Category Archives: Advocacy

ALA Policy Corps Launches

Policy Corp logoAmerican Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal recently launches and invites library advocates to apply for participation in the inaugural ALA Policy Corps initiative.

The presidential initiative is grounded in the ALA’s four strategic directions and the National Policy Agenda for Libraries that emerged out of the Policy Revolution! initiative. Its goals include developing policy experts available to ALA and the ALA Washington Office, creating longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals, and positively impacting national public policy in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals.

ACRL worked with other ALA units including the Office for Information Technology Policy, American Association of School Librarians, Public Library Association, and United for Libraries in developing this program. This support includes a $10,000 contribution from the ACRL Board of Directors. The Board is confident that the Policy Corp will develop national policy advocates necessary to advancing the profession and ACRL will continue to serve as an active partner in the initiative.

The Corps will launch with an initial cohort of 10-12 participants with diverse representation from across library types and geographies. Participants will cultivate their passion and deep expertise for a public policy issue; create or enhance the skill set needed to impact legislation and policy; mentor others on a given policy issue of interest; participate in a cohort to share challenges and successes; and ultimately impact national, state and local policymaking.

The characteristics of successful applicants include:

  • ALA membership;
  • At least five years of library experience;
  • Past advocacy experience at the local, state, national and/or international level;
  • Desire to develop one’s policy advocacy skills and apply them over a period of years
  • Solid speaking and writing skills;
  • Awareness of and ability to express the impact of legislation and policy on their community, type of library and/or patrons;
  • Commitment to keeping current on policy-related library issues and to building and supporting a strong, national network of advocates over time;
  • Ability to make and sustain a five-year commitment; and
  • Support from a library or educational institution.

Preference will be given to applicants with prior engagement in ALA such as service on boards, committees or other entities and/or participation in professional development or scholarship programs.

The application process for the 2018 ALA Policy Corps is now open. Applications, available on the ALA Policy Corps web page, will be accepted through Friday, November 3, 2017.


ACRL Supports “Dreamers” – Statement on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) stands in support of students protected by the Deferred Action to Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which safeguards nearly 800,000 undocumented youth from deportation as they pursue the American dream. DACA-qualified students are members of our academic communities, attend our institutions, work in our libraries, and contribute their unique perspectives to the intellectual discourse, which is vital for the success of our research and educational missions.

ACRL’s unwavering support of DACA-qualified students aligns with librarianship’s core values of democracy, intellectual freedom, diversity, and social responsibility. We believe the dissolution of DACA protections will target undocumented students unfairly for situations they did not create, will harm intellectual freedom by removing the voices of vulnerable groups from the scholarly discourse, and will jeopardize the invaluable cultural enrichment brought to our campuses by immigrant students, faculty, and staff. We also know that many college and university libraries employ students, and that DACA-protected students comprise a portion of these employees. These student employees contribute many talents and skills to our colleges and universities and, by doing so, help us meet our educational goals.

On September 5, 2017, ALA President Jim Neal responded to the news of the Trump administration’s announcement that it will end the DACA program, by stating: “We are disappointed that the protections of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are in jeopardy. Through no fault of their own, these undocumented youth were brought to this country as children, and deserve the opportunity to contribute to our society without the fear of being deported.” We in ACRL agree passionately with this statement and join with President Neal in his appeal for Congress to find a just solution for these valued members of our academic communities.

Resources for further inquiry and action:

ACRL Board of Directors Condemns Racism and Violence in Charlottesville

The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Board of Directors unequivocally decries and deplores all racism and racist ideologies and condemns the bigotry, hate, and violence demonstrated this past week by white supremacists and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville. We stand with our colleagues at the University of Virginia, recognizing that this was not a localized gathering and could happen on any college or university campus. We honor and remember those who were injured or lost their lives in Charlottesville this past weekend.

ACRL is unwavering in its long-standing commitment to free exchange of different viewpoints, but what happened in Charlottesville was not that; instead, it was terrorism masquerading as free expression. ACRL will continue to advocate for and demand diversity, inclusion, equity, and access in our college and university libraries.

We hope that all members of ACRL will join us in reaffirming our commitment to support students, faculty, staff, and the public we serve. We are committed to representing many backgrounds and advocating for social justice on campus and in our communities.

Continuing the Fight For an Open Internet for All

In comments filed Monday, July 17, 2017, at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ALA questioned the need to review current net neutrality rules and urged regulators to maintain the strong, enforceable rules already in place. These comments, filed with the American Association of Law Libraries and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies, made clear that libraries and our communities depend on fair access to broadband networks for basic services like connecting people to unbiased research, job searches, e-government services, health information and economic opportunity. ACRL, which has long advocated for the open internet, contributed to drafting of these comments and provided examples from academic library contexts. Net neutrality remains a priority issue for ACRL.

The Association of Research Libraries also submitted comments to the FCC, joining with eight higher education associations. Both sets of comments hearken back to important net neutrality principles previously issued by these library and higher education groups and urge policymakers to endorse them.

Library Copyright Alliance Files Comments Regarding NAFTA Negotiations

Library Copyright Alliance Logo The Administration has announced its intent to commence negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has requested public comment on what should be addressed in the negotiations, including “relevant trade-related intellectual property issues that should be addressed in the negotiations.” On Friday, June 9, the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA, whose members are the American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, and Association of College and Research Libraries) filed comments making the following points:

1. Exceptions and Limitations. LCA strongly supports inclusion in NAFTA of a provision based on Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Article 18.66, “Balance in Copyright and Related Rights Systems.” This language would insure that nothing in NAFTA would in any direct or indirect way undermine the fair use right. This language would also lead to improvements in Mexican copyright law, which would allow libraries in Mexico to engage in more cross-border activities that benefit U.S. users. Finally, inclusion of this language would place a uniquely American stamp on an international IP agreement.

2. Exhaustion. NAFTA should include a strong exhaustion provision (including international exhaustion) based on U.S. law. This would ensure that manufacturers would not have the ability to game the trade system to their benefit and to the detriment of U.S. worker, consumers, and libraries.

3. Intermediary Safe Harbors. Because Mexico has not yet adopted safe harbors, NAFTA should include an obligation to enact liability limitations for Internet intermediaries. Internet intermediary safe harbors in Mexican copyright law would encourage cross border activities that benefit U.S. libraries and their users.

4. Copyright Term. NAFTA should require no more than a term of life plus 50 years. Including in NAFTA a life plus 70 term of protection, as was included in TPP Article 18.63, would limit the flexibility of Congress to shorten the term of protection in the future.

5. Other Matters. The TPP IP chapter contains other positive, balancing language that LCA believes should be included in NAFTA. This language addresses the appropriate objectives of IP rights, proportionately of remedies, and prevention of abusive enforcement practices.

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