ULA writes letter of support for increased federal funding for LSTA “Grants to States” program

Last Friday, November 9, ULA President Rebekah Cummings wrote the following letter of support for increasing funding to $1 per capita for LSTA.

Dear Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA),

I write today on behalf of the Utah Library Association (ULA) in support of increasing funding to $1 per capita for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States program. IMLS/LSTA programs have had a tremendous impact on Utah residents through funding programs that support early digital literacy (WeeLearn), expanded book delivery for at-risk children (Community Collections and Connections), and leadership and technology training for Utah librarians (ILEAD USA). LSTA funding strengthens Utah libraries and communities by providing critical services and resources. Therefore, the Utah Library Association supports the following resolution:

RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT INCREASED FEDERAL FUNDING FOR LIBRARIES

WHEREAS, the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) have started a “One Dollar Per Capita” campaign to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States Program; and

WHEREAS, one dollar per capita represents a doubling of current funding for the Grants to States program. The current funding for Grants to States is $164 million. COSLA proposes to increase that funding level to $325 million. Funding for Grants to States has remained essentially flat for more than 20 years despite rising costs to state library agencies and local libraries; and

WHEREAS, Utah libraries have greatly benefited from LSTA funding and an increased federal investment in libraries would support lifelong learning, early literacy, economic growth and workforce development, services to veterans, community sustainability, and many other programs that grow communities and enrich the lives of persons of all ages here in Utah;

BE IT RESOLVED that the Utah Library Association supports COSLA’s “One Dollar Per Capita” campaign to increase funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Grants to States Program and will encourage Utah’s Congressional Delegation to support this investment in the state’s and nation’s libraries.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings

Utah Library Association, President

Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) votes unanimously to reinstate Ebsco for K-12 Utah Schools

In late September, the Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) shut off access to the Ebsco databases for K-12 Utah students after receiving and investigating complaints about inappropriate content in the Ebsco database. On October 1, the UETN Board voted 6-1 to retain the ban on Ebsco pending further investigation.

Over the past three weeks, ULA has partnered with UELMA, EveryLibrary, UEA, and ALA to advocate that UEN restore access to Ebsco. ULA and EveryLibrary created an online petition that generated nearly 7,000 emails to members of the UETN Board, and an additional push through ALA Engage this week generated 550 more emails. Peter Bromberg, ULA Advocacy Chair and Elaine Shelburne, a UELMA representative and librarian at Bonneville High School, were interviewed on KRCL 90.9 Radioactive Wednesday night encouraging Utah residents to attend the UETN Board meeting today where the Board would vote on whether to restore access to Ebsco.

This morning, the UETN Board voted unanimously to immediately restore access to Ebsco for K-12 students. Several library representatives from ULA and UELMA made public comment and State Librarian Colleen Eggett spoke in support of restoring access to Ebsco. The motion to restore Ebsco was passed with the caveat that should UEN receive future complaints, UEN staff will immediately verify the legitimacy of the complaint and work with Ebsco to block the offending item. If the verified offending content can’t be blocked, UEN will again shut down access to the whole database. To mitigate the risk of Utah students again losing access to Ebsco, ULA will follow up with UEN to make sure they are aware of the granular administrative control that can be exercised over Ebsco content.

The Utah Library Association wishes to thank our membership for their support of Utah students and intellectual freedom. Your actions through signing petitions, commenting on UEN’s website, and making public comment at the UETN board meeting helped raise awareness and garner support for a critical information resource that keeps Utah students informed and academically competitive. We also want to thank EveryLibrary, UELMA, UEA, and ALA for partnering with us to restore Ebsco. Lastly, thank you to the UETN Board for making sure Utah students have continued access to high-quality, safe, and scholarly resources.

Sincerely,

Rebekah Cummings, Utah Library Association, President

Peter Bromberg, Utah Library Association, Advocacy Chair

 

Utah Library Association (ULA) Supports Passage of Question #1 to Fund School Libraries and Public Education

The Board of the Utah Library Association voted on September 21st to join Our Schools Now, the Utah Education Association (UAE), and the Utah PTA in urging members and supporters to vote “For” on Question #1, which will be on the ballot in November’s election.

Should Question #1 pass, the Legislature has agreed to enact the Teacher and Student Success Act which levies a 10 cent tax on motor fuels that would raise over $100 million dollars for education. School librarians are specifically named in the proposal, and school library programs would directly benefit from this new funding. This is a unique, important, and high-impact way to address deficiencies in education funding in Utah, and improve student achievement through better school library programs across the state.

As the largest library organization in the state, ULA is dedicated to fostering academic and economic success for all Utahns by providing leadership and direction in developing and improving library and information services across the state. The ULA Board’s vote to support Question #1 reflects the organization’s deep commitment to the value of school libraries and the recognition that numerous studies have shown that School Library Media Specialists play a key role in the academic success of Utah students. See: www.lrs.org/data-tools/school-libraries/

The ULA Board believes that their vote of support will send a clear message to legislators, partners, and voters that full funding for education, school libraries, and school media specialists is the best way to support the success of our children and foster a strong economic future for all Utahns. We are encouraging our members and librarians across the state to take the Pledge to Vote for Question #1 at http://www.saveschoollibrarians.org/votefor1.

For more information see: