Two months is not a long time to establish a new office, define its place within ALA, prepare for a physical move, set up a local area network, and set out an agenda for the future. Nevertheless, Director of the Office for Information Technology Policy Andrew Magpantay will probably tell you quite cheerfully that he didn't have much choice. With this summer's 67% vote for a dues increase widely interpreted as a vote of confidence in ALA Goal 2000, there are great expectations for the Washington Office. And with the help of Carol Henderson, director of the Washington Office, it looks as if Magpantay will have accomplished these things and more by the end of August. The office plans to be in its new quarters, ready for action, by Labor Day.
American Libraries will have more to report on that move and the renaissance of interest in the Washington Office in upcoming issues. In the meantime, we present an outline of the report Magpantay and Henderson made to several groups, including the ALA Executive Board, at Annual Conference this summer. It lays out the broad goals and objectives of the OITP and defines its relationship to the Washington Office and ALA Goal 2000. What cannot be communicated here, unfortunately, is the impression of energy generated by Magpantay and the slide show he presented. Slight of build, fast-talking, and animated, Magpantay seemingly talks with one hand in his pocket only to discharge the energy centered somewhere inside his head. Remember, this presentation was made just two weeks after he had taken up his post.
Expanding ALA's Washington presence
Henderson and Magpantay began their presentation by placing their new activities in the context of ALA Goal 2000. Central to this blueprint for change is an expansion of the library profession's presence in Washington, with the aim of having ALA associated with advocacy for the public's right to a free and open information society. The Goal 2000 shorthand for this right is "intellectual participation," implying not only access but a role in decisionmaking.
Washington Office and OITP
These two offices constitute ALA's Washington presence. They forward ALA Goal 2000 and they implement ALA's legislative and public policy goals. In their presentation, Henderson and Magpantay said that the mission of the Washington Office is to "follow and influence policy issues, legislation, and regulations of importance to the library field and its publics." They said that the role of the OITP is to "promote development of utilization of electronic access to information as a means of ensuring the public s right to a free and open information society."
OITP and ALA
The OITP is part of the Washington Office; Andrew Magpantay reports to Carol Henderson. The OITP will provide technical assessments and analytical support to the Washington Office's government relations staff and lobbyists, but will not be engaged in any official lobbying activities. It will also be involved in programs and activities to further develop policies in line with ALA Goal 2000.
In addition, the OITP will be working with all ALA units, divisions, and round tables to share information on policy initiatives and gather information on technology developments in the field. It will be looking to these other parts of ALA to help educate and share information with the profession through their programs and publications.
Magpantay collected the responsibilities of the OITP into two major categories:
* Provide policy analysis and development in support of
the Washington Office's legislative efforts with respect to
the National Information Infrastructure (NII) and related
* Act as a public policy advocate for libraries in the area
of information technology
OITP's strategic direction
While admitting that his office was new, and that over time ideas on how the OITP would best serve the Association would evolve, Magpantay was nevertheless able to outline several areas of strategic focus for the office as this process develops:
* Current intellectual property and NII issues
* The evolving use of information technology
* State issues in the areas of information technology and
In addition, he saw the OITP as developing its relationship with the Association and the public by offering:
* Improved communication with members, policy
players, and the media on information technology and
issues of public access
* Research support for ALA policies and positions
Report on staffing changes
The staffing changes brought about by the implementation of Goal 2000 and supported by the dues increase added up to six new positions, plus one and a half on contract, for the Washington Office, and five new positions for the OITP. Recent staffing changes include:
* Andrew Magpantay, Director, OITP,
* Adam M. Eisgrau, Legislative Counsel,
Washington Office, June 20
* Fred W. Weingarten, Senior Policy
Fellow, Washington Office, Sept. 1
Budget increases for operations
For the fiscal year beginning on Sept. 1, Andrew h 1995 (FY1996) the budgets for the two Washington offices will increase by the following:
Washington Office $546,200
This amounts to a total increase in ALA's Washington presence of $817,600. $500,000 of this will come through the Fund for America's Libraries, $147,000 from the dues increase, $170,600 from new budget allocations.
New joint office space
Beginning August 18, 1995, the two offices will be sharing a new location on Pennsylvania Avenue, close to the White House. The new facilities were modified to ALA specifications and include new cabling, new computer equipment, and new office systems. Magpantay is working with ALA staff to establish network links between Washington and ALA Headquarters in Chicago. The new OITP address is: American Library Association, Office for Information Technology Policy, 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC 20005
Expanded services in 1995
Magpantay reported that already the establishment of the OITP and renewed focus on the Washington Office have made a difference, even in a time of national budgetary constraints. Among these are:
* Increased training
* Increased communications
* Increased media coverage of national issues
* Some legislative victories
Additional expansion of services
The two offices are also looking for the following improvements:
* Increased intellectual property capacity
* Increased policy analyses, white papers, field briefings
* Increased communications to members, and the media
* Increased research support for ALA policies and positions
* Increased lobbying capability
* Expansion of ALA's toll-free phone service to include
To be accomplished by Labor Day
* Washington Office move and expansion
* Complete hiring of new staff
* First-stage implementation of a new
computing and telecommunications
* Work with the Library and Information
Technology Association on the NIINET
project (AL, July/August, 1995, p. 622)
* Work with the Fund for America's
Libraries in developing proposals and
projects targeted at the public's full
* Establish relationships and potential
alliances with governments agencies,
public policy groups, and other stakeholders
in the NII
* Launch preparations for ALA
President Betty Turock's spring 1996
Areas of special focus in the upcoming months will be:
* The passage and regulatory implementation of the
1995 Telecommunications Act
* The Exon aftermath: How will this legislation affect
security, privacy, and issues of free speech on the NII?
(See the American Libraries interview with Judith Krug,
* Issuance of the NII Working Group on Intellectual
Property Rights white paper (drafted July, 1994)
* Information Systems Standards for Interoperability and
Access (still emerging for document creation, access, and
interoperability on the NII)
The future of librarianship
Very briefly, Magpantay layed out some of the issues technology has brought before the profession.
* The Virtual Library. The questions are When and How, more than Whether, according to Magpantay. He himself believes the "anytime, anywhere, information-at-your-fingertips" ideal will one day be a reality.
* Preservation of a free and open information society. Technological incompatibilities have to be managed, changing information policy regimes have to be watched, questions of cost (and implications for haves and have nots) have to examined.
* Managing transitions and transformations. Assuming that new models will be realized, how do we manage the transition? How is information delivered? How is it produced? What skills are needed to access the information? Magpantay takes as his second assumption that there still will be needed individuals to acquire, preserve, and provide access to information. But then, that leads to the biggest How question of all: How do librarians adjust to new methods of acquiring and preserving information while continuing to provide access to that information for all?
Thanks to the membership
Henderson and Magpantay ended their presentation by underlining their debt to ALA's membership for voting for the dues increase so enthusiastically. They expressed a keen sense of responsibility to the entire profession and enthusiasm for the work ahead.…