Washington Office Update, Part Two

January 21, 2010

The ALA Washington Office is asking librarians and library supporters to urge the Obama Administration and the Senate to support jobs for libraries as part of the Jobs for Main Street Act. According to Director Emily Sheketoff, $650 million is being requested from this stimulus bill that will fund up to 13,000 jobs nationwide at public libraries.

Sheketoff said the money would be distributed through the Institute of Museum and Library Services and distributed to states by a formula of population needs to assist local library patrons in enhancing their work skills.
"We need to raise our voices and be out front about this," Sheketoff maintained. "We think that one of the reasons we have not been more aggressive with this stimulus is because governors and the mayors feel that ‘they [libraries]  will just more with less.'"
"Even in the toughest economic times, there is money and it’s going somewhere and it should be coming to us," she told those attending the Washingtonton Update during the Midwinter Meeting. "We are serving the community and they will be there for us if we ask them. ALA is successful as it is because we are famous for our grassroots. You've got to get up and shake things up including by getting the community involved."
There is also a push for the upcoming Library Advocacy Day Rally that will take place June 29 during the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., described by Sheketoff as an opportunity to celebrate library services that we deliver to the public."
The event replaces the annual Library Legislative Day for one year only. Legislative Day  will resume in May 2011."
After the rally,  participants, armed with a packed of materials from the Washington Office, will be asked to visit their members of Congress . "Instead of the hundreds of people we have at Legislative Day, we’re hoping for thousands of people to really show the strong support that library services have and the strong commitment that we, as librarians, have to those library services.
For more information, visit www.ala.org/washoff.


Al Gore at ALA Midwinter 2010, part 1

Al Gore presents the Arthur Curley Memorial Lecture, discussing his book Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston January 16, 2010. Part 1 of 9. More ALA videos at alfocus.ala.org.