Contact Congress Feb. 15 – 20 to Support Federal Library Funding

President Obama released his draft FY17 budget today.  The next step is for Congress to take it up.  Congress will spend the spring and summer working on their version, with the ultimate goal to have a final budget passed in fall.  In the President’s budget, proposed funding for the Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) is down by $500,000 over last year, grants to state libraries are down $900,000, and the Innovative Approaches to Literacy grant program (a funding opportunity for school libraries) is level funded at $27 million.  These are all vital programs that support the nation’s libraries.  ALA’s President, Sari Feldman, issued a statement today expressing disappointment.

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YALSA NEEDS YOU – for our Competencies Update Taskforce!

What skills, qualities and competencies do library staff need in order to provide the best services and support to the teens and tweens in our communities?

Volunteer to help YALSA update its “Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” document, with particular emphasis on aligning the document to the principles in the Futures Report, since the document was last updated in 2010!

More information about the document, taskforce charge and more may be found below:

YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: Young Adults Deserve the Best (2010)

Competencies Update Task Force (Charge)

Review the current document called “Young Adults Deserve the Best: Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth” and update the language and content, as needed, to ensure it reflects the mission and core values of teens services as described in The Future of Library Service for and With Teens: A Call to Action. Provide a draft for the Spring Executive meeting, and submit a final report with recommended changes for Board consideration by Annual 2016. Task force size: 5 – 7 virtual members, including the Chair.

Previous Competencies Update drafts:

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_AN15.pdf

http://www.ala.org/yalsa/sites/ala.org.yalsa/files/content/CompetenciesDraft_MW16.pdf

Please email me at candice.yalsa [at] gmail.com if you are interested in serving on this important taskforce!

YALSA Board @ Midwinter – Overview

Happy post-Midwinter!

The YALSA board started off Midwinter on Friday with training session on best practices in association governance. All day Saturday, Board members worked with a consultant from the Whole Mind Strategy Group on organizational planning.

Based on those discussions, several key topics rose to the top as ones most likely to become the focus of the organizational plan. They were: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

The goal is to develop a focused and responsive plan which will help YALSA meet the needs of members and advance teen services in libraries across the country. Based on the outcomes of the organizational planning discussions, the consultant will help the Board draft a new, 3 year plan.

We hope to have that in place by March 1st.

While the planning discussion took up all of the Board’s meeting time on Saturday, there were still other topics that the Board discussed at the business portion of their meeting on Sun. and Mon.

Those topics included:

  • Diversity on YALSA’s Board: the board voted to approved the taskforce’s recommended updates to the nominating committees’ charges and asked the taskforce to submit a formal request to the board for adoption of a diversity definition for YALSA. The board had some questions and feedback regarding the proposed checklist for nominating committees’ use and sent that document back to the taskforce for further work
  • Dues categories & rates: the board voted to table this issue until after organizational planning is complete
  • Updating YALSA’s Competencies for Librarians Serving Youth: the board reviewed the latest draft and had further recommendations for refinement
  • YALSA’s portfolio of guidelines and position papers: the board approved the proposal to have staff work on updating some of these documents in the short-term

Check out the full board agenda and documents online to get the details of what the board talked about. We will also be posting meeting minutes there in the next week or so. You can also read the accompanying blog posts on the YALSAblog that other Board members have been sharing out since we’ve returned from Boston.

If you have question about a particular agenda item or issue or would like more details about it, feel free to e-mail me or any of YALSA’s Board members.

I will also be hosting another virtual town hall via a Twitter chat on Fri. February 5th from noon to 1:00 p.m., Eastern, and I hope you can join in!

Drop in any time during the hour to learn more about organizational planning and board activities and follow along with #yalsachat.

I would love to hear your thoughts about the potential focus areas for the new plan: advocacy, continuing education, cultural competency promotion, leadership development, partner/funder relations, and state level outreach.

Also, feel free to follow Executive Director Beth Yoke (@yalsa_director), myself (@tinylibrarian), and/or other YALSA Board members for tweets about the work of the board!

Sign this Petition to Protect Libraries & Patron Rights

Last week, the Michigan House and Senate passed legislation that is onerous to libraries and sent it to Governor Snyder to sign.  The library community is calling on the governor to do the right thing for libraries, schools, and parks by Vetoing SB 571.  If SB 571 becomes law, library staff could be sent to jail for sharing factual information about elections with their communities. Library boards could be fined thousands of dollars of sending out a newsletter if it shares information about what is on your local ballot. If this bill is signed into law, it will affect every Michigan library campaign 2016 (in 2014 there were at least 51 Michigan libraries on the ballot). This law, if it is not vetoed, would place a gag order on the library staff and boards’ ability to tell the truth about what the plans are to put tax money to work, and what the impact would be on community outcomes if it doesn’t pass.   Continue reading

Thank Your Congresspersons for Supporting Youth & Libraries!

Earlier today the Senate voted to pass a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This bill was approved last week by the House. ESSA is important for our nation’s youth because it includes key wording acknowledging the important role school libraries play in helping students succeed and prepare for 21st century careers. Please take a moment to thank your members of Congress who voted in favor of ESSA, and encourage others to do so as well. YALSA has ready-to-use messages for Tweets, emails and letters to the editor on the wiki, as well as links to the voting record for members of Congress. Thank you for standing up for youth and school libraries!

Round 2: Contact Your Senators by Wed. to Support Youth & Libraries

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new federal education bill, the Every Student Succeeds Act.  This is good news for youth and libraries, but the process isn’t over yet.  The next step is for the Senate to discuss it and vote on it on Wed. Dec. 9th.  We need library staff, advocates, EVERYBODY to contact their Senators by Wed. morning and ask them to vote yes on this bill.

How you can help

  1. Call, email or Tweet your Senators to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures.  To find out who your rep is & what their contact information is, visit this ALA page & type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page
  2. Contact absolutely everyone you know, ask them to do the same thing and share the above link and these sample messages with them:

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Speak Up for Teens & School Libraries by Dec. 2nd!

The final language of the federal education bill (the Every Student Succeeds Act) was released today and school libraries are included in many important ways. But, since the bill is not final until it’s voted on, it’s imperative that library staff and advocates contact their Representative in the House before the House vote happens, most likely on Wed., Dec. 2nd.

How you can help

  1. Call, email or Tweet your Representative to let them know how essential this bill is to our children’s education and futures.  To find out who your rep is & what their contact information is, visit this ALA page & type in your zip code in the box on the right side of the page
  2. Contact absolutely everyone you know, ask them to do the same thing and share the above link and these sample messages with them:

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Take Action for Youth & Libraries!

Congress is poised to act definitively on the federal education bill, ESEA, very soon. This is the first new education bill in 14 years​!​  The last time Congress passed an education bill, school libraries were left out. This resulted in widespread cuts for school libraries, and nearly an entire generation of our youth have suffered from a lack of access to experts and materials they need to succeed in the 21st century workforce. So, at this moment, we are at a very critical juncture, and it’s up to all of us to speak up for youth now!

Congress’s goal is to have a draft bill by Nov. 30th, but it could be out as early as next week. Once the bill is out, Congress will move very quickly, and will most likely vote on a final bill by mid-December. There are two steps that will happen in the next couple of weeks: first the House votes on the bill, and then the Senate.  These next few weeks are a window of opportunity for us and our advocates to help youth through support of school libraries.

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A Message to Share with your Library Supporters

Over the next several weeks, Congress is working on a new federal education bill. Now is the time to activate your library friends and supporters and get them to speak up for school libraries! The last education bill, No Child Left Behind, did not specifically include school libraries, and as a result students suffered because schools closed libraries, cut library budgets, or eliminated staff positions. Right now we have a window of opportunity to right that wrong and help America’s youth. Congress needs to hear from as many people as possible about the importance of school libraries in supporting youth success. Provided below are two ready-to-use messages you can share out with your library supporters. Please do so today!

SAMPLE EMAIL, NEWSLETTER ITEM OR FACEBOOK POST

Studies show that strong school libraries drive student achievement. They help young people succeed in school and prepare for college, careers and life. Congress is currently working on a new education bill that would provide federal funding for the nation’s schools. They need to hear from you that it’s vital to include school libraries in this new bill.  Your calls, emails and Tweets will be the evidence Congress needs to take action for America’s youth and ensure school libraries adequately funded in the ESEA reauthorization.

Here’s how you can ensure that happens:

  1. Go here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home
  2. In the blue bar in the upper half of the page, choose how you want to contact your member of Congress: letter, Tweet, or phone call
  3. Click on the option(s) you want, provide the required contact info, & submit.  The letter and Tweet are pre-written for you, so it’s super easy! (but you do have the option to customize them if you want)
  4. Forward this message to library advocates in your community & encourage them to do take action, too
  5. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

For more information, read this blog post from ALA. Thank you for speaking up for youth and libraries!

SAMPLE TWEET

kids need #SchoolLibraries! ow.ly/Sf4lT -contact Congress 2 ask 4 support 4 school libs via this easy site ow.ly/S0kdw

Thank you,

Beth Yoke

Haven’t Contacted Your Senator Yet? Act now for School Libraries!

Last week we called on library staff and advocates to contact Congress to support school libraries, and many of you responded (yay!)!  So far, there have been 2,971 emails, 446 Tweets and 39 phone calls.  That’s great, but with over 98,000 school libraries and 17,000 public libraries in the U.S. we can do better!  ALA staff are meeting with key Congressional staff later this week to ask for support for school libraries.  Right now we need one final push from library staff and advocates so that when ALA meets with Congressional staff your grassroots support will be the evidence Congress needs to take action for school libraries and ensure they’re adequately funded in the ESEA reauthorization.

Here’s how you can make sure that happens:

  1. Go here: http://cqrcengage.com/ala/home
  2. In the blue bar in the upper half of the page, choose how you want to contact your members of Congress: letter, Tweet, or phone call
  3. Click on the option(s) you want, provide the required contact info, & submit.  The letter and Tweet are pre-written for you, so it’s super easy! (but you do have the option to customize them if you want)
  4. Forward this message to library advocates in your community & encourage them to do take action, too
  5. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

For more information, read this blog post from ALA.

Thank you,

Beth Yoke