February 16, 2018

Legislation

Compass Reading: IMLS’s 2018–22 Strategic Plan Sets a New Tone | Editorial

With 2018 under way, the work to ensure key funding at the federal level steps up. On December 21, 2017, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), along with Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), introduced the bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act (MLSA) of 2017. The bill, essentially a reauthorization of the programs administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, reasserts the value of libraries and museums in the cultural fabric and creates an opportunity for political leaders to put a stake in the ground for these vital institutions.

Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 Introduced in Senate

The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017 was introduced in the Senate on December 21 by Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), along with Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The bipartisan bill, S. 2271, reauthorizes the core programs administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): the Museum Services Act and the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA), which provides more than $183 million in funding through the Grants to States program; National Leadership Grants for Libraries; the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program; and Native American Library Services. The agency has been a source of support for public, academic, research, special, and tribal libraries, as well as some 35,000 museums.

Kansas City Public Library Raises Minimum Wage for Employees

As Missouri continues its two-year clash with its two largest cities over minimum wage regulations, Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) director R. Crosby Kemper III has taken matters into his own hands.

ALA Launches Policy Corps

On October 3 the American Library Association (ALA) launched the ALA Policy Corps, an initiative that will bring together a core group of library practitioners from across the field and help them develop a deep expertise in public policy issues.

House Approves IMLS, LSTA, IAL Funding for FY18

When President Donald Trump released his preliminary budget proposal for FY18 in March, revealing major cuts to government spending that would have eliminated support for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the library community took the threat as a call to arms. The dynamic response paid off on September 14, when the full House of Representatives voted to approve a spending package, H.R. 3354, that would preserve federal funding for IMLS at FY17 levels, as well as all funding for its programs under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) Program.

GPO Requests Recommendations to Update Federal Deposit Library Rules

U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) director Davita Vance-Cooks has asked the Depository Library Council (DLC) to recommend changes to Chapter 19 of Title 44 of the U.S. Code, a request that has some members of the government information community concerned and others encouraged. Chapter 19 codifies GPO’s Federal Deposit Library Program (FDLP) into law, guaranteeing that the government will provide its information for free to the general public, and has not been significantly revised since the early 1990s.

OITP’s Report from the Swamp | ALA Annual 2017

Looking beyond the headlines to examine public policy issues that affect the American Library Association (ALA), panelists at the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) session “Report from the Swamp: Policy Developments from Washington” discussed the need for ongoing vigilance—and also promising avenues for advocacy.

Q&A with Kathi Kromer, ALA Washington Office Associate Executive Director

On June 5, Kathi Kromer stepped into the role of associate executive director of the American Library Association (ALA)’s Washington Office, succeeding Emily Sheketoff, who led the Washington Office for more than 17 years and retired on May 15.

Federal Budget Compromise Keeps—and Boosts—IMLS Funding

UPDATE: Trump’s FY18 budget request to Congress, released May 23, proposes to cut nearly all funding for IMLS, NEA, NEH, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among many severe cuts to social service and non-millitary domestic programs. The proposed budget would keep ten percent of IMLS’s budget for costs necessary to shut down the agency.

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.