Issue Summary

KEY LIBRARY LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES: 114th CONGRESS

Key Library Priorities and Facts: 114th Congress, Second Session (PDF)

APPROPRIATIONS Support funding at $186.6 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) in the FY 2017 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill and main­tain level funding of $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program. LSTA helps target library services to people of many geographic, cultural, and socioeconomic back­grounds, to disabled individuals, veterans, businesses, and to people with limited literacy skills. Half of all IAL funds provide school library materials to low-income communities.

COPYRIGHT Immediately move to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty for the print disabled and, in parallel, consider and pass its associated implementing legislation with proposed “report” text without change. The Treaty will afford 4 million print disabled Americans critical new access to copyrighted material worldwide vital to their education, work and quality of life. ALA does not believe that full implementation of the agreement requires any changes to US law, but does not oppose those proposed by the Administration, as written. ALA DOES vigorously oppose any and all changes to the proposed legislation and associated Committee report text that could delay or derail the Treaty’s ratification. ALA also is equally committed to respecting the rights of authors and to assuring that overly restrictive copyright laws do not thwart the Framers’ intent that copyright is meant “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts….”

GOVERNMENT INFORMATION Pass “FASTR,” the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.779/H.R. 1477), rapidly conference the FOIA Improvement and FOIA Oversight and Implementation Acts (S.337/H.R.653) and send the approved Report to the President for signature, take up and pass the Equal Access to Congressional Research Service Reports Act (S.2639/H.R.4702), and assure continued public access to the unique information collections held by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). ALA is strongly committed to: no-fee access to all government-funded information and reports; robust support for all federal libraries and archives; maximum public access to all non-classified government information; and funding a single repos­itory for NTIS’ unique scientific and technical collections.                                 

PRIVACY & SURVEILLANCE Restore the Constitu­tional privacy rights of library users and all Americans lost to overbroad, invasive and insufficiently “checked and balanced” provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, Foreign Intelli­gence Surveillance Act (FISA), and Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). ALA urges immediate passage of the ECPA Amendments and Email Privacy Acts of 2015 (S.356/H.R.699) and reform of Section 702 of FISA. Librarians have long defended against government attempts to obtain patrons’ borrowing and internet use records without a warrant believing that liberty need and must not be sacrificed to security.  

TELECOMMUNICATIONS Support the FCC’s “net neutrality” rules and modernization of the Lifeline program to close the “homework gap,” as well as legislation to ensure that all libraries have access to affordable high-capacity broadbandPreserving an Open Internet is essential to freedom of speech, educational achievement, and our nation’s economic growth. Internet service providers should not be information gatekeepers. ALA urges all Members of Congress to protect Open Internet principles, assuring equitable access to online information, applications and services for all. ALA also supports legislation that creates new opportunities for underserved and rural committees to access the Internet, and efforts to ensure that sufficient and appropriate spectrum continues to be available for public use.

KEY FACTS ABOUT 21st CENTURY LIBRARIES

  • Number of public libraries in the United States in FY 2013? ………………. 17,214
    Of franchised McDonalds? …………………… 14,267
  • Percentage of Americans who said in 2015 that closure of their public library would have a
    “major impact” on their community? ………… 65% Who said “no impact?” ……….. 6%
  • Percentage of Americans (aged 16 and older) who said in 2013 that the information available at public libraries plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed? ……… 95%
    Who said that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community? …… 94%
  • Percentage of American parents who believe that libraries are important for their children? …… 94%
  • Percentage of US public libraries helping people interview and apply for jobs in 2014? ….…. 73%
  • Number of times American students visited a K–12 school library in 2011? …………… 1.3 billion
  • Number of movie tickets sold here in the same year? ……………….. 1.3 billion
  • Percentage in 2013 of K–12 teachers who said information online overwhelms most students….83%
  • Percentage of K–12 school librarians who answered teacher questions about how to use educational technology tools in 2011 ….……. 85%
  • Percentage of American households without high speed internet access in 2013? ….. 27%
  • Percentage of U.S. public libraries with no-fee wireless internet access in 2011?…89% In 2014? …98%
  • National internet connection speed goal for libraries? …. 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mb) per second
  • Percentage of public libraries with a “1 Gig” connection in 2014? ….. 3%
    With a connection speed of 1% (10Mbs) or less of that goal? …. 42%
  • Reference questions answered per week in 2010 by US public and academic librarians? … 6.6 million
  • Miles a single-file line of 6.6 million people would stretch? …..~3,852 (Ocean City, MD to Juneau, AK)
  • Unique requests for information services fulfilled by academic librarians in 2012 …..…. 28.9 million
  • Total capacity of ten biggest U.S. college football stadiums …..…993,228
  • Cents of each dollar spent on higher education received by academic libraries in 2012? …………. 2
  • Estimated number of public libraries offering 3D printer access in 2009? ……… 0 In 2014? …….. 430

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