May 23, 2017

Legislation

New Bills Would Let President, not Librarian of Congress, Name Copyright Register

A bill empowering the president to appoint the next Register of Copyrights, which would effectively remove jurisdiction over the position from the Librarian of Congress, sailed through the House of Representatives 378–48 on April 26 and will now continue to the Senate. The Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, also known as HR 1695, was introduced on March 23, and would make the Register—who has traditionally been appointed by the Librarian of Congress—a presidential appointment, with the advice and consent of the senate.

Open Carry in Play for Nevada Libraries

A bill that would allow each Nevada library to decide for itself whether to bar firearms is due to be taken up by the Nevada Assembly, after winning passage through the Senate. Weapons would be prohibited from public library property, unless the owner has written permission from the governing board of the library.

Federal Budget Compromise Keeps—and Boosts—IMLS Funding

In a last-minute decision to avoid a government shutdown, Congress announced on May 1 a bipartisan compromise on president Donald Trump’s proposed budget that will not only save the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), but will add an additional $1 million to the agency’s funding—some 75 percent of which is slated specifically for libraries. The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2017 would also increase the budgets for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities by nearly $2 million, and preserve current funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

The Politics of Being a Trustee

November’s presidential election led to a surprising result for many. Even among those who voted for the current president-elect, a lot of people did not actually expect him to prevail over a former senator and secretary of state. And almost immediately, everyone from regular people to media pundits were chiming in on what the election will mean for the country.

EU Court: Treat Ebooks like Print Books

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been making some interesting decisions that could affect libraries. A few weeks ago, it was liability for hyperlinking; this week it’s about ebooks and lending.

The Right to Link is Challenged Under EU Law

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the chief judicial authority of the European Union, on September 8 issued a landmark ruling in a case called GS Media v. Sanoma (C-160/15), concerning hyperlinking and potential copyright infringement. This interesting case expands upon a theme that has been present in Europe for some time—a copyright crackdown on linking, news snippets, and other content.

Why LC Should Drop Illegal Aliens | BackTalk

The Library of Congress (LC) sparked debate recently when it announced that it would no longer use the term illegal aliens as a subject heading. The library maintains that the phrase has become “pejorative,” a sentiment echoed by social justice projects such as Race Forward’s Drop the I-Word campaign. However, Republican lawmakers who introduced legislation to force the library to keep the term argue that the LC’s subject headings (LCSH) should be consistent with U.S. Code.

MA Center for the Book Complete Funding Loss Reversed

The Massachusetts Center for the Book was re-funded on July 30 thanks to emergency sessions of the state House and Senate, after Governor Charlie Baker had completely defunded the Center and slashed budgets for several other educational and cultural organizations. Funding to the Massachusetts Cultural Center was also restored, as was the Local Aid to Public Libraries line item.

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

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

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.