Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

Supreme Court rules in favor of libraries, consumer rights

On March 19, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court supported consumer rights and libraries in the high-profile Kirtsaeng v. Wiley & Sons, Inc. case by ruling that goods lawfully made overseas are protected by the first sale doctrine. The Kirtsaeng case focused on whether Americans and businesses had the right to sell, lend, or give away the things they own that were made overseas.

The case centered on a graduate student, Supap Kirtsaeng, who bought textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons in Thailand and sold them online in the United States. Kirtsaeng was sued by the book publisher, who claimed that the right of first sale did not apply because the books were manufactured overseas. ALA will continue to work with Owners’ Rights Initiative should any legislative action be taken against first sale under the principle that when we buy it, we can lend it.

Library sequestration numbers released

On March 26, 2013, President Barack Obama signed the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013” into law, which will provide $219.8 million to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Overall, library funding has been cut by $12 million, which includes $9.66 million in cuts to the Library Services and Technology Act (the federal sequester will mean a 5 percent cut in the $232 million allocated to IMLS).

Overall, state programs will be cut by $6.4 million, and each state will decide how the reduced budgets will affect the services delivered to the public, it may include the reduction of summer reading programs, database subscriptions, and workforce development programs—including employment skills and job searching, and services to people with disabilities. Future grant program budgets will also be slashed by $3 million, though grants already awarded will not be affected by sequestration.

House passes the Workforce Investment Act

In March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 803, the Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act, which would reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). The ALA Washington Office has been working with members on both sides of the aisle on this legislation and is encouraged that H.R. 803 would help to ensure greater participation of libraries in our nation’s workforce investment system. In particular, H.R. 803 includes provisions that ensure the state workforce investment plan includes a description of the actions that will be taken by the state to foster communication, coordination, and partnerships with nonprofit organizations—including public libraries.

District Dispatch

If you want to know more about what’s going on in Washington from the library perspective, visit District Dispatch, the official blog of the ALA Washington Office. The office was established in 1945 to represent libraries on Capitol Hill, and now consists of the Office of Government Relations (OGR) and the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). OGR is charged with following and influencing legislation, policy, and regulatory issues of importance to the library field and its publics, while OITP advances ALA’s public policy activities.

The District Dispatch blog is available at www.districtdispatch.org/.

Copyright 2013© American Library Association

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