House Passes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Stimulus Bill)

The House of Representatives today passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with a final vote of 246-183, with members voting largely along party lines. No Republicans voted for the legislation and seven Democrats opposed it. The Senate is currently debating the bill and is expected to vote tonight before adjourning for the President’s Day recess. President Obama is expected to sign the bill next week.

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Second Plea: call your congressmen

The next 36 to 48 hours is critical to get millions, maybe billions, of dollars for libraries in the stimulus package.  We need every single library supporter to start sending messages and calling congressional offices so that we can keep important library provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  As you all know, libraries are a key source of free Internet access to look for jobs and so much more.  Our libraries provide essential services that stimulate our local economies, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 20009 provides crucial funding for libraries to continue and build upon them.  This week, the Senate and House versions of the economic stimulus package will go to conference to reconcile these pieces of legislation, and your calls and e-mails will help protect this funding.  There are pros and cons of each version of the stimulus, and we need to protect the parts that benefit our communities.


Last week, Senate Amendment 501 could have stripped broadband funding from their version of the bill but your calls and e-mails to your elected officials defeated this amendment and successfully protected this funding.  Now, more than ever, your activism is needed.  Over 1,250 calls went to our elected officials, and now we need even more.


Please call your elected officials and tell them to communicate with the conferees in support of the following parts in both the House and the Senate versions:


  • Restore education construction funds eliminated from the Senate version of the ARRA. The House version of the ARRA would provide $14 billion for K-12 construction and $6 billion for higher education construction and specifically mention libraries as an allowable use of funds.  The K-12 construction funds would create 300,000 jobs.
  • Restore the money cut from the State Stabilization Fund in the Senate bill to $79 billion to and restore the Governors ability to use a portion of the funds at his or her discretion.
  • Maintain $8 billion for ‘Broadband Technology Opportunities Program’ for robust broadband to all of America including “fiber to the libraries for the 21st century.”
  • No less than $200 million that shall be available for competitive grants for expanding public computer center capacity, including community colleges and public libraries.
  • Open access of networks should be upheld and not include provisions allowing intrusive network management techniques. 

Again, the only way our grassroots effort will be successful is with your calls and e-mails.  Your efforts have resulted in a stay of implementation on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and a defeat of the amendment that would have cut broadband funding from the Senate version of the economic stimulus act.  This is our most important ask yet; without your calls, libraries will be left out of this legislation.


Call Your Senators NOW to Save $200 Million For Libraries

IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED – CALL NOW TO SAVE $200 MILLION FOR Amendment to cut libraries out of broadband package in Senate stimulus bill

Take Action!

Calls to ALL Senators are needed IMMEDIATELY to protect $200 million for libraries, community computing centers and related institutions in the original language of the Senate stimulus bill, H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. We have just been advised that Senators Kent Conrad (ND-D) and Lindsey Graham (SC-R) are expected to introduce Senate Amendment 501 which would strip funding for libraries and broadband to put additional funding in FDIC. If introduced, the vote could take place this afternoon.

The message is: keep the $200 million for libraries and broadband in H.R. 1 – defeat amendment 501. Libraries provide information on jobs, employment skills, and all other types of job-seeking information. More people are using libraries during these difficult times and the demand for broadband is greater than ever.

Senator Patrick Leahy –

Senator Bernie Sanders –

ALA Councilor's Report, Tuesday, January 27th

Tuesday is our busiest council day. We began the morning with our second council session which was taken up mostly with discussion of a report on e participation. A detailed survey and report was created encouraging more remote member participation. I expect that most of the report will be adopted and suggestions implemented after associated costs are determined. Another report which was discussed and adopted was Core Competencies of Librarianship.

Following the council meeting the chapter councilors from more than 30 states met to discuss state and ALA issues. Much of the discussion centered around communication between the Chicago Chapter Office and the ALA Washington Office particularly as it pertains to the inclusion of public libraries in the economic stimulus package. General sentiment seemed to be that states did not have much input into what ALA decided to lobby for in regards to public libraries. The discussion will continue.

After the chapter meeting I attended a council forum and spoke up about a resolution to require wireless capability in all conference hotels. I am particularly interested in this issue as I enjoy blogging at conferences. A lot of discussion took place about a resolution to encourage peace in the Middle East in order to preserve library resources from being destroyed in conflict zones.

Following the council forum I went directly to a chapter council reception at the Denver Public Library. The building is beautiful and the view from the seventh floor stunning. Most interesting was a round, hand-crafted table in a pyramid shaped meeting room which was where the G8 leaders met in 1997. We sat in the seats where Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Tony Blair, etc. sat and discussed world issues.

As always you may email me at


Nancy Wilson

ALA Councilor's Report, Monday, January 26th

The lecture I attended yesterday by Muhammad Yunus, banker to the poor, was excellent. He is a small, unassuming man who has done amazing things for poor women in countries where his Grameen Bank gives micro-loans to lift families out of poverty. He had a simple yet revolutionary idea to lend people money to begin small businesses without a time limit on repaying the loan. He now tells stories of illiterate poor people whose children are becoming doctors and businesss people. His talk was one of the most inspirational I have ever attended.
ALA has begun a page that “offers timely and valuable information to support libraries in the creation of arts and humanities programs in their communities.”You can find more information at At this time the focus in on Black History Month programming, and as time goes on ALA plans to post more information.
Children’s book awards were announced this morning. The Newbury Medal goes to The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and the Caldecott Award goes to The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes.
This afternoon I have a committee meeting and expect that council business will heat up this evening when we have our first council forum. I’ll post more tomorow.
Nancy Wilson

Library Construction Projects?

As part of an information gathering exercise for the ALA Washington Office, I need to know if there are any “shovel ready” library construction projects in our state. If your library is planning such a project (renovation or new construction) and you are far enough in the planning that you could start building in the near future, I want to hear from you. I am especially interested in public libraries, but want to hear about other library projects, too.

When the Obama administration begins to look for projects to “put people to work” we want to be able to suggest the idea of library construction.

I need to know:

  • Name of library and contact person/info;
  • Kind of project (new building; addition; renovation, etc.);
  • Estimated cost of project;
  • Expected start date for construction.
  • Even if you have already contracted with an architect or builder, I’d like to know about your plans.

Please contact me immediately so I can compile a list.

Martha Reid
State Librarian
Vermont Department of Libraries
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Tel: (802) 828-3265
Fax: (802) 828-2199

ALA Office of Itellectual Freedom looking for challenged books

"OIF Seeks Reports of Book Challenges in 2008"

With the end of the year approaching, the Office for Intellectual
Freedom will be compiling our yearly list of most frequently challenged
books. We collect information for our challenge database from newspapers
and reports submitted by individuals and, while we know that many
challenges are never reported, we strive to be as comprehensive as
possible in our records. We would greatly appreciate if you could send
us any information on challenges in your library or school from 2008.

3M/NMRT Professional Development Grant for ALA Annual Conference

Deadline: December 15, 2008

Members of ALA’s New Members Round Table (NMRT) can apply to receive a grant, sponsored by 3M Library Systems, which will cover expenses to attend the ALA Annual Conference, July 9-15, 2009, in Chicago, IL.

Want to read about the ALA experiences of last year’s winners? Take a look at the August 2008 issue of Footnotes at You will see how professionally rewarding attending an ALA conference can be.

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Shirley Olofson Memorial Award for ALA Annual Conference

Are you looking for funds to help pay for your trip to  ALA Annual 2009 in Chicago? Apply by December 15, 2008 for the Shirley Olofson Memorial Award and you may receive a $1000 check to help defray the cost of attendance!

Applicants must:
1. Be a member of ALA and NMRT
2. Be active in the library profession
3. Show promise or activity in the area of professional development
4. Have valid financial need
5. Have attended no more than five ALA annual conferences

To apply, please visit:

YALSA's MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens

This award honors a YALSA member for developing an outstanding reading or literature program for young adults. Winners receive $500 and an additional $500 for their libraries. Applications for the MAE Award, along with all of YALSA’s grants and awards, are due to the YALSA office by Dec. 1.The MAE Award for Best Literature Program for Teens is sponsored by the Margaret A. Edwards Trust.
Edwards was a well-known and innovative young adult services librarian at Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, Md., for more than 30 years. Her trust has supported many initiatives from YALSA, including the Alex Awards for adult books with teen appeal and all five rounds of the Excellence in Library Service to Young Adults project.
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