Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

Library services impacted by government shutdown

It actually happened: In October, the U.S. federal government shut down after Congress failed to compromise on a continuing resolution to fund the government. The shutdown had noticeable impact on library services across the country: the Institute of Museum and Library Services closed and was unable to disperse grants and funds to libraries as part of the Library Services and Technology Act. Additionally, the Government Printing Office and U.S. Census Web sites and collection surveys were unavailable until the government reopened. Finally, the Library of Congress was closed to the public and researchers for the duration of the shutdown. As of this writing, the shutdown is ongoing—ALA will continue to monitor federal budget developments.

ALA leads libraries on e-rate reform

This summer, President Obama announced the ConnectED initiative, which aims to connect America’s students to high-capacity broadband and high-speed wireless. In September, ALA asked the FCC to accelerate deployment of the high-capacity broadband needed to serve students and learners of all ages through our nation’s libraries and schools. ALA calls for new e-rate funding to jumpstart and sustain high-capacity broadband connections that support digital learning and economic development through libraries and schools. ALA leadership discussed e-rate in October at the Schools, Libraries and Health Broadband Coalition meeting in Washington, D.C.

ALA submits comments to the FCC opposing the e-reader accessibility exemption

ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy submitted comments to the FCC in response to a petition from the E-reader Coalition Petition of Class Waiver of Commission’s rules for Access to Advanced Communications and Services (ACS) for People with Disabilities.

The E-reader Coalition—Amazon, Sony, and Kobo—assert that their e-readers were manufactured for the sole purpose of reading text, therefore they should not be required to comply with FCC regulations that e-readers be accessible. The E-reader Coalition suggests that e-readers are a different class of product. ALA argues that the E-reader Coalition exemption would be discriminatory.

Owners rights’ initiative

ALA continues to be an active member of the Owners Rights’ Initiative (ORI). ORI is a coalition of businesses and organizations that formed to protect ownership rights and the first sale doctrine in response to the Kirtsaeng v. Wiley case. Even with Supreme Court Kirtsaeng victory, ORI continues to make Hill visits to ensure that first sale, which enables libraries to lend, is protected in any reform to the Copyright Act. The House Judiciary Committee is currently holding hearings on copyright reform in what is expected to be a multiyear effort.

OGR welcomes the new public printer of the United States

Jessica McGilvray was glad to represent the Office of Government Relations at the swearing in ceremony of Davita Vance-Cooks on August 21. Vance-Cooks is the 27th Public Printer of the United States Government Printing Office (GPO) and the first woman to serve in this position. She was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on August 2 and was sworn in later that month. ALA looks forward to working with the GPO and the Public Printer in the coming years.

Copyright 2013© American Library Association

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