Last week, Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) reintroduced H.R. 113, the Workforce Investment through Local Libraries (WILL) Act for the new 113th Congress. This legislation proposes including libraries in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), and is co-sponsored by Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2).
H.R. 113, is the exact same WILL Act bill that was introduced in the 112th Congress in April, 2011. This legislation will amend the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to include library representation on state and local workforce investment boards as well as assure coordination of employment, training, and literacy services carried out by public libraries. Furthermore, H.R. 113 also recognizes public libraries as an allowable “One-Stop” partner and authorizes new demonstration and pilot projects to establish employment resources in public libraries. This will allow library users access to workforce activities and information related to training services and employment opportunities, including but not limited to resume development, job bank web searches, literacy services, and workshops on career information. The goal of the WILL Act is to allow libraries the access to WIA funds to continue to provide job search support in communities all across America.
The ALA Washington Office would like to thank Reps. Holt, Grijalva, and Polis for their continued support of libraries in reintroducing this legislation in this new Congress.
Jeffrey Kratz is the Assistant Director of ALA Washington Office's Office of Government Relations (OGR).
Recently, two “Dear Colleague” letters were sent to the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. One of these letters (pdf), that was sponsored by Representatives Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Rush Holt (D-NJ) and included 45 other signatures from Members of Congress asked for the committee to fund LSTA at $184.7 million in FY 2013. Likewise, another letter (pdf) was sent to the Appropriations Committee with 120 signatures and sponsored by Reps. James McGovern (D-MA), Don Young (R-AK), Holt and Grijalva. This letter asked the committee to appropriate $28.6 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). To view who signed these two letters please click here (pdf).
Just like in the House, there were also two letters asking for library funding that were sent to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee with bi-partisan support. The first letter (pdf), sent by Sens Jack Reed (D-RI) and Olympia Snow (R-ME) with 32 other signatures asked for $184.7 million for LSTA in FY 2013. The second letter (pdf) that was sent by Sens. Reed, Snowe, Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Rodger Wicker (R-MS), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and 35 other Senators asked the committee for $28.6 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). View which senators signed these two letters here (pdf).
Thank you to everyone who helped by calling their senators and representatives and urging them to sign on. If your senator or representative signed any of these four letters, please follow up with their offices and thank them.
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
American Library Association
Ted Wegner is the Grassroots Coordinator for ALA Washington Office's Office of Government Relations (OGR).
Posted in Funding, Public Libraries, School Libraries
Tagged Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow, Don Young, Jack Reed, James McGovern, literacy, LSTA, Olympia Snowe, Raul Grijalva, Rodger Wicker, Rush Holt
Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva encourages library advocates before they meet with congressional lawmakers. Photo by Lauren Ann Donia
On January 17, U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ, 7th), along with Representatives Rush Holt (D-NJ, 12th) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA, 6th) introduced the Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries (SKILLS) Act. The SKILLS Act, numbered H.R. 3776 in the House, is a companion bill of S. 1328 that was introduced in the Senate by Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) back on July 6, 2011.
Both the House and Senate version of the SKILLS Act would amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to do the following:
- Defines an “effective school library program” to be staffed by a state-certified school librarian, have up-to-date materials including technology, teaches digital literacy skills, and finally, has regular collaboration between other education professionals over curriculum.
- Replaces Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with Improving Literacy and College and Career Readiness Through Effective School Library Programs which would award competitive grants to underserved local schools and school districts to develop an effective school library program.
- Allows school librarians access to professional development funds under Title II of ESEA.
H.R. 3776 was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. No further action has been announced for this legislation.
S. 1328 was introduced as an amendment to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee mark-up of the ESEA reauthorization in October 2011. That amendment was unfortunately withdrawn due to lack of support on the committee, and ESEA was reported from the HELP committee without a library provision.
Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.