Office for Library Advocacy (OLA)
Outreach to School Libraries Facing Budget Cuts
OLA began to see a rise in the requests for assistance from school libraries facing budget cuts and loss of positions in March, as the spring budget season arrived. American Libraries covered the issue in a March 5 post: http://www.americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blog/underfunded–school–libraries–fight–back. The article currently has 1,736 click-throughs. OLA has lead the ALA Crisis team in consultation and response to multiple school library crises with letters from Barbara Stripling and AASL President Gail Dickinson sent to decision-makers in Arlington, VA; Los Angeles, CA; Fayette County, KY and the state of Ohio. OLA and AASL continue to monitor media outlets and social media for news of potential budget cuts, layoffs and position eliminations.
Blue Ribbon Task Force in Miami-Dade County
ALA President Barbara Stripling and PLA President Carolyn Anthony are part of a Blue Ribbon
Task Force created by Mayor Gimenez of Miami-Dade County to study the future of the MiamiDade Public Libraries. In March, the two presidents co-signed a letter of support opposing a $20 million budget reduction and making the case for a larger $50 million budget proposal.
Intellectual Freedom Challenges in Higher Education
OLA is working with OIF and ACRL in responses to Intellectual Freedom challenges in higher education, including a letter to South Carolina legislators protesting that state’s bill that would remove funding from academic institutions supporting gay literature.
Declaration Signings at PLA Conference
OLA worked with the Indianapolis Public Library to hold a Declaration for the Right to Libraries signing on Friday, March 14, in conjunction with the PLA conference. ALA President-Elect Courtney Young was the keynote speaker. Guests included library board members and students.
Libraries Change Lives Webinar
OLA produced a webinar on Strategic Library Partnerships on Monday, March 24, focusing on successful partnerships between library types and local government, business communities, community groups and other entities. Speakers included Tammy Westergard, Deputy Director, Carson City Library (NV); Sue Kowalski, Librarian, Pine Grove Middle School (NY) and Teacher Librarian Leadership Award recipient; and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, Coordinator for Library Sustainability, Mid Hudson Library System (NY). The webinar was filled to capacity.
This was excerpted from EBD # 12.20 2013-2014 Report to Council and Executive Board April 4, 2014 from Keith Michael Fiels Executive Director.