Staff members from the American Library Association Washington Office discussed the latest on legislation, policy and regulatory issues on Saturday, June 23, 2012, during the “Washington Update” session at the 2012 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in Anaheim, Calif.
Washington Office staff from both the Office of Government Relations and the Office for Information Technology Policy discussed e-books, cybersecurity, federal library funding, Open Access, Workforce Investment Act and E-rate.
Jeff Kratz, ALA assistant director of the Office of Government Relations, kicked off the session by discussing federal funding for libraries, as well as federal spending in the 2012 fiscal year.
Grassroots Coordinator Ted Wegner discussed the text-messaging advocacy service Mobile Commons, a new interactive mobile tool that allows library advocates to instantly connect to their representatives via email. The service generates 2-3 messages per month and can be subscribed to by texting LIBRARY to 877877.
The event included several guest speakers from external organizations, including Patrice McDermott, executive director of Openthegovernment.org, and Rainey Reitman, activism director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Both McDermott and Reitman taught audience members how social networking tools are being used to garner grassroots support and why Americans need more openness in government on critical security issues. The speakers discussed bills like H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
Jordan Usdan, deputy director of Public and Private Initiatives, Federal Communications Commission also spoke during the session about Connect2Compete, a new a national outreach campaign that will help Americans develop digital skills and find new opportunities.
“We see libraries as a critical piece in solving the connectivity issue,” said Usdan.
The Washington Office hosted several advocacy breakout sessions for library supporters immediately following the “Washington Update” session. The sessions covered topics such as cutting edge technology services, grassroots advocacy, e-government grants and copyright challenges.
View photos from Washington Office sessions below:
Press Officer, American Library Association, Washington Office