On behalf of the millions of people who use our nation’s public, school and academic libraries, the American Library Association expresses its deepest appreciation for the distinguished work of Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine).
Upon her retirement from the U.S. Senate, the library community wants to note the tremendous leadership and work she has done, often on a bipartisan basis, to support libraries.
As 2012 draws to a close, the American Library Association (ALA) extends the library community’s heartfelt thanks to Senator Olympia J. Snowe for her strong, long term support for libraries. This year, Sen. Snowe retires after 18 years in the Senate, leaving behind a legacy of unyielding support for libraries and the public interest.
Senator Snowe’s leadership and vision has created and supported E-rate, LSTA and other programs. One of her most momentous contributions was only a tiny paragraph in the pages and pages of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which resulted in the establishment of the E-rate telecommunications program for public libraries and K-12 private and public schools. The E-rate program has brought over $100 million per year to public libraries — and more to the school libraries and classrooms in schools.
Through her collaboration with Senate colleagues (most notably Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia) and her leadership and ability to work across the aisle, Snowe leaves a long-lasting and positive impact in her home state of Maine and in communities across the country. Today, because of Snowe’s efforts, libraries and K-12 schools are able to connect their patrons and students with the vast array of resources available through affordable connectivity to the Internet.
Sen. Snowe has also been a consistent supporter of the Library Services and Technology Act, the only federal program exclusively for libraries. She repeatedly stood up for the net neutrality principles that put public interest before that of business and Internet content.
“Knowing how these programs have benefited the individuals, students and families that use our nation’s libraries, the American Library Association is indebted to Sen. Snowe for her tireless efforts on behalf of libraries and the communities they serve,” said Maureen Sullivan, president of ALA. “From the rural libraries in Maine to libraries in urban centers, to the plains of Kansas, library patrons have access to better library services because of Senator Snowe’s contributions. We are grateful for her important legacy and wish her the very best upon her retirement from the U.S. Senate.”