One of the most challenging tasks for grassroots advocacy is in finding data to justify the relative importance of the cause one seeks to promote. In speaking with federal, state, and local legislators about a wide array of good causes, invariably the elected official will ask something like this: “how do I know that folks living in my area actually care about … [insert name of cause here].” Thankfully, for library advocates, a wonderful source of data measures is available to help quantify the actual degree to which the public at-large truly values public libraries.
Who would have thought that the United States Congress—after a year filled with gridlock and subsequent political inertia—would end up giving the American people a gift just before Christmas week? As of last week, comprehensive legislation finalizing the federal budget for fiscal year 2014 received final passage from both the Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. While generally modest in scope, the mere fact that a piece of fiscal legislation garnered the support of key Democrats and Republicans in Congress represents a significant achievement.
Thus far in 2013, the federal budget picture has been quite grim. Since March 1, the United States government has begun to adapt to the harsh reality of across-the-board budget cuts to particular categories of federal spending. This series of cuts—now commonly referred to as the sequestration—were enacted as part of the Budget Control Act […]