Other Duties as Assigned

Front-line librarians on the constant pressure to do more

Librarians interviews for this story, clockwise from bottom left: Graham Tedesco-Blair, adult services librarian, Newark (N.Y.) Public Library; Fobazi Ettarh, undergraduate success librarian, Rutgers University–Newark in New Jersey; Chera Kowalski, assistant to the chief of staff, Free Library of Philadelphia; Nicole A. Cooke, associate professor and MS/LIS program director, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Tom Rink, instructor, library services, Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; Homa Naficy, chief adult learning officer, Hartford (Conn.) Public Library; Amanda Oliver, MFA student, University of California–Riverside.

Librarians interviewed for this story, clockwise from bottom left: Graham Tedesco-Blair, adult services librarian, Newark (N.Y.) Public Library; Fobazi Ettarh, undergraduate success librarian, Rutgers University–Newark in New Jersey; Chera Kowalski, assistant to the chief of staff, Free Library of Philadelphia; Nicole A. Cooke, associate professor and MS/LIS program director, School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Tom Rink, instructor, library services, Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma; Homa Naficy, chief adult learning officer, Hartford (Conn.) Public Library; Amanda Oliver, MFA student, University of California–Riverside.

Maybe it existed only in our collective imagination—the era when librarians focused solely on providing access to written information, and when their greatest on-the-job challenge consisted of keeping the stacks in order. Whether that halcyon time ever actually took place, it’s definitely not here now. Social worker, EMT, therapist, legal consultant, even bodily defender: These are the roles that many (perhaps most?) librarians feel they’re being asked to assume.

American Libraries asked seven librarians—public, academic, and school; urban and rural—their thoughts about the many directions in which their profession finds itself pulled.

Chera Kowalski

Chera Kowalski

“At the end of the day, somebody is dying.”

Chera Kowalski
Assistant to the Chief of Staff
Free Library of Philadelphia

Chera Kowalski has received national media attention for her administration of the overdose reversal drug Narcan to six patrons of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s McPherson Square branch. Kowalski has since moved out of her role as the branch’s teen/adult librarian and into a position as assistant to the library’s chief of staff.

In the community I was in, administering Narcan was something that needed to happen. My profession went out the door when an overdose was going on. At the end of the day, somebody is dying, and it doesn’t matter what your title is.

I’ve been criticized for this. People ask, “Why do you feel we need to do this? This isn’t in our job description.” I understand those criticisms, and I’m willing to listen to them. It’s something I’ve been very clear about: Learning to administer Narcan was voluntary; I made this choice, and it shouldn’t be forced on anybody.

But as a professional, if you see certain needs, it’s your responsibility to at least connect with people who can meet those needs. You can’t just say, “Sorry, no.” This may not mean having Narcan at your desk. But I think if people are overdosing in your space, you at least need to have a plan in place beyond “call 911.”

It’s interesting to see where the arguments against administering Narcan come from. Some of them are clearly coming from a personal stigma against substance use disorder. An overdose is a medical emergency, just like a heart attack would be, just like an epileptic seizure would be. We can’t deny services based on things that make us personally uncomfortable.

What if you’re concerned you don’t know how to administer Narcan properly? I have said this to a room full of librarians: You’ve been trained to find accurate information on just about anything. That is your role. If you cannot do that, you really need to reevaluate the field you’re in. Now, you might not want to do it, even once you have the correct information about it, and that’s fine. It’s a personal choice at the end of the day. But you can’t hide behind an argument of misinformation.

I think the libraries that are adopting Narcan are being conscientious about the effects on their staff, and that’s why they’re making this training voluntary, because overdoses are upsetting to witness. I’ll admit it: I got burned out. I was working in direct public service, and that can be difficult regardless of the community you’re in.

When people are deciding to go into public librarianship, they really need to think about what that can mean. You have to go into the field knowing what you’re signing up for. I hate to sound condescending. But that’s what being an adult and a professional is.


Tom Rink

Tom Rink

“There are other options to protect your patrons.”

Tom Rink
Instructor, Library Services
Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma

Former police officer Tom Rink speaks to the question: Should librarians be expected to carry firearms on the job?

I was a police officer for 25 years. I got tired of the grind, of always seeing the bad side of things, so I took a career exploration class and decided to get my library degree, which was a truly unexpected result.

Carrying a firearm, for me, is no big deal; I’m retired law enforcement. But we have a “no guns on campus” policy at Northeastern State University, and you have to honor the wishes of your organization.

My main concern is that response times from police departments aren’t always timely. Also, all the bad guys know these are gun-free zones, so it’s a target-rich environment. My opinion is that if there’s someone on campus who has a concealed-carry permit and has the proper training to use that firearm, then they could mitigate an attack by stepping in and halting it with fewer injuries.

However, I understand that this creates an inherent danger for the campus police, because they don’t necessarily know who the bad guys are or who the good guys are. If you know that employees aren’t allowed to carry guns on campus, then you know that anyone with a gun is considered a bad guy.

I do support the Second Amendment. I do believe people have the right to arm themselves. But at the same time, people who get a concealed-carry permit do not receive the extensive amount of training that law enforcement officers receive.

The patrons who come inside your library doors—you’re responsible to a point for their safety. But how far do you take that responsibility? There are other ways that the general public can be protected. Have you heard of ALICE active-shooter response training? ALICE stands for Alert-Lockdown-Inform-Counter-Evacuate. It’s training on how to mitigate the fallout from an active-shooter scenario. We’ve had ALICE training in the library, so we’re aware of the best way for civilians to respond when this type of situation happens. There are other options to protect your patrons besides having a gun and going blasting.


Homa Naficy

Homa Naficy

“It’s all just different pathways to attaining information.”

Homa Naficy
Chief Adult Learning Officer
Hartford (Conn.) Public Library

At the Hartford Public Library, Naficy directs The American Place, a program for immigrants and refugees who seek immigration information, resources for learning English, and help preparing for US citizenship. In 2013, the Obama White House declared her a Champion of Change.

We offer a slew of programs, and they have expanded over the years. We are located next to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Connecticut field office, and we’d have people constantly coming into the library searching for information. We started with English classes and citizenship classes. Then we started expanding into formal citizenship classes, which resulted in demands for support with citizenship applications. That prompted us to go after accreditation, so we could provide legal services.

Our next enhancement came from funding from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. It wanted to fund a program to create a pathway to a career. So we targeted the immigrant population, and we are now offering training in food handling and food safety in institutional kitchens, because those are benefited positions. The trainings are contextualized ESL. We also tell them about their rights in the workforce. We’re providing them with critical information, which is our role as a library.

It’s all just different pathways to attaining information, and that’s our industry. It’s not even a question. That’s what we do; we help people. It’s not about the issue [of immigration]; it’s about our mission, and our mission is to help people meet their informational needs.


Graham Tedesco-Blair

Graham Tedesco-Blair

“You can’t save everybody.”

Graham Tedesco-Blair
Adult Services Librarian
Newark (N.Y.) Public Library

Graham Tedesco-Blair has spoken at the annual Association for Rural and Small Libraries conference on the topic of libraries and rural poverty.

In a lot of rural areas, the work left and never came back. We get a number of library patrons who are homeless or semi-homeless. We have people sleeping under bridges or by the side of the Erie Canal. Thankfully, we don’t have anyone coming to the library to shoot up—there are enough abandoned buildings in town that they don’t need to come to the library to do that—but we have had Narcan training. We figured better safe than sorry.

Yeah, this is what libraries have turned into. You could describe it as mission creep, but I guess I would put it this way: I would love to be one of those 1920s librarians who got to look up poetry or read philosophy all day, but that’s not the world we live in. My father was a social worker and my mom was a special-ed teacher, so I’m very used to working with those who need help. You see a problem, you work to fix it. You don’t ask, “Why is it my job?”

You have to do the job that’s actually there, not the one that exists in your head. I absolutely adore when a kid needs a book because they’re doing a report on dinosaurs, or someone wants to learn about the Civil War because they finally retired, and this is their hobby now. But those aren’t the only patrons who deserve my attention. We’re here to serve the community. And what they need, that’s what we’re going to do.

Burnout and empathy fatigue are definitely a huge problem. You have to not be so hard on yourself. Just admit that you’re not going to solve all the problems. You can’t save everybody, nor is it your responsibility to. If you’re doing your best, if you’re trying hard, it’s okay to leave work at work. At the end of the day, go home, put on your favorite TV show, eat a little bit of chocolate, hug your partner if you have one. If you need to take a vacation, that’s why you have paid time off.


Amanda Oliver. <span class=

Amanda Oliver. Photo: Emma McAlary

“I called 911 once a week.”

Amanda Oliver
MFA Student
University of California–Riverside

Amanda Oliver worked as a school librarian, then a public librarian, but burnout—and an erroneous but terrifying shooting threat—led her to leave the profession.

What happened was, the Washington, D.C., public school for which I worked was very close to Howard University. Howard thought it had a shooter who had run into the immediate vicinity, and we were the immediate vicinity. Our security guards must have seen something on the news, and in a panic went to the pre-K and kindergarten classrooms and told them there’s a shooter. Our PA system did not work.

I got a text from a colleague, and all it said, in all caps, was ACTIVE SHOOTER. I was standing in the library, and the moment I read the text, the door opened, and there were 22 2nd-graders. We got all the kids into the library, we locked the doors, and we covered the windows with paper. I’m looking at the windows thinking, “If the shooter knocks the glass out, what are my options? How many kids can my body protect?” I don’t even remember how we put together that everything was okay. It turned out that someone had seen someone with a bag holding golf clubs and had mistaken it for a gun.

We just sort of glossed over it. It was an epic failing of the school administration. I had been wanting to leave for a while, but that sealed the deal. I didn’t want to be in a system where there was no process for anything like that. When you have too many roles and too many things to do, things fall by the wayside, and this horrible incident was never properly handled.

By the way, I never in one million years would have shot a gun in front of my students at someone. Never. I would never add to their trauma. I can’t imagine the school librarian whipping out a gun in front of 6- and 7-year-olds. Even if I had had a gun, I don’t trust that I would have known how to properly use it or that I would have sprung into action in time.

Aside from that incident, as a school librarian, I was pulled in a million directions. On top of a grueling teaching schedule, I was also responsible for maintaining a 15,000-piece library collection. If I was going to get it all done, I had to come early and stay late. By my fourth or fifth year, I started saying, “You have to give me a schedule that makes it possible to manage this collection.” That never happened.

I switched to a public library in D.C. Ninety percent of the patrons we saw on a daily basis were experiencing homelessness, addiction, and severe mental health issues. There was not a day that I did not witness a psychotic episode. I called 911 once a week. People say, “Other branches aren’t that bad,” and I’m not interested, because if one branch is like that, your system is failing, as far as I’m concerned. Every day I’d go: “I think I’ll have PTSD from this job.”

About a month before I left, I got my third manager in the eight months I was there. She told the library, “I’m not taking this job unless there’s a full-time police officer.” Once we got that officer, I realized one day, “I haven’t been screamed at in a week.” But I have a lot of issues with police in general, so I don’t believe that should be a solution. Is that what we have to resort to in order to keep order? I want to believe “no,” but it’s hard, because I did see a huge difference.

The funny thing is, I loved being a librarian. I loved providing a service to under-served people who deserve a leg up in the world. But there’s no possible way to do it long-term the way that I was. When I thought about what being a librarian would look like for me five or 10 years down the road, I was sick.

I don’t have an answer. I don’t know how to fix these things. I truly don’t know, other than that society needs an overhaul for how we treat people.


Nicole A. Cooke

Nicole A. Cooke

“There’s only so much we can do in 16 weeks.”

Nicole A. Cooke
Associate Professor and MS/LIS Program Director
School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Nicole A. Cooke has directed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s MS/LIS program since 2017. She responds to the often-heard statement: “I didn’t learn this in library school.”

I hear, “We didn’t learn this in our program,” and that’s true. There are lots of things I didn’t learn in my masters’ program. But now that I’m faculty, I realize I don’t know we could actually ever teach everyone everything they might need to know. To a certain extent our job is to teach the basics, the foundation. It becomes impractical to think we can teach students all the dimensions of their jobs.

I teach a class entitled “Information Services to Diverse Populations,” and in that class, we talk about homelessness, we talk about LGBTQ issues, we talk about some of the more recognized marginalized groups. In that class we have guest speakers who talk about their work with different populations. This is how we try to interject some reality into the courses. But there’s only so much we can do in 16 weeks.

I hear people asking, “Can we have a joint program with social work?” I’m happy to investigate that, but we have to get social workers on board as well in terms of what that might look like. It is difficult to get dual-degree programs up and running. We have to go through enormous amounts of paperwork even to get a new course. And then how do you assign the classes, how are they cross-listed, what’s going to be required from each end? The framework of higher ed does not make any of this easy. Then you have to weigh, particularly in this higher-education landscape, whether that degree would be worthwhile.

Sometimes folks think that LIS programs are being willful about not including things, and I think that’s not the case. We talk about these things all the time, and we try to incorporate them in our classes, but curriculum- and program-level changes are difficult. We are already covering so much, and we have accreditation standards we need to adhere to. Also, we may not have the necessary personnel, because you can’t just stick some random instructor into a class about diverse populations. I would like people to be aware of all the different moving parts that go into a graduate program.


Fobazi Ettarh

Fobazi Ettarh

“I want more people to be able to be librarians.”

Fobazi Ettarh
Undergraduate Success Librarian
Rutgers University–Newark (N.J.)

Fobazi Ettarh is author of “Vocational Awe and Librarianship: The Lies We Tell Ourselves,” a paper that appeared in January 2018 in the open access, open peer-reviewed journal In the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Mission creep is definitely a major problem in librarianship. You start off with a certain set of duties, and then “other duties as assigned” become a bigger and bigger part of your job. Since your colleagues are doing this extra work, if you do only what’s in your job description, you’re seen as doing “less than,” even though that’s what you were technically hired for.

The most pressing example is Narcan. It is true that certain communities are having trouble with library patrons overdosing. You think, “Well, we as librarians try to mitigate community problems. Just like we have storytime, why shouldn’t we have this service, when it’s clearly needed?”

People also say, “I can’t stand by and do nothing.” But if you do something [administer Narcan] and the person still, God forbid, dies, then what? Or what if you help them and they sue you for emotional damages? We’re not trained to dispense medical anything. We’re also not social workers. When we take on this work, there’s no institutional support for the trauma counseling we might need afterward, or for knowing when to call or not call the police.

A two-day training is not the same thing as getting your master’s in social work. Just like we wouldn’t want some social worker with three days of library training to take over the library, we shouldn’t rely on these two- or three-day trainings. It’s not our job to become the catch-all for all social-service failings. If overdosing is a big problem in your community, instead of having librarians do a training, hire an actual social worker or medical professional, just like you would hire a children’s librarian if your neighborhood has a lot of large families.

Being stretched thin doesn’t allow any of us to do our jobs well. If we’re trying to be librarians and also social workers and also mental health professionals and also community centers, there’s no way that any one space can do all of that well, and so we’re doing all of that badly. I think it would make more sense for us to do the job we’re trained for: information specialists.

I really do love both my job and librarianship. I want more people to be able to be librarians, to be able to provide the representation and access and values that we espouse and are not currently living up to. It’s a lot easier to make the emotional argument: “Someone’s in front of me; how can I do nothing?” It’s a lot harder to take a step back and ask, “If we set this precedent, what will happen in the future?”

 

As told to Anne Ford, January 2, 2019, first appearing on American Libraries Magazine
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The State of Net Neutrality

A coast-to-coast roundup of efforts to restore the open internet

net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Restoring Internet Freedom Order (RIFO) took effect June 11, 2018, overturning the net neutrality rules the agency established with 2015’s Open Internet Order. Since then, many individual states and other entities have taken it upon themselves to try to restore net neutrality protections. The following is a review of those efforts—successful, failed, and in progress—around the US.

More than 35 states have introduced legislation to protect net neutrality, although only four (California, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) have passed laws. Several governors have also issued executive orders related to net neutrality.

The details of state net neutrality actions vary significantly, but common provisions are:

  • prohibiting all internet service providers (ISPs) in a state from blocking lawful content, applications, services, or devices; impairing or degrading the speed of lawful internet traffic based on content, application, service, or device; engaging in paid prioritization of traffic; or unreasonably interfering with a user’s ability to select, access, or use broadband internet service
  • requiring ISPs to meet the net neutrality provisions above to be considered for state contracts (in some cases, these acts apply to contracts for municipalities as well)
  • requiring ISPs to transparently disclose their network management principles
  • establishing certification systems or registries of ISPs that meet net neutrality requirements
  • issuing resolutions urging the US Congress to implement net neutrality requirements but having no regulatory power on their own

“Having 50 different approaches to net neutrality is not optimal for anybody,” observes Larra Clark, deputy director of public policy for the American Library Association’s Washington Office and the Public Library Association. However, in addition to providing net neutrality in the states where they’ve been implemented, state activities are valuable in advocating for meaningful protections nationally.

“States taking these leadership roles makes it more likely that the FCC will come to the table and the telecommunications companies that have fought us on this issue will work to find a compromise,” she says.

State legislation passed

California

On September 30, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (S.B.) 822, requiring ISPs in the state to comply with net neutrality principles and disclose network management practices. The bill goes beyond the Obama-era regulations by also limiting certain forms of “zero rating,” in which ISPs favor certain information by not counting content or websites they own against data limits.

The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) called it “the strongest in the nation.” However, the US Justice Department filed suit against the law the same day Brown signed it. This suit has been postponed, and California has agreed not to enforce its law until the D.C. District Court decides on the state attorneys general suit on RIFO.

Brown also signed Assembly Bill (A.B.) 1999 on September 30, requiring broadband networks created by local governments to follow net neutrality.

Oregon

Gov. Kate Brown signed House Bill (H.B.) 4155 on April 9. The law prohibits public bodies from contracting with ISPs that do not abide by net neutrality.

Vermont

May 22 Gov. Phil Scott signed S.B. 289, requiring state agencies to contract only with ISPs that practice net neutrality, directing the state Secretary of Administration to develop a process to certify ISPs that practice net neutrality, and directing the state attorney general to study the extent to which the state should enact net neutrality rules. It also requires ISPs to disclose their network management practices. The law followed Executive Order 2-18, issued February 15, that required state agencies to contract only with ISPs that follow net neutrality.

Even though the scope of this law is narrower than California’s, industry groups filed suit to block it October 18 in the US District Court in Vermont.

Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee signed H.B. 2282 on March 5. The law requires ISPs to practice net neutrality and to accurately disclose network management practices.

Executive orders

In addition to Vermont, governors in the following states have issued executive orders related to net neutrality. Each of these orders requires ISPs to follow net neutrality principles to receive state contracts.

Hawaii

Gov. David Ige issued Executive Order 18-02 on February 5.

Montana

Gov. Steve Bullock issued Executive Order 3-2018 on January 22.

New Jersey

Gov. Philip D. Murphy issued Executive Order 9 on February 5.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued Executive Order 175 on January 24.

Rhode Island

Gov. Gina Raimondo issued Executive Order 18-02 on April 24.

Bills introduced but not enacted

Alaska

Neither of the proposed bills requiring ISPs to practice net neutrality (H.B. 277 and S.B. 160), nor House Joint Resolution 31 and Senate Joint Resolution 12 urging the US Congress to overturn the FCC’s order, were acted on in committee.

Colorado

H.B. 18-1312 would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality to receive money from the High Cost Support Mechanism, the state’s implementation of the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which provides funds for deploying broadband in rural areas. The bill passed the house but failed in the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, and Military Affairs.

Connecticut

The senate passed S.B. 366, requiring ISPs in the state to practice net neutrality and disclose network management practices. However, the house did not vote on the measure. H.B. 5260 and S.B. 2, which would have required ISPs to adopt net neutrality policies to qualify for state contracts, both failed in committee.

Georgia

Neither of the bills related to net neutrality introduced in the house or senate progressed out of committee. S.B. 310 would have required all ISPs to follow net neutrality, while H.B. 1066 would have prohibited the state from contracting with ISPs that don’t provide a certification of net neutrality.

Hawaii 

S.B. 2644, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and disclose network management practices, passed the senate unanimously, but its house companion, H.B. 2256, stalled in committee. The similar S.B. 2088 was deferred in committee.
In addition to requiring net neutrality, H.B. 1995 would have established a task force to examine the costs and benefits of a state-owned public utility to provide broadband internet service. Two of three house committees recommended passage of the bill, but the Finance Committee did not act on it.

Idaho 

H.B. 425, which would require ISPs to comply with net neutrality, was not acted on in committee.

Illinois 

H.B. 4819, which would have required state contractors to comply with net neutrality and other ISPs to notify consumers of any deviations from those principles, passed out of the House Cybersecurity, Data Analytics, and IT Committee, but the house re-referred it to the Rules Committee and did not vote on it.

Two other measures did not advance out of committee: H.B. 5094, which would have required ISPs in the state to abide by net neutrality, and S.B. 2816, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality to qualify for state contracts.

Iowa

Neither Senate File 2286 nor House File 2287, which would have required ISPs to provide service in accordance with net neutrality, advanced out of committee.

Kansas

H.B. 2682, which would have prohibited state contracts with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality, died in committee.

Kentucky

The Small Business and Information Technology committee did not act on H.B. 418, which would have required state contractors to practice net neutrality.

Maryland

H.B. 1654, which would prohibit state agencies from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality and require ISPs to notify customers about the types of personal data they collect and disclose, passed the house, but the senate did not vote on it. The similar H.B. 1655, which would also authorize local governments to grant franchises for broadband internet service, did not pass out of committee.

S.B. 287, which would require the state to only contract with ISPs that follow net neutrality, did not pass out of committee.

Massachusetts 

Senate Order S2263, establishing a special senate committee on net neutrality and consumer protection to review RIFO, was adopted January 18. The committee issued its report March 23 as S.B. 2376. This report accompanied S.B. 2336, a bill that would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality.

S.B. 2336 was replaced by S.B. 2610, which would direct the state Department of Telecommunications and Cable to create standards for a Massachusetts Net Neutrality and Consumer Privacy Seal to identify ISPs that abide by net neutrality and provide consumers with an easy way to opt out of providing third parties access to personal information. It would also establish a registry of broadband service providers in the state and list their network management practices and privacy policies. The bill passed the senate July 19 and has been referred to the House Ways and Means committee.

H.B. 4151, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality, was replaced by House Order 4684, authorizing the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy to study documents concerning several bills, including those on net neutrality. This order also covered H.B. 4222, requiring ISPs to follow net neutrality and establishing the Massachusetts Internet Service Provider Registry to provide service quality and pricing information to customers.

Minnesota

Two bills have been introduced in both the house and the senate that would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and prohibit state agencies and political subdivisions from contracting with ISPs that do not. None of the bills—S.B. 2880, S.B. 3968, H.B. 3033, and H.B. 4411—has been acted on in committee.

Missouri

H.B. 1994, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and publicly disclose their network management practices, was not acted on in committee.

Nebraska 

Legislative Bill 856, which would require net neutrality, was indefinitely postponed.

New Jersey 

S.B. 1577 and A.B. 1767, identical bills that would require all ISPs in the state to abide by net neutrality, have not been acted on by their respective committees.

A.B. 2131, which would prohibit the installation of broadband telecommunications infrastructure on public rights-of-way or underground facilities owned by public utilities or cable television companies unless the ISP follows net neutrality, was favorably reported out of committee. The senate has not acted on the identical S.B. 2458.

A.B. 2132, which would require state agencies to reject all contract bids from ISPs that do not follow net neutrality, was reported out of committee. The senate companion, S.B. 1802, has not been acted on in committee.

A.B. 2139, which would require cable companies that provide internet service to follow net neutrality principles, passed out of committee.

New Mexico 

H.B. 95 and S.B. 39 would amend the state Unfair Practices Act to require ISPs to follow net neutrality; both have been postponed indefinitely.

S.B. 155, which was similar to those bills but would also allocate $250,000 to the state attorney general in FY2018 and FY2019 to review RIFO and to file or join a lawsuit challenging the decision, was also postponed indefinitely.

New York

A.B. 8882, which would direct the state Public Service Commission to develop a plan for monitoring broadband ISPs and create a certification for ISPs that comply with net neutrality, passed the assembly June 19. Under this bill, only certified ISPs would be eligible for state agency contracts. The senate has not acted on its version, S.B. 7183.

Other bills have not made it out of committee, including: S.B. 8321, which would require net neutrality, provide regulatory control by the state Public Service Commission, prohibit zero-rating of certain content in a category but not the entire category, and require ISPs to comply with net neutrality to be granted permission to attach broadband infrastructure to utility poles; S.B. 7175 and A.B. 9057, which would require state agencies to contract only with ISPs that adhere to net neutrality and appropriate $250 million to a fund to establish municipal ISPs; and A.B. 9059, which would establish a commission to study and report on potential implementation of net neutrality rules.

North Carolina

Neither S.B. 736, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality, nor H.B. 1016, which would have applied only to state contractors, passed out of committee.

Oklahoma

S.B. 1543, which would have required state agencies to contract only with ISPs that follow net neutrality and created a fund to support municipalities attempting to create their own ISPs, was not acted on in committee.

Pennsylvania

H.B. 2062, which would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality, did not make it out of committee. The same fate befell S.B. 1033, which also would have prohibited state contracts with ISPs that don’t follow net neutrality and required ISPs to disclose network management practices.

Rhode Island 

S.B. 2008, which would have required state agencies to award contracts only to ISPs that follow net neutrality, passed the senate June 19. The House Corporations Committee has not acted on it.

That committee recommended that H.B. 7076, which would require ISPs to follow net neutrality and require the state Division of Public Utilities and Carriers to annually certify ISPs, be held for further study. It made the same recommendation for H.B. 7422, which would require net neutrality and obligate ISPs to disclose their network management practices.

South Carolina

Neither H.B. 4614 nor H.B. 4706, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality and disclose their network management practices, passed out of committee.

South Dakota

The Senate Commerce and Energy Committee voted February 6 not to send S.B. 195 to the full senate, killing the measure. The bill would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality and disclose network management practices to receive contracts from the state.

Tennessee

Several bills were introduced but did not pass out of committee, including H.B. 1755 and S.B. 1756, which would have required ISPs to abide by net neutrality and disclose their network management practices, and prohibit state agencies or local governments from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality; S.B. 2183 and H.B. 2253, which would have prohibited state governmental entities from contracting with ISPs that do not follow net neutrality; and H.B. 2405 and S.B. 2449, which would have created a task force to study issues relating to RIFO.

Virginia

H.B. 705, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality, stalled in the Commerce and Labor Committee.

S.B. 948, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality and prohibited them from knowingly disclosing personally identifiable information about customers, did not pass out of committee.

West Virginia 

Neither H.B. 4399, which would have required ISPs to practice net neutrality and disclose network management practices to receive state contracts, nor S.B. 396, which would have applied to all ISPs in the state, passed out of committee.

Wisconsin 

The assembly voted against taking up A.B. 909, which would have required ISPs to follow net neutrality and limited disclosure of personally identifying information. Senate counterpart S.B. 743 did not pass out of committee.

Neither S.B. 740 nor A.B. 908, which would have applied only to state contractors, were acted on by committee.

Resolutions

California 

In February, Senate Resolution (S.R.) 74, urging the US Congress to reinstate the 2015 rules, passed.

Delaware

Senate Concurrent Resolution 44, expressing the state assembly’s opposition to RIFO and urging the US Congress to enact legislation preserving net neutrality, passed the senate in January.

District of Columbia

A round table hearing was held in January 2018 on Proposed Resolution 22-0691 opposing RIFO. While it was cosponsored by all 13 members of the council, no vote has been taken.

Georgia

House Resolution 1161, a resolution that would have encouraged state agencies to establish policies requiring contract recipients to adhere to net neutrality, was introduced, but it did not progress out of committee.

Illinois

S.R. 1196, which would have urged the US Congress and the Trump administration to advocate for permanent adoption of net neutrality rules, did not advance out of committee.

Michigan

S.R. 131, which would have urged the governor to issue an executive order requiring ISPs with state contracts to abide by net neutrality, has not been acted on in committee.

Missouri

House Concurrent Resolution (H.C.R.) 84, which would urge the US Congress to pass legislation restoring net neutrality, has not been acted on in committee.

New Mexico

Senate Joint Memorial 17, urging the US Congress to review RIFO, passed, but the house postponed action indefinitely.

Ohio

The Committee on Federalism and Interstate Relations did not act on H.C.R. 18, which would have urged the president and US Congress to protect net neutrality and open internet access.

 January 2, 2019, first appearing on American Libraries Magazine

We get by with a little help from our friends

Friends of Libraries groups have their very own national week of celebration!

United for Libraries will coordinate the 13th annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 21-27, 2018.

FriendsWe just wanted to take a moment to thank the Friends of the Moline Public Library. Their volunteer-run book store and fundraisers provide invaluable supplemental funding for the library and its programs. Their time and effort have translated to hundreds of thousands of dollars that the library was able to use to give back to the community.

If you want to support the Friends and the Moline Public Library stop by during National Friends of Libraries Week and check out their Silent Auction and Raffle that’s happening in the lobby.

And while your at it you might as well vote while your here!

By the Numbers: Banned Books Week

More stats to celebrate the most frequently banned and challenged books

The Hate U Give

This year’s Banned Books Week is September 23–29.

416
Number of books banned or challenged in 2017, according to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).

100,000
Number of copies that Angie Thomas’s young adult novel, The Hate U Give, printed in its first month. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards honoree, about a teenager who witnesses a police shooting, was challenged in July by a South Carolina Fraternal Order of Police chapter for “indoctrination of distrust of police.”

80%
Percentage of 2017’s most commonly challenged books that tell the stories of people from marginalized groups.

1966
To Kill a MockingbirdYear of one of the earliest challenges to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The school board in Hanover County, Virginia, said it would remove the book from school libraries, citing the novel as “immoral.” The board walked back its decision after residents—and Lee herself—wrote to the local paper to defend the book.

13
Number of cassette tapes that teen protagonist Hannah Baker leaves behind to explain her suicide in the number-one banned book of 2017, 13 Reasons Why. The 2007 title has made the OIF list before but has become the subject of increased public scrutiny after the 2017 release of a Netflix series based on the novel.

56%
Percent of challenges that take place in public libraries. Twenty-five percent take place in school libraries, curricula, and classrooms.

13
Number of languages that Alex Gino’s George has been translated into since its publication in 2015. This Lambda Literary Award–winning children’s book has been challenged and banned because its protagonist is a transgender kid.

101
Number of the conference room at the BBC Radio studios where George Orwell worked to broadcast British propaganda to India between 1941 and 1943. The “re-education room” in his classic novel 1984, where dissenters were tortured with their worst fears, was based on the BBC room.

82–97%
Percentage of book challenges that OIF estimates go unreported.

September 25, 2018, first appearing in American Libraries Magazine

CELEBRATE NATIONAL LIBRARY WEEK, 2018!

National Library Week 2018 graphic, featuring Misty Copeland

by jfalcon

Every day, libraries of all types prove that they are powerful agents of community change. No longer just places for books, libraries now offer a smorgasbord of free digitally-based programs and services, including 3-D printing, ebooks, digital recording studios and technology training.

National Library Week will be observed April 8-14, 2018 with the theme, “Libraries Lead.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

The National Library Week 2018 celebration will mark the 60th anniversary of the first event, sponsored in 1958.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee’s goals were ambitious.  They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.”

Wake up and Read National Library Week poster

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!”

Celebrations during National Library Week include: National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 10, 2018), a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers; National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week (April 11, 2018), a day to recognize the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities, and Take Action for Libraries Day, a national library advocacy effort observed for the first time in 2017 in response to proposed cuts to federal funds for libraries.

On Monday, April 9, the 2018 State of America’s Libraries Report will be released.  The report includes the much anticipated list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books of the previous year, compiled by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Misty Copeland serves as 2018 National Library Week Honorary Chair.

In August 2015, Copeland was promoted to principal dancer at the American Ballet Theatre, making her the first African American woman to ever be promoted to the position in the company’s 75-year history.

Copeland is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir “Life in Motion,” and her 2014 picture book “Firebird” won the Coretta Scott King Book Illustrator Award in 2015. Her new book, “Ballerina Body,” an instant New York Times Bestseller, published in March 2017.

She has worked with many charitable organizations and is dedicated to giving of her time to work with and mentor young girls and boys. She was named National Youth of the Year Ambassador for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in June 2013. In 2014, President Obama appointed Copeland to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition.  And in 2015, she traveled to Rwanda with MindLeaps to help launch its girls program and to establish The Misty Copeland Scholarship.

There are several ways to celebrate National Library Week:

1. Visit your library.

Head to your public, school or academic library during National Library Week to see what’s new and take part in the celebration.  Libraries across the country are participating.

2. Show your support for libraries on social media.

Follow I Love Libraries on Facebook and Twitter and the hashtags #NationalLibraryWeek and #LibrariesTransform to join the celebration on social media.

Post National Library Week graphics to your social media channels.

Where did the library lead you? Tell us during National Library Week.

National Library Week is the perfect opportunity to tell the world why you value libraries. This year, in keeping with the Libraries Lead theme, we’re asking you tell us how the library led you to something of value in your life.

Library lovers can post to Twitter, Instagram, or on the I Love Libraries Facebook page during National Library Week for a chance to win. Entries can be a picture or text.  Creativity is encouraged. Just be sure to they include the hashtags #LibrariesLead and #NationalLibraryWeek for a chance to win.

One randomly selected winner will receive a $100 gift card and a copy of “Firebird,” the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book by Misty Copeland, our National Library Week Honorary Chair.

Join in the fun. The promotion begins Sunday, April 8 at noon CT and ends Saturday, April 14 at noon CT.  Check out the National Library Week page for details and more ways to celebrate.

In a Virtual World

How school, academic, and public libraries are testing virtual reality in their communities

Virtual Reality

 March 1, 2018, first appearing in American Libraries Magazine

In the past several years, virtual reality (VR) technology has finally begun to fulfill what had long been promised. Traditional VR, which creates environments that allow people to be “present” in an alternative environment, has been advanced by offerings from Oculus, Sony, Google, and Samsung. At the same time, products like Google’s Cardboard have led the growth of 360-degree video that captures an entire scene in which the viewer can look up, down, and around. Instead of just games and entertainment, VR content is exploding with news, information, and educational content.

Throughout this period of growth and expansion, libraries and librarians have once again demonstrated their adaptability to new information formats and user needs with moves that reflect the various directions VR has moved. Whether it is classroom use of Google Expeditions, new educational spaces and lending programs on academic campuses, or a demonstrated commitment to equitable access to this new technology in public libraries, librarians have taken on VR as a new way to engage their users.

In the months and years ahead, library professionals will likely need to consider how VR and 360-degree video fit into their commitments to acquire and organize information, make the informational content of this technology available for reference and citation, and empower users to be both media consumers and creators. For now, … libraries and librarians are showing how they can innovate with this latest trend in media and information.

Read on…

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To experience virtual reality at the Moline Public Library, stop by the second floor where we have a virtual tour of the new I74 river bridge!

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