Museum and Library Services Act of 2017
The Museum and Library Services Act of 2017, S. 2271, has been introduced by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). The 2017 MLSA reauthorizes the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), showing congressional support for the federal agency. IMLS administers funding through the Library Services Technology Act, the only federal program that exclusively covers funding for libraries, providing more than $183 million through the Grants to States program.
Protecting the Right to Research
H.R.3427, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act, or FASTR, is pending in Congress. The legislation would ensure that scientific research paid for by tax dollars can be freely accessed by taxpayers. Every federal agency that significantly funds research would have to adopt a policy to provide for free, online public access to research articles resulting from that public funding. Access to this research would help all libraries to provide their patrons with access to cutting-edge scientific information.
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 (R-NM) and Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) To advocate for legislation that would increase broadband access for tribal libraries by increasing their access to the FCC’s Schools and Libraries Program, or E-Rate.
Restoring Net Neutrality
The FCC voted to gut the net neutrality protections that limit the power of Internet Service Providers – like Verizon and Comcast – to slow websites, block mobile apps, or in any way control the information we access. Modern libraries rely on the internet to collect, create and disseminate essential online information and services to the public. Strong, enforceable net neutrality rules are critical for libraries to be able to serve their communities.