Posted on 03 August 2009.
There’s good news and bad news for American libraries. First, the good news: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) set aside $7.2 billion to expand broadband connectivity in libraries, schools, and other “anchor institutions” across the country. This funding couldn’t have come at a better time. In most communities, struggling public libraries are the only source of free internet access—and according to one study, 69% of all Americans have used the internet in the past year to look for a job, sell personal items, improve their skills, or find other ways to cope with the recession. In this economy, the internet is more of a necessity than a luxury.
Unfortunately, the government released its first Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) last month to establish how the ARRA’s $7.2 billion in broadband funding will be distributed. That’s where the bad news comes in. According to a letter from the ALA to the assistant secretary of commerce, the NOFA “in effect de-prioritizes libraries and discourages them from applying for funding.” Specifically, the new rules count communities as “unserved” or “underserved” only if 50% to 90% of households lack internet access, a definition that excludes most urban areas from serious funding. This is a major departure from the original intent of the bill, and the ALA has requested changes.
To help libraries and library patrons get the resources they need, please take a moment to write your representative, your senator, and the White House, or leave us a comment explaining how your library’s free internet access helps you. It’s not too late to make your voice heard!
Posted in Libraries
Posted on 22 April 2009.
Tutor.com has been closely following the developments with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) since it was first announced. The amount of information now available about ARRA is overwhelming. To help libraries navigate through the legislation, we hosted a webinar last week featuring Mark Schneiderman, Senior Director of Education Policy for the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Anna Kimsey, Senior Associate at Dutko Worldwide’s education practice, and Ronald Tomalis, former Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education. You can watch it anytime and share it with colleagues by clicking Tutor.com ARRA Webinar.
Our webinar is a great overview of the legislation. If you want to track ARRA closely, we recommend you bookmark ALA’s excellent website – www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus. Here you’ll find everything you need to understand the legislation, how it affects libraries and what you can do to get involved.
School Library Journal just ran an article that highlights what school librarians can do to get a piece of the ARRA pie, but the information and advice really applies to all librarians. Schools are making plans now so if you are interested in a partnership, make sure to reach out as soon as possible.
Posted in Libraries
Posted on 01 April 2009.
You can make a difference. Sharing a message from the folks at ALA regarding how to make sure your local congress person will support $300 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $100 million for the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program for FY 2010.
If you don’t see your congress person on the following list then take action by following the instructions below.
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Vernon Ehlers (R-MI)
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
Rush Holt (D-NJ)
John Lewis (D-GA) (N)
James Oberstar (D-MN) (N)
Mike Ross (D-AR)
Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Henry Waxman (D-CA)
Ike Skelton (D-MO)
Paul Tonko (D-NY) (N) Freshman
Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) (N)
Paul Hodes (D-NH) (N)
Leonard Lance (R-NJ) (N) Freshman
Eric Massa (D-NY) (N) Freshman
Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
Lois Capps (D-CA) (N)
Donald Payne (D-NJ) (N)
Chellie Pingree (D-ME) (N) Freshman
Nick Rahall (D-WV) (N)
Urgent Call to Action!
Sign onto Dear Colleague supporting library funding by Congressman Grijalva!
Please contact your Representative and ask him or her to sign the “Dear Colleague” letter being circulated by Congressman Raul Grijalva in support of funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program.
The deadline to sign the letter is Wednesday April 1! LSTA and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries are two of the most important federal programs for libraries today. The letter will not be taken seriously, and it will appear as if Members of Congress do not care about libraries if we don’t have hundreds of signers on the letter. Programs that don’t have a vocal support network are in danger of being cut.
The letter is addressed to the House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriation Subcommittees and requests that the House include $300 million for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $100 million for the Improving Literary Through School Libraries program for FY 2010.
When you contact your Representative, you must ask him or her to call Joseph Mais in order to co-sign the letter at 202.225.2435.
Posted in Libraries