American Library Association • March 27, 2015

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House proposes to eliminate IMLS and library funding

Institute of Museum and Library Services

The budget resolution released this week by the US House Budget Committee proposes to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the agency that administers federal funding support for more than 123,000 libraries in virtually every community in the nation. American Library Association President Courtney Young on March 25 released a statement in response, saying: “Through grant-making and federal funding, IMLS aids libraries in supporting lifelong learning and equitable access for all. Since its founding, IMLS has provided invaluable leadership and expert oversight to libraries and supported libraries in providing dynamic services to their patrons, such as workforce training, maker spaces, coding classes, and entrepreneurship resources.”...

ALA Office of Government Relations, Mar. 25

Newsmaker: Steve Potash

Steve Potash

Steve Potash (right) founded OverDrive in 1986 and built it into the predominant provider of ebooks, audiobooks, and other digital media for American libraries and schools. So when the company announced March 19 that it would be purchased by the Japanese company Rakuten, librarians had many questions. In a telephone interview, Potash talked about the planned acquisition, the potential benefits for US libraries, and his future with OverDrive....

American Libraries feature; OverDrive Blog, Mar. 19
Academy of American Poets

ACRL 2015 conference attracts record crowd

G. Willow Wilson

The ACRL 2015 conference in Portland, Oregon, opened Wednesday, March 25, with an all-time attendance record of nearly 3,400 attendees. G. Willow Wilson (right), creator of the Ms. Marvel comic series starring a Muslim superhero named Kamala Khan, headlined the opening session. The theme of the 75th anniversary conference was “Creating Sustainable Community,” and with nearly 1,300 first-timers at the event and numerous new sessions and activities, it was also about change and growth....

AL: The Scoop, Mar. 26–27

ACRL 2015 tech wrap-up webinar

ALA TechSource webinar

ALA TechSource will host an upcoming webinar, “ALA TechSource 2015 ACRL Technology Wrap-Up,” at 1 p.m. Eastern time on April 3. An expert panel will provide an overview of the ACRL 2015 conference from a technology perspective, analyze and discuss what they learned, what trends stood out, and what it all means for the future of libraries. Register today for this free event....

ALA TechSource, Mar. 25
ALA Annual Conference

Sarah Lewis to be ALA President’s Program speaker

Sarah Lewis

Art historian, critic, writer, and “cultural powerhouse” Sarah Lewis (right) will be the featured speaker for ALA President Courtney Young’s President’s Program on June 28 at the 2015 ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. Lewis celebrates creativity, focusing on how it can lead us through fear and failure to ultimate success. She has served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, was selected for Oprah’s “Power List,” and is a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University. She is also an active curator, having held positions at both the Tate Modern and The Museum of Modern Art....

ALA Conference Services, Mar. 26

Voting in the 2015 ALA elections is now open

Vote in the ALA election

Voting in the 2015 ALA elections is now open. Between March 24 and March 26, ALA sent emails to voters, providing them with their unique passcodes and information about how to vote online. Voters will receive email reminders throughout the election period—on March 31 and April 16. Voting may be completed in one sitting, or an individual may “park” a ballot and return at a later date. The polls will close at 11:59 p.m. Central time on Friday, May 1....

Office of ALA Governance, Mar. 26

First lawsuits challenge FCC net neutrality rules

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

An industry trade group and a small, Texas-based internet provider are among the first to mount a legal challenge to the federal government’s new net neutrality rules. On March 23, USTelecom—a group that includes some of the nation’s largest internet providers—filed suit in Washington, while Alamo Broadband sued the Federal Communications Commission in New Orleans. The court filings kick-start a legal effort to overturn the FCC’s regulations, passed in February, that aim to keep internet providers from speeding up, slowing down or blocking web traffic....

Washington Post, Feb. 26, Mar. 23

Missouri libraries urge Gov. Nixon to release funds

Columbia (Mo.) Public Library

The Daniel Boone Regional Library system and Centralia Public Library are pushing for Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon to release money he withheld from public libraries for the current fiscal year and did not include in his proposed budget for the next fiscal year that begins June 1. The libraries have launched an online petition drive to pressure the governor to release the funds. The Daniel Boone system, which operates Columbia Public Library and has a budget of just less than $9 million, faces more than $120,000 in decreased revenue budgeted for purchasing books and materials and to cover the cost of internet connections....

Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune, Mar. 23

The state of broadband speeds in the states

Broadband connection speeds in the US

Broadband speeds are expanding nationwide and the conditions seem good for even more growth. All but seven states saw average peak connection speeds grow between the third and fourth quarters of 2014, an indication that internet connection capacity is growing across the country, according to a new State of the Internet report from Akamai Technologies. Delaware held onto its top ranking among the states....

Washington Post, Mar. 25

Curbs on government surveillance

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland

The nation’s top technology firms and a coalition of privacy groups (including ALA) are urging Congress to place curbs on government surveillance in the face of a fast-approaching May 21 deadline for legislative action. In a letter sent March 25 to the Obama administration and senior lawmakers, the coalition vowed to oppose any legislation that, among other things, does not ban the “bulk collection” of Americans’ phone records and other data....

Washington Post, Mar. 24

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