National Library Advocacy Day

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The 2014 Wisconsin delegation (left to right): Kurt Kiefer, State Librarian and Assistant State Superintendent, Department of Public Instruction, Divison for Libraries & Technology, Madison; M. T. Boyle, Trustee, Burlington; Michael Slowinski, Library Media Technology Coordinator; Julie Schneider, UW-Madison Ebling Library (WLA Federal Legislative Advocate);  Jennifer Zurawski, Library Media Instructional Technology Specialist, West De Pere School District; Martha Van Pelt, Director, South Central Library System, Madison; Gary Poulsen, Trustee, South Central Library System, Madison; Grant Lynch, Director, Waukesha Public Library.

With support from the Wisconsin Library Association and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction,  eight Wisconsin librarians from all over the state met with members of Congress from May 5–6, 2014, to discuss key library issues during the American Library Association’s 40th annual National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C. Librarians and library supporters from Wisconsin joined several hundred of their colleagues in Washington to advocate for federal funding and supportive legislation on behalf of libraries. It was a full day for the eight attendees that represented public libraries, public library systems, school libraries, academic libraries, library trustees and state library administration in their visits with both state Senators and all eight Representatives.

During the briefings on May 5th, Senator Angus King (I-ME) jump-started the advocacy event by addressing library advocates at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel in Washington, D.C. Additional event speakers included Maine State Librarian Linda Lord; Gabriel Rottman, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union; Shawn Daugherty, assistant director of SPARC; and Peter Jaszi, professor of law at the American University Washington College of Law. After the briefings, ALA's United for Libraries' gave their Public Service Award, the highest honor for legislators who support library issues, to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) for their introduction of the USA Freedom Act.

During legislative meetings on May 6th, the Wisconsin contingency discussed the need to level-fund the Library Services and Technology Act, continue funding for the school library initiative Innovative Approaches to Literacy, reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act, support the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act and recognize the growing importance of high-capacity broadband to Wisconsin libraries and schools by continuing to support the E-Rate program. We met with a number of engaged legislative aides and they seemed very interested in the issues that were impacting libraries.

Additional information may be obtained from the Wisconsin Federal Legislative Advocate:

Julie Schneider
(608) 263-5755