Magazine article American Libraries

Hope, Power, Action: Despite Funding Victories, Advocacy Challenges Remain

Magazine article American Libraries

Hope, Power, Action: Despite Funding Victories, Advocacy Challenges Remain

Article excerpt

The American Library Association (ALA) has always viewed advocating for libraries--both in the national legislative and legal arenas--as fundamental to our ability to serve our communities and to extend equity of access to information. We are now facing political challenges on numerous fronts: to the core policy and funding priorities that define our work and in areas such as research and education funding, social justice, and civil rights.

The current and prospectively annual battles over funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and Innovative Approaches to Literacy have dominated our advocacy work. We have sustained and even expanded funding for IMLS in FY2018, but we are already pushing for support for FY2019 appropriations.

At the same time, other important aspects of our policy agenda demand attention. These include:

* internet development and telecommunications policy, such as E-Rate and net neutrality

* civil liberties and intellectual freedom, especially in the face of heightened national security provisions

* copyright and intellectual property, defending fair use, supporting the Marrakesh Treaty (which allows for making documents and books accessible for people with print disabilities), and preserving the Copyright Office in the Library of Congress

* government information, including revisions to the Federal Depository Library Program

ALA and its members also care deeply about a wide range of social and economic issues, such as immigration, gun violence, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, voting rights, women's rights, LGBT rights, and economic equity. In these cases, we often rely on coalitions with other national organizations that take the advocacy lead in these critical policy areas.

In addition, we find many of the policy priorities have strong ties to state and local developments, thus emphasizing how critical it will be for ALA to work effectively through its chapters and its members. …

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