October 4, 2015


FASTR Approved by Senate Committee


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.

Chicago Chosen as Site of Obama Library

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After 14 months of deliberations, the Barack Obama Foundation (BOF) chose the University of Chicago to host the Barack Obama Presidential Center (OPC) on Chicago’s South Side. The four finalists, selected from a pool of 13 applicants in September 2014, were New York’s Columbia University, the University of Hawaii (UH), the University of Chicago (UC), and the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

MO 2016 Budget Drops Aid to Libraries Almost 80 Percent

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Difficult budget decisions, including probable cuts, await libraries throughout Missouri after the legislature drastically slashed state aid in two critical areas as part of a $26 billion 2016 spending plan adopted by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Library Associations Spearhead New Copyright Coalition


A group of technology companies, trade associations, and civil society organizations have joined forces to form Re:Create, a national coalition to advocate for balanced copyright policy. In the wake of recent proposals to amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, as well as constant advances in the field of knowledge creation, coalition members are calling for responsive copyright law that balances the interests of those who create information and products with those of users and innovators, providing robust exceptions as well as limitations to copyright law in order that it not limit new uses and technologies.

Connecticut and Vermont Libraries Await Decisions on Budget Cuts


CT-VTlogoOther than the proximity of the two New England states, the library systems of Connecticut and Vermont don’t have much in common. They don’t share similar funding arrangements or infrastructure. But both states are facing potential budget reductions that could significantly impact their public libraries, and both have called on residents and legislators alike to speak up for their library services.

Barriers to Innovation Act Would Renew DMCA Exemptions Automatically

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Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) on April 16 introduced the “Breaking Down Barriers to Innovation Act,” a bill that would make significant changes to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which gives the Library of Congress the power to grant exemptions to DMCA’s ban on circumventing digital rights management (DRM) software, encryption, or other digital restrictions.

MO Withheld Library Funds Restored; 2016 Funding in Flux

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Missouri libraries last week celebrated the long-awaited–and surprising–news that Gov. Jay Nixon was releasing almost $6 million in FY15 state aid that had previously been withheld since June, an abrupt resolution to a stalemate that spawned a growing statewide lobbying effort.

Illinois Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act Meets with Opposition


At Illinois’s 99th General Assembly on February 29, State Representative Peter Breen (R-District 48) introduced House Bill 2689, which would create the Internet Screening in Public Libraries Act (ISPLA). The act provides that every public library in the state of Illinois must have a “technology protection measure,” such as filtering software, in place on all public computers “to prevent the display on a public computer of any visual depictions that are obscene, child pornography, or harmful to minors.” The library may disable the technology on request for an adult engaged in legitimate research. ISPLA contains no definition of “legitimate research.”

ALA, ARL Applaud FCC Vote on Net Neutrality

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In a significant victory for supporters of Net Neutrality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today reclassified broadband Internet as a public utility, and established a new Open Internet Order that applies to both fixed and mobile broadband. The new Open Internet Order includes three “bright line” rules, specifically banning broadband providers from blocking access to legal content, applications, and services; impairing access to content, applications, and services; and prioritizing Internet traffic in exchange for “consideration of any kind.”

OITP’s Policy Revolution! Initiative (The Exclamation Point is Important) | ALA Midwinter 2015


On February 1 the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) hosted a session at the ALA Midwinter meeting in Chicago to answer the question, “What is a policy revolution anyway?” The answer: the Policy Revolution! Initiative (PRI)— the exclamation point is important, panelists advised—is a three-year grant-funded program to advance library policy at the national level, led by ALA OITP and the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), with guidance from a Library Advisory Committee.