May 26, 2016

Legislation

Library of Congress Drops Illegal Alien Subject Heading, Provokes Backlash Legislation

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Thanks to the joint efforts of a student group and university librarians at Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, with a push from the American Library Association (ALA), the Library of Congress (LC) announced on March 22 that it would remove the term “Illegal alien” from the LC Subject Heading (LCSH) system, replacing it with “Noncitizen” and, to describe the act of residing without authorization, “Unauthorized immigration.” Per LC’s executive summary, the proposed change will be posted on a “Tentative List” for comments “not earlier than May, 2016.” Ultimately the heading “Illegal aliens” will become a “former heading” reference, cross-referenced with the new terminology; other headings that include the phrase will also be revised or canceled. This decision currently stands despite recent backlash: members of the U.S. House of Representatives have voted to attach language to a funding bill which would require LC to switch back to the original term, but the bill is not yet law.

Update: The Library of Congress has posted a survey where the public can share their views on the proposed changes, and will accept comments through July 20.

North Carolina Librarians, Library Associations React to HB2

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From the moment the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Public Facilities Privacy and Security act, also known as HB2, reaction was forceful and articulate. Educators, librarians, and library leaders from public, academic, and school libraries and library organizations across the country, for whom inclusivity is a crucial part of their institutions’ mission, added their voices criticizing the bill’s passage and supporting those it affects.

Defending Inclusion | Editorial

RebeccaWebEdit2015

North Carolina’s adoption of the so-called “bathroom bill” (House Bill 2, also known as the Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act) on March 23 has been rightly denounced for building bias and discrimination into state law and barring cities from extending protections for transgender individuals. It should go without saying that wholesale bigotry against members of a group is unacceptable and unconstitutional. This legislation is a travesty and an assault on our civil liberties.

Library Advocates Fend off Kansas Legislative Threat

Courtesy Lawrence Public Library

Kansas library professionals, forced to mobilize quickly and using social media to rally support and spread their message, convinced lawmakers to remove language from a fast-tracked tax bill that they said threatened the survival of the state’s seven regional systems and, in turn, promised a trickle-down reduction in services for public libraries.

Wisconsin Law Validates Library Use of Collection Agencies

WI Gov. Scott Walker at Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, OK 
by Michael Vadon

On Monday, February 29, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker signed into law a bill that would authorize the enlistment of outside parties—collection agencies, or, in some cases, the police—to help recover late fees, fines, and unreturned materials for that state’s libraries, a problem that reportedly cost $3.5 million in the last year alone.

Bill in MI Would Limit Info to Voters; Librarians Protest

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In Michigan, a new law that if signed by the governor will restrict the sharing of ballot information prior to voting has alarmed librarians and allies, who are calling for action. In a surprising last-minute vote on December 16 in Lansing, the Michigan house and senate acted in concert to send several bills to Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI). Among them was an amended version of Senate Bill 571, a finance reform measure, which included new language prohibiting libraries and other public resources from transmitting information about local ballot initiatives for 60 days prior to an election.

A Win for All: With ESSA, Libraries Make Solid Gains | Editorial

RebeccaWebEdit2015

Librarians have MUCH to be proud of in the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The long-awaited rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, most recently also known as No Child Left Behind) sailed though both the Senate and House to arrive in front of President Obama, making it one of the few signs of functional bipartisanship in a rough year for getting stuff done on the hill. As the president signed ESSA into law on December 10, he referred to its arrival as “a Christmas miracle.”

Nebraska Bill Could Make All Libraries City Departments

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A bill that would place every library in Nebraska under the direct control of its city rather than a board of trustees is likely to be considered by that state’s legislature this winter, state senator Tyson Larson (R-40) told LJ. Such a bill, if passed and signed into law, would give municipalities of every size the power to manage library budgets, set hours, and hire and fire directors.

Senate Passes 10 Year Term for Librarian of Congress

Library of Congress Reading Room

As President Obama ponders his choice for the next Librarian of Congress, the first time in nearly three decades that such a nomination will be necessary, the U.S. Senate has passed a bill to put a ten-year term on the position, stripping the job of the lifetime tenure it has carried since 1802.

FASTR Approved by Senate Committee

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On July 29 the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) unanimously passed S. 779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research (FASTR) Act by voice vote. The bill, which calls for public access to taxpayer-funded research, was marked up to bring it into line with the existing White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) policy memorandum and current National institutes of Health (NIH) policy, and will now move to the full Senate for consideration.