Public Policy

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Read the latest library policy news on the District Dispatch, written by the American Library Association's Washington Office staff.

Copyright is at the core of almost everything that libraries and librarians do. Library workers purchase over $4 billion in copyrighted materials...

Since 1945, ALA's Washington Office has strived to ensure that libraries are consistently involved in policy decision-making and federal legislative processes of importance to the library field and in the public interest. By fostering education, literacy, research, government benefits distribution, business incubation, job training, civic involvement and more libraries transform learning, local economies and the lives of millions every day.


The Washington Office is charged with following and influencing legislation, policy, and regulatory issues of importance to the library field and its public. The Washington Office, alongside ALA's Committee on Legislation, works to ensure that libraries are consistently involved in the legislative and policy decision-making processes by:  

  1. Informing government of the needs and concerns of the library community;
  2. Providing library supporters with up-to-date information on government actions or proposals;
  3. Building coalitions with Washington-based representatives of other groups with similar concerns; and
  4. Developing grassroots networks to lobby legislators and further library interests.

E-rate & Broadband

Net Neutrality


  • LCA submits comments to the U.S. Copyright Office requesting renewal of 1201 exemptions for the print disabled, video game preservation, and the use of video by educators and researchers.
  • LCA writes a letter to the United States Trade Representative (USTR) calling for the inclusion of copyright exceptions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as well as intermediary safe harbors and a strong international exhaustion exception based on U.S. law.
  • LCA calls for additional copyright limitations in H.R. 3301, the Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society Act (the CLASSICS Act).

Coding and Computational Thinking

Policy Revolution!

3D Printing

  • Releases report offering practical advice about adopting 3D printers in libraries.
  • ALA, Benetech holds program at SXSWedu on 3D printing and educational equity.
  • Comments on Copyright Office’s Section 1201 3D printing rules.
  • Report urging policymakers to include libraries in 3D printing initiatives and policy discussions.