There was a boatload of library activity in the U.S. Congress last week--during National Library Week. Other updates will be included in a subsequent policy/advocacy update in a week or two.
Right to Read Act of 2023
Sen. Reed and Rep. Grijalva introduced the Right to Read Act of 2023 on Wednesday. This bill would highlight the importance of certified school librarians in schools and increase the authorization for funding beneficial to school libraries. Additionally, the legislation also protects the Constitutional rights of students to access information in school libraries, extend liability protections to teachers and school librarians, and improve federal statistics on school libraries.
Reed release, Grijalva release, and ALA release.
Prison Libraries Act of 2023
On Tuesday, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, II, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Shontel Brown introduced the Prison Libraries Act of 2023. This legislation would establish a new program to provide grants to state prisons to create or develop libraries.
Cleaver/Jackson Lee/Brown release.
More Social Workers (MSWs) in Public Libraries Act
On Friday, the More Social Workers (MSWs) in Libraries Act was introduced by Rep. Sylvia Garcia with Reps. Barbara Lee and Hillary Scholten. It would create a grant program that places social work interns and qualified social workers in public libraries.
Garcia bill H.R. 3006 (text not posted as of May 1 afternoon)
Resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal
Expressing support for the staff of this Nation's public, school, academic, and special libraries and the essential services they provide to our communities, recognizing the need for funding commensurate with the broad scope of social services and community supports provided by libraries, preserving the right of all citizens to freely access information and resources in their communities, supporting a strong union voice for library workers, and defending the civil rights of library staff.
Many Members of Congress went public about libraries and National Library Week, which you can find on PPA's twitter at @LibraryPolicy. Here are a few notables:
Video message from Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (West Virginia)
Video message from Rep. Joe Morelle (New York)
Remarks from the House Floor by Rep. Sylvia Garcia (Texas)
Garcia remarks in the Congressional Record
Finally, ALA PPA held a briefing on Capitol Hill on Friday, on Libraries Build Business: Entrepreneurship and Economic Opportunity. This briefing was held in the Rayburn House Office Building and sponsored by Rep. Thomas Kean Jr. of New Jersey. The panelists were Corianne Rice (National League of Cities); Anna Lucas (U.S. Small Business Administration); Radwa Ali (Roxbury (N.J.) Public Library); Adriana McCleer (Appleton (Wisc.) Public Library). From the event: Photo1, Photo2, Photo3, and Photo4.
Alan S. Inouye, Ph.D.
Senior Director, Public Policy & Government Relations and Interim Associate Executive Director
American Library Association
1615 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20009
Office 202-403-8218 ▪ Mobile 202-276-6738 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow Me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlanSInouye
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