusiasm, shouting “fund the EPA!” and “alternative facts have got to go!”

Check out online comments from librarian participants across the country to get the full flavor and scope of the event.

Ask Your U.S. Senators to Preserve Library Funding

Fight For LibrfariesIn 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 for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

Below is a request for action from Adam Eisgrau of the ALA Washington Office.

Thanks again to all ALA members once again for your tremendous effort  . . . and success . . . generating support in the House of Representatives for FY 2018 LSTA and IAL funding in the form of Member signatures on our champions’ “Dear Appropriator” letters. In just 10 days, we succeeded in topping last year’s signer totals by 14% for IAL and a fabulous 64% for LSTA, netting a full third of all House Members on each letter!

Now, we’ve got until just May 19 – only another 9 business days – to set Member signature records in the Senate where Sens. Reed and Collins have circulated a letter backing $186.6 million in FY 2018 funding for LSTA and Sens. Reed, Grassley and Stabenow have done the same in support of $27 million for IAL. Based on many meetings conducted this week with Senate staff during National Library Legislative Day, it’s clear that we must secure the signatures of a majority of Senators – 51 Members and preferably more – on both the LSTA and IAL letters for FY 2018 if these vital programs are to have the best chance of surviving Congress’ likely coming budget cuts.

Once again, the ALA Washington Office of Government Relations is maintaining an up to the minute and sortable online tracker showing which Senators have signed which letter(s). If yours haven’t already signed both the LSTA and IAL letters for FY 2018 (and only CT, HI, MA, NH, NJ, RI and VT have “doubled” so far), please use ALA’s Fight for Libraries! webpage TODAY to contact both your Senators’ offices to ask them to sign both letters on or before May 19. . . . then do anything and everything you can to encourage families, friends, customers, contractors, vendors, employees, casual acquaintances, and dog-walkers to do the same!

We set records in the House and I know that, together, we can do it again in the Senate.  As ALA President Julie Todaro said in a recent email, “We must!”  Thanks again.

Library Copyright Alliance Continues Opposition to Register of Copyrights Bill

Library Copyright Alliance LogoThe Library Copyright Alliance (LCA, whose members are the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of College and Research Libraries) continues to oppose legislation that would make the position of the Register of Copyrights subject to Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. Under current law (17 USC 701), the Librarian of Congress selects the Register. When the bill was first introduced on March 23, 2017, LCA issued a statement opposing it.

Now this legislation has advanced; on April 26, 2017, the House of Representatives adopted the “Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017” (H.R. 1695). In response, LCA released the following statement:

The Library Copyright Alliance is disappointed that the House today passed H.R. 1695, the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act. We continue to believe that the bill will delay critically needed modernization of the Copyright Office and make the Register of Copyrights less accountable to Congress and the public, contrary to the stated intent of the bill made plain in its title. We look forward to working with the Senate on this legislation.

In addition to the LCA statement, the American Library Association (ALA) released a statement by ALA President-Elect James Neal urging the Senate to reject this bill.

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