Washington Hotline

Jazzy Wright

Budget figures announced for 2014 fiscal year

In January 2014, President Obama signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the U.S. federal government through September 2014. The legislation partially restores funding to the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA)—the primary source of annual funding for libraries in the federal budget—that were dramatically cut in the 2013 fiscal year under sequestration.

The total amount appropriated for LSTA increased from $175,044,000 to $180,909,000 for fiscal year 2014 (ALA asked for $184.7 million for FY 2014, so the LSTA funding falls short of the organization’s funding goal).

More from the bill:

  • Grants to states programs increased from $150 million to $154 million.
  • National Leadership grants increased from $11,377,000 to $12,200,000.
  • Laura Bush 21st-century Librarian grants remained at $10 million.
  • Native American and Hawaiian Library Services increased from $3,667,000 to $3,861,000.
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy—a competitive grant under the Department of Education that requires that half of the funds go to low-income school libraries—was appropriated at $25 million in FY 2014.

The spending bill included language that supports open access—a win for libraries and public access to federally funded information. Federal agencies under the Department of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Department of Education with research budgets of $100 million or more will be required to provide online access to articles that report on federally funded research. Federal agencies will have no more than 12 months after the articles are published in a peer-reviewed journal to make them publicly accessible.

While we celebrate this milestone in open access, we are also aware that we have not gone far enough. The additional provisions found in the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act would make this effort complete.

Save the date for the 2014 National Freedom of Information Day

Mark your calendars: The 16th annual National Freedom of Information Day conference will be held Friday, March 14, 2014, at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. As part of the conference, ALA will announce the James Madison Award recipient, an award presented to individuals or groups that have championed, protected, and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know. Last year, ALA posthumously awarded activist Aaron Swartz the Madison Award for his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and government information.

ALA joins others in calling for ECPA reform

In December, ALA joined a nationwide day of action calling for reform of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the law that gives the government access to American e-mails and documents in the cloud without a warrant. ECPA allows hundreds of other government agencies—like the IRS, FBI, and DEA, as well as state and local law enforcement agencies—to access stored e-mails, private social media messages, and documents in the cloud. Participating organizations include Americans for Tax Reform, Demand Progress, and TechFreedom.

Copyright 2014© American Library Association

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