Thursday, December 15, 2016

Statement from ALA's Washington Office (OGR) 12-14-16

Also only sent to the alacoun listserv. *sigh*


From: "Emily Sheketoff" <>
Date: Dec 14, 2016 2:19 PM
Subject: [alacoun] WO Statement
To: "" <>

Dear Councilors:

I wanted to follow up on the message from the Committee on Legislation by providing some background on how we have worked with new Administrations and Congresses in the past, and how this work is always informed by our core values as an Association.

After every federal election, both the Offices of Government Relations and Information Technology Policy in ALA’s Washington Office actively engage in educating new political actors on library issues.  Specifically, we reach out to every newly elected Member of Congress in both the House and Senate, and to every new President’s Administration, to share our white papers, one-pagers and brochures on all the various issues that affect library professionals ability to deliver the best services to their patrons.  Both OGR and OITP will continue to work closely with COL and the OITP Advisory Committee to promote the best in library services.

This practice gives us a valuable early chance to fully explain how a broad range of laws and policies can potentially help or hurt our ability to deliver needed services across the nation.  These issues include the obvious, like LSTA funding and privacy, and more complicated matters such as copyright, surveillance and even aspects of immigration policy. Eight years ago, for example, we worked with both the incoming Congress and Obama Administration on their efforts to implement a Stimulus Program, which led to libraries benefiting directly from the “BTOP Program,” which underwrote library broadband services across the country.  Similarly, in the immediately prior Bush Administration, ALA’s direct engagement with the White House and Congress resulted in First Lady Laura Bush’s championing, and Congress’ creation of a dedicated title supporting  Librarian Education in LSTA.

As it has for over 70 years, the ALA Washington Office will continue to work with all federal decision-makers to maximize libraries’ and librarians’ ability to make the most and best library services possible and accessible to all of our patrons, and to keep libraries at the core of their communities.  These actions are always aligned with our core values of access, confidentiality/privacy, diversity, education and lifelong learning, intellectual freedom,  social responsibility,  professionalism, and service, and in concert with ALA’s  policies in these areas. Much of our work  with federal programs, including LSTA and the E-Rate, directly supports the ability of thousands of libraries to provide equity of access and inclusion for all.

Emily Sheketoff

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