ACTION ALERT: Cuts to the Department of Libraries

Call Your Legislators Today!

Contact Your Legislators Today!


A full picture of the cuts is still emerging, but we know that the State Law Library is now slated for elimination. Additionally, it is clear that the cuts as prescribed will result in a loss of federal funding that is likely to continue beyond the FY 2016 budget cycle. As we fail to meet the matching requirements for federal funds, DOL will likely lose positions (20 out of 26 are funded in part by federal money) and will then be less equipped to meet matching requirements moving forward. The likely effect has been described as a “spiraling” or “cascading” loss of federal support.
The Vermont Library Association is deeply concerned about the magnitude of these cuts and their certain impacts on our libraries and the patrons we serve. We’ve written a press release from the Vermont Library Association sharing our concerns and itemizing many of the services that DOL provides in collaboration with libraries around the state.
Please contact members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees to share your concerns with them:
House Appropriations
Senate Appropriations
You may also share brief and timely requests and concerns with committee chairs and members by contacting the Sergeant at Arms at: (802) 828-2228 or sgtatarms@leg.state.vt.us.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Government Relations Committee Chair Selene Colburn at 802-233-1358. We will continue to update you as the situation develops in the coming days and weeks.
Thanks,
VLA Government Relations Committee

VLA Statement on the Ryan Budget

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Press Contact: Amber Billey, VLA President
Phone: 802-656-8568
Email: abilley@uvm.edu
April 8, 2014
The Vermont Library Association joins American Library Association President Barbara Stripling in rebuking the budget plan by House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI). This budget plan seeks to eliminate federal funding for multiple programs dedicated to the public good that directly benefit Vermont libraries and their patrons.
Ryan’s budget resolution effectively calls for the dissolution of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), a federal agency that administers grants to libraries and museums, including the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) state funding program. In Vermont, LSTA funds represent approximately 25% of the state’s $3.8 million Department of Libraries budget for fiscal year 2014.
President Stripling writes, “Libraries depend on the support they receive from IMLS to help patrons learn new skills, find job opportunities and access reading materials that they otherwise could not afford. More than $180 million has been appropriated to the Institute for Museum and Library Services through September 2014 to help libraries make information and services available to the citizens they serve. In Rep. Ryan’s own state of Wisconsin, more than 65 percent of libraries report that they are the only free access point to Internet in their communities.”
Vermont libraries serve the same critical role in ensuring equitable access to the Internet, books, and other educational materials. In Vermont LSTA funding has allowed libraries to create summer reading programs, offer adapted resources to blind and physically disabled patrons, provide Vermonters with reliable access to online databases, enhance public programs, train librarians, and much more.
The Vermont Library Association commends Vermont’s Congressional delegation for their unanimous support for LSTA. Senator Leahy, Senator Sanders, and Congressman Welch all signed on to “Dear Colleague” letters in support of the program.
Ryan would like to make similar cuts in federal funding to agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Broadcasting Service, and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), a move that would result in the loss of cultural heritage on an epic scale. In Vermont, the NEH has funded $1,118,552 toward identifying and preserving nearly 1,000 historic Vermont newspaper titles through the Vermont Newspaper Project. Most recently NEH funded digitizing over 200,000 pages through the Vermont Digital Newspaper Project.
Vermont Library Association President Amber Billey says, “In a budget that also proposes the elimination of community block grants and the drastic reduction of anti-poverty measures such as food stamps, perhaps it should be no surprise to see such disregard for America’s libraries. Vermont’s most recent libraries statistics indicate widespread use of services – nearly 4 million visits to our facilities, over 20,000 public programs offered, and 4.5 million items such as books circulated. Paul Ryan’s budget would seriously impact our ability to provide these critical services to Vermonters.”
VLA Statement on Rep. Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal That Recommends Elimination of IMLS (PDF, 228 K)

Legislative Breakfast Materials!

The Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations committee has revised materials that libraries can use to host regional legislative breakfasts, as a way of outreaching to your representatives and senators in the Vermont statehouse and apprising them of the contributions libraries make to Vermont and Vermonters. You can find suggested instructions along with a sample invitation, agenda, press release, talking points, FAQ’s and more here:
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Legislative Breakfast Materials!

The Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations committee has revised materials that libraries can use to host regional legislative breakfasts, as a way of outreaching to your representatives and senators in the Vermont statehouse and apprising them of the contributions libraries make to Vermont and Vermonters. You can find suggested instructions along with a sample invitation, agenda, press release, talking points, FAQ’s and more here:

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Talking Points on Vinous Beverages in Libraries

Dear Vermont librarians,

You may be hearing about a couple of bills currently under discussion in the legislature, concerning serving vinous beverages in libraries. The Vt. Library Association’s Government Relations committee is working with the bills’ sponsors, state librarian Martha Reid, and other interested parties to stay on top of discussion about the bills as they evolve, and to advocate for their basic premise: to make it easier and more cost effective for libraries to serve beer and wine at special events.

We’ve prepared a briefing to help any of you who might encounter questions (see below, or access via Google drive here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B66Bw7BuIUTeN0FaeUJDVlBMRFk/edit?usp=sharing). We’ll continue to keep you posted on the bills as discussion evolves. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Selene Colburn
Chair, Vermont Library Association’s Government Relations Committee

H.385 and  S.226 Legislative Brief (2014)

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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Get Librarians into the "Jobs Bill"

URGENT MESSAGE TO LIBRARY ADVOCATES:
Please call both of your U.S. Senators to ask each of them to request that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND),  include the hiring and retaining of librarians in the $18 billion “Jobs Bill” as well.
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URGENT ACTION ALERT: Get Librarians into the “Jobs Bill”

URGENT MESSAGE TO LIBRARY ADVOCATES:

Please call both of your U.S. Senators to ask each of them to request that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND),  include the hiring and retaining of librarians in the $18 billion “Jobs Bill” as well.

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VPR Story on Patriot Act

This morning Vermont Public Radio ran a story on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, including the VLA Board’s resolution in support of Senator Leahy’s original markup of the bill and subsequent changes in the Judiciary Committee.  While the story provided good coverage of the issues, it incorrectly stated that the Board had withdrawn its support for Senator Leahy’s version of the bill.  Earlier today I sent the following message to VPR, and they assure me this will be corrected in later broadcasts and online:

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