As Government Relations Liaison, I attended National Library Legislative Day (NLLD) in Washington D.C. Once again, I would like to extend my appreciation to ALAO in supporting my travel for this important advocacy event.
On May 2, I attended a series of day long briefings prepared by the American Library Association’s Washington Office. The sessions were held in the ballroom of the Liaison Hotel located on New Jersey Avenue about three blocks from the U.S. Capitol Building. I was part of the Ohio delegation made up of 13 people that included academics, public librarians, businessmen, trustees, and educational lobbyists. Public and school librarians were the overwhelming majority of attendees, with academic librarians being a clear minority with about 20 participating. This year, Missy Lodge from the State Library of Ohio headed the Ohio delegation and did a fine job in coordinating the statewide activities during the two days of the conference.
The briefings including presentations by Ann Ewbank, chair, ALA Committee on Legislation; Keith Michael Fields, executive director, ALA; Julius Jefferson, president, District of Columbia Library Association (DCLA); and former Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ-12). The focus was mostly on broad issues like copyright, broadband access, telecommunications regulation, school libraries, e-books, LC classification changes, and free access to government research (FASTR). As in prior years, much of the legislative focus revolved around continued direct federal funding for libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program (IAL). At this years conference, particular emphasis was given for the confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as the next Librarian of Congress. Summaries of the issues covered at NLLD can be found at the ALA Washington Office website at: http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/nlld . Later in the day, a reception for attendees was held in the Hart Senate Office Building.
May 3 was legislative day proper and was spent entirely on Capitol Hill. During the morning, myself and the rest of the delegation met with staffers for both Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH). In the afternoon, I met with staffers for Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH-6), Jim Jordan (R-OH-4), and Marcia Fudge (D-OH-11). The issues covered in the meetings included LSTA, IAL, e-rate, net neutrality, FASTR, privacy law reform, the Marrakesh Treaty, and the confirmation of Carla Hayden. Beside my efforts, other Ohio advocates got out and reached most of the state’s congressional delegation. As always, a big thanks needs to go out to the staff of the ALA Washington Office in organizing NLLD and in their full-time lobbying mission on behalf of libraries.
Joseph Straw, Government Relations Liaison, Marietta College