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 S. 3391- The Museum and Library Services Act of 2016 (As of October 13, 2016)


ALAO Folks:

This is a note to urge the membership to write Ohio senators Portman and Brown to co-sponsor Senate bill S.3391 that provides funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). According to the ALA Washington Office these are the provisions of the bill:

 1. S. 3391 is a bi-partisan bill with broad support from the library and museum communities, and in Congress;
 2. S. 3391 requires the use of data driven tools, including research, analysis and modeling, evaluation, and dissemination to assess and assure the impact and effectiveness of funded programs;
 3. S. 3391 highlights the role of libraries as community hubs, equipped to meet ever evolving community needs, including: literacy, education, lifelong learning, workforce development, economic and         development, digital literacy skills critical thinking, financial literacy skills and new and emerging technology; and
 4.  S. 3391 will enhance IMLS' collaborative efforts by expanding the number of federal agencies able to fully leverage the role of libraries and museums in supporting and meeting the needs of Americans.

As of yet Congress has not released an official summary or text of this bill. This is what's available  for S.3391 from congress.gov

I sent out a letter yesterday and I urge all members that can to do the same.

Thank You,
Joseph E. Straw
Government Relations Liaison
Academic Library Association of Ohio (ALAO)


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S. 3391- The Museum and Library Services Act (As of October 13, 2016)


ALAO Board:

Just an advocacy note for board members to write their senators if possible to support the refunding for the Instutute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). This funding bill is part of Senate S. 3391 that was recently introduced by long time library supporter Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. According to ALA these are the provisions of the bill:

 
   1. S. 3391 is a bi-partisan bill with broad support from the library and museum communities, and in Congress;
   2. S. 3391 requires the use of data driven tools, including research, analysis and modeling, evaluation, and dissemination to assess and assure the impact and effectiveness of funded programs;
   3. S. 3391 highlights the role of libraries as community hubs, equipped to meet ever evolving community needs, including: literacy, education, lifelong learning, workforce development, economic and         development, digital literacy skills critical thinking, financial literacy skills and new and emerging technology; and
   4.  S. 3391 will enhance IMLS' collaborative efforts by expanding the number of federal agencies able to fully leverage the role of libraries and museums in supporting and meeting the needs of Americans.

The proposed funding level for the agency is at 200 million which is largely at sequester levels. The bill was introduced on September 22, 2016 and ALA is organizing a co-sposorship campaign to get a vote on the bill when congress resumes the session later in the month. I should be noted that IMLS is the administering agency for Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) programs. I have to rely on the ALA Washington Office for the bill details because congress.gov has yet to release the official text of the bill. This is what is available for S.3391 from the congressional site.


Thank You,

Joe Straw

ALAO Government Relations Liaison


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Confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as Librarian of Congress (As of July 14, 2016)


Board Folks:

Yesterday the Senate confirmed in a vote of 74-18 the nomination of Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden will be the first woman and the first African-American to hold this position. She succeeds Dr. James Billington a Russian scholar who was appointed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan. Unlike Dr. Billington and his immediate predecessors, Hayden is not exclusively a scholar, but a trained librarian that brings management and technology experience to the library. Currently, Dr. Hayden is the head of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore. She has also served as head of the Chicago Public Library and president of the American Library Association (ALA) from 2003-2004. In her management stints, she has successfully brought cutting edge technology to library operations, and has also helped to extend library services into the broader communities that they serve. In recent years, the leadership of the library has come under fire for a host of acquisitions and technology failures that have put LC behind service and operational standards in use in the general library community. It's hoped that Dr. Hayden will update the library's internal systems and those used by the public, as well as set a vision for the library to interact with the broader American public in a digital age. Dr. Hayden's nomination was strongly supported by ALA, and her confirmation was a priority at National Library Legislative Day back in May.

Thank You,
Joe Straw
ALAO Government Relations Liaison


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H.R. 4702, the Equal Access to CRS Research Reports Act of 2016 (As of May 19, 2016)


​​​​​ALAO Members:

The House Appropriations Committee voted against the Equal Access to CRS Reports Act of 2016 . This bill would of directed the Government Printing Office (GPO) to set-up a free public database providing access to Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS) that would be searchable, sortable, and downloadable. The CRS is the research and reference arm of the Library of Congress and provides Congress with detailed non-partisan reports about issues that are being considered by the legislature. These reports, funded by taxpayer money, are often regarded as important sources of record for many of the issues that are before both Congressional chambers. This bill was strongly supported by the American Library Association (ALA) and was aggressively lobbied at National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) during the first week of May. The Appropriations Committee majority argued strongly for privacy, member prerogatives, and the speed of the legislative process in striking down the bill. The privacy arguments are interesting being that bill contained an amendment stating that the legislation would not apply to reports prepared for individual members of Congress at their request. The only reports going into the public database would be the  the CRS reports that are prepared for all members. In talking with the ALA Washington Office, another version of this bill will likely be reintroduced after the November elections.

Thank You,
Joe Straw

Government Relations Liaison


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Federal Funding for Libraries for Fiscal 2017 (as of April 6, 2016)


ALAO Members:

On March 24 the House Budget Committee released a formal resolution stipulating budget requests for the 2017 fiscal year. For the 3rd consecutive year the House is recommending that federal funding for libraries be eliminated. This consists of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the Innovative approaches to Literacy Act (IAL), and the elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services that administers these programs. The House budget resolution marks the beginning of the formal budget process for the 2017 fiscal year. This of course is only a resolution, and these will be adjusted as the budget process goes forth. I would like to thank members that sent out "Dear Appropriator" letters in response to my request on March 14 for LSTA and IAL funding. According to the ALA Washington Office, 529 of 535 members of Congress got one of the 14,000 e-mails and tweets that were sent out in response to this request. From the Ohio delegation, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and House members Joyce Beatty (D-OH-3) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11) sent out letters of support for funding for both LSTA and IAL. I have sent out thank you letters to their offices on behalf of ALAO.  Restoration of funding for these programs will be important marching orders for National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) that will be coming in May. At NLLD, we hope to meeting with these members and others in the Ohio delegation to advocate for federal funding and other issues of importance for libraries around the country.

Thank You,
Joe Straw
Government Relations Liaison


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Library Services & Technology Act Update (As of February 23, 2016)                                                    


ALAO Folks:

As I might of reported before, the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was funded for 2016 at 183 million about 3 million shy of what we advocated for at National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) last year. February is the month that the budget requests and mark-ups begin for the next fiscal year. Their may be another move to defund it again for the coming year. I spoke with some folks at the ALA Washington Office and they seem to feel that LSTA funding might be part of the initial budget proposals. ALA is asking for nearly  pre-sequester funding levels for the program.  The likely figure might be more in the 190 million range by the time NLLD come around this year. It will certainly be another important library for public and academic libraries for this year. I will keep everyone advised as this moves along.

Thank You,
Joe Straw 


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Fair Access to Science and Technology Research act of 2015 (as of February 23, 2016)



ALAO Folks:

I reported in the summer on the voice vote passage of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act (FASTR) in the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs. This bill S. 779 has yet to go up for a vote in front of the full Senate. It was passed with a substitution amendment status which is still being worked out. As I have reported in the past, FASTR creates an open access architecture for STEM information in the United States . It's an important step for citizens from having to pay twice for information that their tax dollars fund. a status of the bill from Thoma can be found at this link S. 779 .


Thank You,

Joe Straw


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Fair Access to Science and Technology Research act of 2015 (as of August 3, 2015)


ALAO Folks:

The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs passed by voice vote the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) last Wednesday. This bill S.779 will be going up for a vote in front of the full Senate sometime in September. This act greatly expands the open access architecture for STEM information in the United States. It's a major step forward for businessman, scientists, inventors and private citizens to access and benefit from cutting edge research. This bill creates a clear machinery to prevent citizens from having to pay twice for information that their tax dollars fund. FASTR has long been on the radar and is strongly supported by the science, academic, and library communities. Please review and read the ALA statement on the bill . Thanks to the board members that wrote letters of support while the bill was in committee. I will advise when the the vote in the full Senate gets closer.

Thank You,
Joe Straw


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Fair Access to Science and Technology Research act of 2015 (as of July 24, 2015)


ALAO Folks:

Just a follow-up to Allison's note to urge the membership to write Senator Portman to support the passage of the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research act. Senator Portman is a member of the Homeland Security and Government affairs committee that will be considering and voting on the bill on July 29.  Please review the summary and text of Senate bill S.779.  Allison's note links to an ALA form letter. If anyone is interested I used a shorter letter in writing all of the committee members last week:


I'm writing to express support for S.779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) of 2015 which creates free public access to articles and reports generated by federal research.

This bill is a great step in providing broad digital access to taxpayer funded scientific research. FASTR vastly expands the nations open access infrastructure creating the conditions for an even and fair distribution system for the results of federally funded STEM research. Free and wide access to science information can only speed the pace that important innovations can be implemented. FASTR protects citizens from having to pay for research funded by their own tax dollars, and ensures a fair return on the huge investments being made in technical research.

Given these reasons, I strongly urge your support in passing this bill.



Please feel free to consider this as a template if your planning to respond.


Thank You,
Joe Straw
Government Relations Liaison 


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Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (as of July 24, 2015)


ALAO Board:

Allison beat me to the punch in sending out a note to the membership about the committee action in the Senate to be taken on the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act or FASTR bill on July 29. I have been following the progress of this bill closely this summer. As you know this bill sets up an open access system for scientific articles that report on the results of federal scientific research. Please review and read the summary of S.779. It's current form dates from the 113th Congress and is only now coming up for a vote. I sent out some letters after a call for expanded co-sponsorship by ALA earlier in the summer. In the middle of July I sent out letters to all  the members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee urging passage of the bill. This is the letter I sent out:


I'm writing to express support for S.779, the Fair Access to Science and Technology Act (FASTR) of 2015 which creates free public access to articles and reports generated by federal research.

This bill is a great step in providing broad digital access to taxpayer funded scientific research. FASTR vastly expands the nations open access infrastructure creating the conditions for an even and fair distribution system for the results of federally funded STEM research. Free and wide access to science information can only speed the pace that important innovations can be implemented. FASTR protects citizens from having to pay for research funded by their own tax dollars, and ensures a fair return on the huge investments being made in technical research.

Given these reasons, I strongly urge your support in passing this bill.


If you wish, please feel free to use this shorter letter as an alternative to the ALA form letter linked from Allison's message.

Thank You,
Joe Straw


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Electronic Communications Act Reform (as of May 19, 2015)


ALAO Members:


This spring the ECPA Amendments Act was introduced in the Senate (S. 356) and the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 699) in the House that reform the Electronic Communications Protection Act of 1986. These bills would impose a "warrant for content" requirement for authorities to compel access to emails, documents, photos, texts, and other files that make up the digital imprint of Americans. These would be protected from the creation of digital records and through their life in the communication and storage cycle.


Thank You,

Joe Straw


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Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015 (as of May 18, 2015)


ALAO Members:


Once again two identical bills have been introduced in the House (H.R. 1477) and Senate (S. 779) that support open access to taxpayer-funded research. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Act or FASTR  sets up a National Institutes of Health information access protocol to federal agencies with a research budget in excess of $100 million. These agencies would be mandated for all funded researchers to provide an electronic copy of papers or manuscripts that have been submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Agencies receiving these manuscripts will be required to set-up digital repositories that permit free access, interoperability, and preservation. These manuscripts would also have to made available freely to the public online six months after the article is published in a peer-reviewed journal. This act would substantially extend the open access infrastructure for research funded through the federal government, and limit the paid wall that hinders access to information that citizens have already paid for with tax dollars. FASTR, in some form, has been in the congressional hopper for a number of years and had been strongly supported by ALA and the academic research community. In my congressional meetings at National Legislative Day, I heard that a broader cosponsor effort may be launched later this summer to fast track the bills into formal committee hearings sometime this summer. I will continue to monitor the progress of the FASTR legislation.


Thank You,

Joe Straw


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Freedom of Information Act Reform (as of May 18, 2015)


ALAO Members:


This spring two nearly identical bills were introduced in both the House (H.R. 653) and Senate (S. 337) that reform the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These bills would codify a presumption of opennesson the part of government agencies to release records unless there is a compelling harm or legal duty to withhold them. A requirement to release records in a usable electronic form is also part of the reform envisioned in the two bills. These bills would clarify the role of fees for documents and strengthen the oversight role of the Office of Government Services (OGIS). Both bills have strong bipartisan support and were strongly supported by ALA at the recent National Library Legislative Day conference in Washington. These actions may gain momentum this summer and deserve watching over the next few months.


Thank You,

Joe Straw


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Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Funding (as of May 15, 2015)


ALAO Members:


Funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is being requested at 186.6 million for the PY 2016 federal budget. This level is the one that's been requested in the presidents initial budget request earlier this year and is the one that ALA is endorsing. LSTA is the only federal funding program for libraries and is funneled through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in the form of population-based matched grants. Each state determines how to use it's LSTA funding funding usually through the state library. Grants have been used to update technology, establish reading programs, digitization projects, and general community outreach for libraries of all types. Appropriations for LSTA and IMLS are in all proposed budget scenarios and unlike the proposed Ryan budget last year their is no written proposal to eliminate IMLS funding. Still many on the hill are talking about IMLS and LSTA elimination as an option in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Given this potential threat, LSTA funding was a top priority at National Library Legislative Day last week. State delegations were strongly urged to ask for the 186.6 million funding level in all their congressional meetings. Most talk is that funding at the requested or prior sequestered level is very likely this year. I will continue to monitor this as it develops this summer.

Thank You,
Joe Straw

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USA Freedom Act of 2015 (as of May 14, 2015)


ALAO Members


Last night The House of Representatives passed 338-88 HR 2048 (USA Freedom Act of 2015) which substantially reforms the USA Patriot Act particularly the "library provision" or Section 215 which grants sweeping powers to government to collect a variety of information from library patrons without judicial process. This bill was a big priority at National Legislative Day in Washington last week. The passed house version bans the "bulk collection" of records and personal communications and compels agencies to establish judicial process in generating "gag orders" and "National Security Letters" bringing these practices into compliance with the First Amendment. The bill also allows legal challenges to national security requests at any stage in the process. A description of the bill and an article on the House passage can be found in the latest issue of District Dispatch . This bill has been sent to the Senate under a June 1 deadline that will "sunset" the existing Patriot Act into law if the reform is not passed. Time is of the essence in the Senate and ALA is urging it's members and interested parties to contact their Senators to urge the passage "without weakening" of the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that strengthens personal privacy, government transparency, and judicial oversight of government surveillance activities. I have already crafted messages to both Ohio senators and I urge members of the board and the general membership to do the same. A page with a script to craft a phone or e-mail message can be found at this site .

Thank You,
Joseph Straw


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