Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 State Legislative Day

Every Winter, librarians and library supporters from around the state descend on the State Capitol in Madison for an exercise called "Library Legislative Day." Several of us from APL will be there, with appointments to visit members of the Assembly and State Senate. It's an opportunity to get to know out elected state officials and acquaint them with library concerns.

Let's be real: nobody expects significant funding increases in this environment. Our library does not receive direct state funding, though we benefit from lots of programs. But what it comes down to is making sure first that legislators know what we do and why it's important, and then how the state legislatures actions fit into our services.

The following legislative agenda was developed by the Wisconsin Library Associations Library Development & Legislation Committee, and approved by the full association. On Jan. 20, our Board of Trustees endorsed the agenda, with seven votes in favor, one trustee opposed and one abstaining from the vote.
WLA State Legislative Agenda
For the 2009-11 Biennium

The Wisconsin Library Association (WLA), established in 1891, unites and supports people from all types of libraries to develop and advocate for dynamic, responsive Wisconsin libraries. Our 2,000 members, including librarians, libraries, library trustees, and friends from across the state, share this common purpose.

Legislative Priorities for 2009 Legislative Action
  • Increase state funding for public library system aids to 13% of local library expenditures, as specified in Wisconsin statutes.
  • Support expanded funding for BadgerLink resources.
  • Preserve the use of the Universal Service Fund for BadgerLink and other library services.
  • Increase funding necessary to support traditional service levels for state contracts:
    • Wisconsin Regional Library for the Blind & Physically Handicapped
    • Cooperative Children's Book Center
    • Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS) and
    • Milwaukee Public Library/Interlibrary Loan
  • Support funding for statewide delivery of library materials.
  • Support increased funding of the University of Wisconsin System libraries.
  • Support funding for the UW Digital Commons Initiative.
  • Support the statutory use of the Common School Fund.
  • Support the need for libraries to have access to sufficient bandwidth.
  • Support public library district enabling legislation.
  • Support the Wisconsin State Law Library and the Milwaukee County and Dane County Legal Resource libraries.
  • Oppose any proposals that mandate a specific percentage of funding for educational institutions be spent on classroom instruction.
  • Support access to government publications/documents.
  • Support full funding for the Wisconsin Historical Society Library.
  • Support updated standards for school library media centers.
  • Support the employment of at least one full-time certified school library media specialist and appropriate support staff in every school; support additional professional staff and support staff in schools of 650 students or more.
  • Support the employment of at least one full-time instructional technology professional and appropriate support staff in every school; support additional professional staff and support staff in schools of 650 students or more.
  • Continue to promote the importance of publicly-funded free and open access to library materials to all Wisconsin citizens.
  • Support continuation of maintenance of effort funding levels by local units of government as a requirement for public library system membership.
Legislative Policy Statements

The Wisconsin Library Association affirms:
  • That library services address essential informational, educational, cultural, and recreational needs for Wisconsin residents and merit strong legislative support.
  • That the state’s libraries, by providing lifelong learning opportunities, make a significant contribution to the quality of life for all Wisconsin residents.
  • That the state’s libraries through a statewide knowledge network provide essential information resources for the state’s economic development.
  • That the state’s libraries, through multiple cooperative arrangements, serve as models for regional and statewide cooperation.
  • That the state’s librarians provide Wisconsin residents with the essential information services they need to succeed at school, at work, and in their personal lives.
The Wisconsin Library Association supports state legislative policy that:
  • Ensures that all the people of Wisconsin have the broadest possible access to information resources and materials.
  • Preserves the fundamental principle of publicly funded free and open access to library materials and services.
  • Ensures privacy in the use of library materials and services.
  • Strongly supports the development of collections and resources for libraries of all types.
  • Broadens the availability of communications technology for educational and information resources.
  • Promotes regional and statewide sharing of library and information resources.
  • Supports strong statewide leadership for library development and cooperation.
The Wisconsin Library Association opposes state legislative policy that:
  • Restricts access by the state’s residents to information resources and materials.
  • Affects local and state taxing options that could have an adverse affect on libraries.
  • Intrudes on the privacy of library users.
  • Interferes with the right of local public library boards to independently determine local library policy, staffing, and services based on community standards.

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