March 14, 2016 Update
Sorry for another email but received surprising news from ALA on Friday: we are 0-15 in terms of NC Senators and Representatives signing appropriation support letters this year!
In other words, NONE of NC’s 15 national legislators have signed as of Friday but we do know that Alma Adams is the only representative to sign the LSTA letter last year and Congressmen Butterfield and Jones signed the IAL letter.
Please make the call for libraries today. We want them flooded with calls of support from communities all across NC.
The Senate letters are due on Thurs. 3/17 and House letters are due on Thurs. 3/24.
Please make three calls for libraries! Two to your U.S. Senators and one to your House of Representative. For Library Directors, this would be a great time to mobilize your Friends groups to make phone calls. The full list of contact information is below along with a potential script.
Here’s ALA’s email:
“I just checked and I don’t show any NC Senators or Reps on either of the letters. Keep in mind that a couple may have added their names today and the leaders haven’t sent me an update list yet today—they tend to send me an updated at the end of the day or first thing in the morning.
If this helps, I know the following signed one/both letters last year and should be favorable towards signing again:
Alma Adams: LSTA (District 12)
GK Butterfield: IAL (District 1)
Walter Jones: IAL (District 3)
Thanks for your work on this!
Kevin L. Maher
Assistant Director, Office of Government Relations
ALA Washington Office
1615 New Hampshire Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
We have until March 17 for the Senate, March 24 for the House to get all of our NC Senators and House of Representative members to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters in support of LSTA and IAL (Innovative Approaches to Literacy).
We are urging all of you (and ask your friends and families as well) to call our two US Senators – Senator Tillis and Senator Burr – and your respective Representative (look this up by your address) to ask that they sign their name to these support letters (Jack Reed for the Senate, Raul Grijalva for the House). See the letters here.
Each call should not last longer than a minute or two and they most likely will not ask you anything other than to thank you for your concern and interest.
I know this will not be very comfortable for many of you but apparently the Appropriations Committee uses these support letters to gauge the initial support of their Senate and House members and so getting our elected officials to sign their name is extremely important!
Just take five minutes to make three calls for libraries and urge your friends and family to do so as well!
March 7, 2016 Update
The final call has come out from ALA to make three phone calls for libraries: Our 2 senators and your respective House of Representative.
Each phone call will most likely take only one to two minutes and we are after QUANTITY of phone calls. The person that answers the phone will most likely not have any questions but rather just thank you for your concern.
Here is a general script I would recommend:
“Hi my name is _____ and I am from _______ (your county/city) and I would like to urge Senator or Representative ____ to sign the “Dear Appropriator” letters for LSTA (Library Services Technology Act) and IAL (Innovative Approaches to Literacy). Senator Jake Reed is the primary sponsor in the Senate and Congressman Raul Grijalva in the House.”
Here is their contact information:
|Member of Congress (Congresspersons preceded by Congressional District)||Phone Contact|
|Senator Richard Burr (R)||(202) 224-3154|
|Senator Thom Tillis (R)||(202) 224-6342|
|1-George “G.K.” Butterfield Jr. (D)||(202) 225-3101|
|2-Renee Ellmers (R)||(202) 225-4531|
|3-Walter Jones Jr. (R)||(202) 225-3415|
|4-David Price (D)||(202) 225-1784|
|5-Virginia Foxx (R)||(202) 225-2071|
|6-Bradley “Mark” Walker (R)||(202) 225-3065|
|7-David Rouzer (R)||(202) 225-2731|
|8-Richard Hudson (R)||(202) 225-3715|
|9-Robert Pittenger (R)||(202) 225-1976|
|10-Patrick McHenry (R)||(202) 225-2576|
|11-Mark Meadows (R)||(202) 225-6401|
|12- Alma Adams (D)||(202) 225-1510|
|13- George Holding (R)||(202) 225-3032|
|Who Represents Me? (click to look up by your address)|
Here’s the form letter to both email and call both of our national senators and your specific congressperson:
As you probably are aware LSTA is up for reauthorization this year and this is one of most important legislative and advocacy issues of the year. We have a time sensitive legislative issue that we need everyone’s help with.
ALA has asked us to reach out to our respective national Senators and House of Representatives to sign off on the preliminary support letter to reauthorize LSTA in Congress.
Although ALA is asking for face-to-face meetings, we are suggesting as a slightly easier alternative, emails and phone calls for now asking our senators and representatives to sign their name to the reauthorization support letters. This needs to take place from February 14-February 29th (Leap Year).
Here is a draft email that you might consider using to send to both of our US Senators (Senator Burr andSenator Tillis) and your specific congressional district House of Representative (go here to identify your representative and contact information). Like last year, this is just the first step in making our national leaders aware of how important libraries are to us. We will need to stay on them as we get closer to the voting cycle over the summer.
“Dear Representative Walker (my congressman),
I am writing to urge you to please add your name to the LSTA Dear Appropriator letter. As you are awareLSTA is the only library specific federal program and provides federal funding to the states for library services.LSTA funding has been used for a wide array of services including “training on résumé development; help on web searches of job banks; workshops on career information; links to essential educational and community services; assistive devices for people with disabilities; family literacy classes; homework help and mentoring programs; information on religions and other cultures; access to government information; a forum for enhanced civic engagement; strategic planning to meet changing needs and demand, etc.” (ALA, 2016).
Despite the stereotypes that libraries are losing their value to society in the Internet driven information age, in reality this could not be further from the truth:
- People are demanding increased free access to quality and vetted digital resourcesnot freely available on the Internet such as books in multiple formats (electronic, audio, large print, etc.), proprietary data bases, online journals and magazines, streaming videos and music, etc.
- Libraries are being used differently not less. While print books and other print resources are indeed less popular today than they were in the past, in their place are a demand for books in multiple formats (print, electronic, audio, large print), increased children and youth services and resources, innovative programming (especially workforce development) across the lifespan, comfortable spaces for reading, studying, and places to hold community meetings.
- Libraries help address the digital divide. The digital divide (some people continue to not have access to technology or Internet at home) is real and continues to grow as more schools move towards 1:1 computer/chromebook/tablet initiatives where students are either not allowed to take their devices home and/or do not have access to the Internet or computing devices to do their school work at home.
- e-books alone are not a good recipe for building literacy in children. These technology enriched public schools also tend to prioritize digital resources at the cost of not funding or underfunding their school libraries and thereby reducing access to quality books to many communities, especially the underserved. Many schools purchase new books through fundraising and many of the underserved school populations cannot afford to support their schools in this fashion and as a result their kids are faced with significantly outdated collections.
- Text messaging and web surfing is not literacy. While over 90% of all Americans have access to a cell or smartphone giving them the ability to text message or surf the web these are not a replacement for literacy. There is an increasing need for children and youth literacy and other educational resources as an essential priority for libraries.
- Underrepresented racial minorities prioritize library servicesat statistically significant higher levels including children and youth services, access to technology, work development services and resources, etc.
- Libraries as Technology and Creation Centers: With 3-D printers, maker spaces, computers, printing, Wi-Fi, devices for check-out, tablets, mobile apps, and enhanced website services, libraries are becoming places that support the diverse technology and educational needs of any community helping address the very real digital divide among community members defined by socioeconomic status.
- Federal Funding helps equalize information and library services, especially for poorer rural communities that are unable to generate as much local funding and support for high quality library resources and services. This especially pertains to technology and resources necessary for innovation and change needed to meet the evolving and unique needs of local communities.
- LSTA funding supports innovation and continued evolution of librariesto meet the changing demands of their communities by supporting needs assessments and data-driven strategic plans aligned with local priorities.
- Imagine a society where all children no longer have access to quality books?Communities without access to even basic technology? Diminished workforce development resources where the unemployed or underemployed have no where to go? The socioeconomic divide is real and libraries are in the front-lines in trying to reduce these gaps and equalize access to high quality information resources and services (now more diverse than ever).
- Here are the LSTA support letters in the U.S. House and Senate:
On a personal note, as a father of three and long-time resident of Greensboro and Guilford County, the availability of high quality library services has been a fundamental core resource to maintaining our quality of life and supporting the emerging intellectual development of our children. Because of our local libraries and the support of LSTA funding, my children have had access to an unlimited amount of high quality children and young adult books, innovative technology like 3D printers, innovative programming, and also volunteer opportunities where they are learning invaluable work ethic and leadership skills. As a direct result, they are flourishing, highly literate, and the kind of independent and creative thinkers we want helping shape our future. Their ability to read has truly opened access to the world to them. Furthermore, it gives me great comfort to know libraries will always be there for them across their lifespan even after I’m gone.
Please consider signing your name in support of reauthorizing funding for LSTA. These funds are an investment into the intellectual and digital competencies of all Americans, which are an extremely wise and high return on investment that significantly contributes to the foundation of a stronger, more literate, and competitive nation. While libraries are less important in the lives of some Americans, the reality is they are, in many ways, more important than ever for most of us.
Dr. Anthony Chow
NCLA Co-chair, Legislative and Advocacy Committee