Reauthorize the Museum and Library Services Act of 2017
The Museum and Library Services Act (S. 2271) is bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). It was introduced by Sen. Reed (D-RI) and a bipartisan group of four other senators and is expected to be introduced in the House soon. LSTA is the only federal program that exclusively provides funding for libraries, providing more than $189 million through the LSTA Grants to States program. Since S. 2271 was introduced, 14 additional cosponsors have been added and more are necessary for the legislation to be reauthorized. Ask your senators to cosponsor S. 2271.
Strengthen the Federal Depository Library Program
The Federal Depository Library Program Modernization Act of 2018 (H.R. 5305), led by Rep. Harper (R-MS) and a bipartisan group of seven other representatives, would update the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) to improve public access to government information. The FDLP Modernization Act would provide greater flexibility, streamline program requirements, and allow more libraries to participate, making the program's services more widely available to the public. In addition, the bill would improve public access to electronic government information and strengthen the preservation of government information. ALA ask your representatives to cosponsor H.R. 5305.
Bringing Broadband to Tribal Lands
Access to high-speed broadband is vital to our nation's economic well-being, and libraries are taking a leading role in providing it. For many underserved communities—particularly in rural areas—libraries provide the only access to broadband. In response, we are working with Sen. Heinrich (D-NM) and Sen. Heller (R-Nev.), and Rep. Luján (D-NM) and Rep. Mullin (R-OK) to advocate for legislation (S. 2205 and H.R. 5661) that would increase broadband access for tribal libraries by increasing their access to the FCC’s Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries, or E-rate. Ask your representatives to cosponsor H.R. 5661 and your senators to cosponsor S. 2205.
Support Federal Library Funding
Despite hard-won gains in the FY 2018 budget, more than $216 million in federal library funding for libraries remains in jeopardy for FY 2019, including funding dedicated for LSTA and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program. Earlier this year, the administration renewed its call to eliminate all direct library funding. In addition to a campaign around the Dear Appropriator letters, the Washington Office continues to meet with members of Congress, work with coalition partners, and organize grassroots efforts to raise support for this funding. ALA members must continue building long-term relationships with elected officials to ensure they recognize the value of federal library funding in their communities.
Pass the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act
The Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act (S.2559), led by Sen. Grassley and six bipartisan cosponsors, is based on an international treaty signed at a diplomatic conference in Marrakesh in 2013. The new law will allow countries that are party to the treaty to share accessible copies of works across borders. It is expected to go to the Senate floor any day now, with no opposition. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled is the first copyright exception approved by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Ask your senators to support the S. 2559.
Restoring Net Neutrality
On June 11, 2018 the repeal of the FCC’s net neutrality rules went into effect. The good news is, consumers are unlikely to see changes to the internet service they buy today. The bad news is, there’s now no "cop on the beat" and no enforceable protections that are essential to ensuring open and nondiscriminatory access to online information. The repeal follows a December vote by the FCC to gut the net neutrality protections that limit the power of Internet Service Providers to slow websites, block mobile apps, or in any way control the information we access. Modern libraries rely on the free and open internet to collect, create and disseminate essential online information and services to the public. ALA members can help share this message with legislators by inviting senators and representatives to tour library spaces, particularly during the upcoming August recess. Elected officials need to see how broadband access changes lives in their communities.