Congress continues work toward strengthening Title 44

Government Publishing Office Headquarters BuildingThe Congressional Committee on House Administration continues its look at Title 44 of the U.S. Code with another hearing that took place on October 11. The discussion built on the committee’s previous hearings, which examined the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) and the Government Publishing Office (GPO).

Among the witnesses was Robin Dale from the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is the primary (though not only) source of federal funding for America’s libraries. Dale’s testimony discussed the agency’s grantmaking activities and processes.

In previous hearings, GPO proposed that Congress allow GPO to make grants to support the FDLP. ALA’s recommendations support that idea as a way to maintain and improve library services that ensure the public’s long-term access to government information. Understanding how IMLS makes grants may inform the conversation about how to effectively support the FDLP.

The committee has now held four hearings this year to review Title 44 and heard from an array of stakeholders. While there is not yet a draft bill, the committee is expected to begin working on legislation in the coming months.

In the hearing, committee chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) thanked the library community, including ALA, for engaging with the process and contributing their ideas. ALA appreciates the committee’s significant efforts to explore these important issues. We look forward to reviewing the expected legislation and continuing to advocate for reforms that strengthen libraries and public access to information.

To that end, on October 13 ALA submitted written testimony to the committee, which was joined by the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Special Libraries Association (SLA). The testimony, which reflects ALA’s previous recommendations, will be included in the official hearing record. In the testimony, ALA, COSLA and SLA call for legislation that will strengthen library partnerships, ensure the long-term preservation of government information, and improve the collection and distribution of digital publications.

ALA welcomes the opportunity to continue collaborating with stakeholders from across the library community as the legislative effort proceeds. FDLP librarians will have the opportunity to learn more about the process at the Depository Library Council meeting on October 16-18. By working together, librarians can advocate for better library services and improved access to information.

About Gavin Baker

Gavin Baker is an assistant director of Government Relations. He advocates for library priorities on government information and transparency issues. Previously, he worked at California Common Cause, the Center for Effective Government / OMB Watch and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition. Gavin earned his M.S. in library and information studies from Florida State University and his B.A. in political science from the University of Florida.

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