Washington Hotline

Corey Williams

Happy New Year and 113th Congress

Happy New Year! It is now 2013, and the newly minted 113th Congress has been ushered in. As this column is “put to bed” nearly a month in advance, we do not yet know which members of Congress were appointed to key leadership positions on Congressional committees and subcommittees. However, tracking of committee appointments of individual congressional members may be done at the following Web sites: for the U.S. Senate, visit www.senate.gov/general/committee_assignments/assignments.htm and for the U.S. House of Representatives, see www.house.gov/committees/.

Connecting with the New Congress

The Washington Office held a Webinar November 19, 2012, titled Election Update and Connecting with the New Congress. The one-hour session recapped the election results and what they mean for libraries. Advocacy consultant Stephanie Vance led the Webinar and previewed the makeup of the new Congress.

Vance outlined a list of issues with library implications that may come up in the 113th Congress. The list included the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Workforce Investment Act, and Cybersecurity and Copyright legislation, among others.

Vance also gave library supporters tips on communicating with new legislators and suggestions on how to start the conversation. On the District Dispatch blog (www.district-dispatch.org) you can find archived video of the Webinar, along with Vance’s “Legislator Intel Worksheet” and her “Yearly Advocacy Planning Worksheet” free for download. Simply type the word “Webinar” into the search box to find this Webinar and many others from the Washington Office.

E-book toolkit

E-book library lending, particularly around major publishers that refuse to offer their titles by selling or leasing to libraries, have dramatically raised prices or have introduced new restrictions. To assist libraries in informing the public about e-book lending practices, ALA recently released the “ALA E-book Media & Communications Toolkit,” a set of materials that will support librarians in taking action in their communities, available at www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/ebooktoolkit.

The toolkit, developed by the ALA’s Digital Content and Libraries Working Group, comprised of librarians from all types of libraries, includes op-ed and press release templates, ALA talking points and answers to frequently asked questions about e-books (an invaluable resource), and helpful e-book data.

Looking ahead

If only we had a crystal ball and we could look into the future to know whether we “fell” off the financial fiscal cliff and invoked sequestration (see the December 2012 Washington Hotline for additional information). In addition, perhaps the new year will bring about library-patron favorable e-book lending practices.

Copyright 2013© American Library Association

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