Monday, February 28, 2011
In times of challenge and rapid change, it is important to examine our traditions to find sources of strength and stability. Governor Scott Walker quoted Wisconsin’s State Constitution recently to remind us of the important Wisconsin tradition of “frugality.” There is another Wisconsin tradition, however, the tradition of “fairness,” that also needs to be taken into account.
The concept of fairness, like frugality, has had a long history of bipartisan support in this state. Wisconsin has supported fairness through protecting the rights of workers, requiring open and ethical government practice, and supporting strong institutions of public education to help everyone fully participate in our state’s economic and social life.
Wisconsin’s school, technical college, university, and community libraries have supported the values of both frugality and fairness throughout the long histories of these institutions. Libraries help us save money by providing a means to share library materials, databases, equipment such as computers, and visiting authors and performers. Sharing these valuable resources as a community costs much less than purchasing them as individuals.
Libraries extend the power of this local sharing through cooperative networks that give the users of local libraries access to the collections of other libraries. Our success in sharing these educational resources is a model of efficiency and frugality. The importance of library service is most evident in difficult economic times like these. Library use has soared during the current recession as fewer people are able to purchase these services on their own.
The ultimate goal of libraries is not frugality, however, but fairness. Extending the critically important opportunity for education to all of our citizens is what libraries are all about and what motivates librarians and library workers to come to work every day. We understand that Wisconsin will not move forward without educated citizens and that real economic and social progress won’t be possible unless all Wisconsinites move forward together as we have done in the past.
The Budget Repair Bill is certainly frugal, but it is also certainly unfair. The bill has been promoted as a means of making the compensation of public employees fair when compared with the private sector. Librarians will be glad to direct legislators to the many studies which prove that public employee compensation including pensions and health insurance is below compensation for comparable private sector jobs, both nationally and in Wisconsin. Inaccurately portraying public employees as being overpaid is unfair. It is also unfair to include sweeping policy changes in the areas of collective bargaining rights, Medicaid eligibility, and the sale of public assets in an emergency bill designed to strictly limit debate on these important issues.
The Wisconsin Library Association supports the Wisconsin traditions of frugality and fairness. We are proud to stand with those who oppose this unfair legislation.
--Ron McCabe, President-elect, Wisconsin Library Association
This was not a reflection of our position regarding the budget reform bill proposed by Governor Walker. WLA executive director Lisa Strand, chair of the library development and legislative committee Paul Nelson, and WLA president Rhonda Puntney all felt that our message about the importance of ALL libraries in our state would be overlooked and lost during the budget repair discussions. Also, many legislators either did not respond to requests for appointments or canceled appointments altogether. Monday's inclement weather was also a factor. The state assembly met Tuesday and much of the Capitol building was closed off to the public.
The next biennial budget will be introduced in early March, and WLA will reschedule Legislative Day during the month of March once the budget has been made public.
The WLA executive committee and the WLA board of directors have unanimously passed a motion opposing the governor's budget repair bill. WLA vice president Ron McCabe has testified on behalf of WLA's membership at the Wisconsin Senate joint finance committee hearing on February 15. His testimony follows here. We have been encouraging our membership to participate in the rallies. Many of our members have attended the rallies and informed the WLA office and shared their experiences on Facebook.
In addition to this, it is imperative that you continue to make phone calls and send emails to legislators promote the value of ALL libraries and library staff, and to secure adequate funding during this next biennium. WLA is staying focused on direct communication with elected officials at the local, state and national level on a continual basis to show to them the impact libraries have in their local schools, universities and communities.
Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have concerns or comments.
Managers have many tools for reducing expenditures when this is needed. We feel that forcing all state and local agencies to balance their budgets by suppressing the compensation of public employees is not in the long-term interest of Wisconsin or Wisconsin's libraries."
Thursday, February 24, 2011
The following is being widely distributed by ALA’s Public Information Office and is on the ALA website:
CHICAGO - As thousands protest proposed collective bargaining legislation in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana, American Library Association (ALA) President Roberta Stevens released the following statement in support of those standing up for workers’ rights.
“While governments are facing financial challenges, addressing deficits should not serve as an opportunity to strip away the hard-won right of workers to collectively bargain,” said Stevens.
“As library visits continue to soar, with job seekers and families turning to our libraries to gain new skills and free access to education resources, the value of library service and staff should be recognized and protected.
“The ALA supports library employees in seeking equitable compensation and recognizes the principle of collective bargaining as an important element of successful labor-management relations. We affirm the right of employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, without fear of reprisal. These are basic workers’ rights that we defend for thousands of academic, public and school library professionals.”
The American Library Association is the voice of America's libraries and the millions of people who depend on them. With more than 63,000 members, the ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world and represents all types of libraries and librarians.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
In short, public employees are asked to contribute 50 percent of their pension contribution (about 5.8% of pay) and pay 12.6% of the cost of their health insurance premiums. Perhaps more importantly, however, the governor's proposal would limited collective bargaining for most public employees to wages, and total wage increases could not exceed a cap based on CPI unless approved by referendum.
In addition, employers would be prohibited from collecting union dues, and members of collective bargaining units would not be required to pay dues. This part of the proposal does nothing to address the state's budget deficit. Unions operate on the premise that because the union's work benefits all workers, all workers should contribute dues. Without this requirement, it is difficult to see how public employee unions will have the voice they've had in the past.
The governor's proposal would exempt only law enforcement, fire employees and state troopers and inspectors.
The legislature's Joint Finance Committee is expected to act tomorrow, Tuesday, February 15 at 10:00 a.m. The Joint Retirement Systems Committee is expected to meet at 2:00 p.m. News reports indicate that there will be a public hearing in Joint Finance.
Please contact your state legislators today to urge them to vote no. If you are not sure who represents you, go to the Wisconsin State Legislature's website to use their "Who Represents Me" form.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
In the last couple of days there has been much concern about the status of the National Archives Library Information Center (ALIC). The National Archives will be putting out an official statement on the issue, but in the meantime I was able to speak with David McMillen the External Affairs Liaison at the National Archives. He assured me that the library is not closing and the collection would remain accessible to the public. There are going to be changes to the library. Due to budget constraints the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will be merging library services with other services. This means that:
* The library will remain open and staffed and public access will remain
* The library collection will remain intact (with the exception of the bound serial set being moved because the library has purchased an online version).
* Like most libraries facing budget cuts, acquisitions will be substantially reduced.
* Seven positions will be reassigned, not laid off. Some of those people may be providing library reference within a different unit, but it is too soon to say where people will be assigned.
* The records management process with the Government Printing Office will not be affected by this merge.
Assistant Director, Office of Government Relations
As you recall, late Monday evening U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ-5) introduced an amendment that would eliminate all funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) including funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), the primary source of federal dollars to libraries.
Even though we overcame this amendment, our work is not done. H.R. 1 still has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the President. Please tell your friends, library users and advocates that their voices will be needed on library issues in the weeks and months to come.
Also, libraries face cuts in President Obama’s FY2012 budget request sent to Congress on February 14. In his request, President Obama cuts funding to LSTA by $20 million as well as consolidates Improving Literacy Through School Libraries with other literacy programs in the Department of Education. ALA needs you to continue your calls to Congress in our fight to protect library funding in FY’12.
This is only the beginning; libraries will continue to be threatened in the next Congress. Now, more than ever, we need your participation on May 9-10, 2011 at ALA’s National Library Legislative Day in Washington D.C. where you will have the opportunity to meet with your members of Congress and explain to them why cutting library funding would be short-sighted. To register for NLLD, please go to www.ala.org/nlld.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
This week, the House of Representatives will consider two amendments to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution that are critical to libraries – one that would eliminate all Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding including Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding and another that would halt all funding for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders seeking libraries and bookstore records of U.S. citizens.
E-mail via Capwiz or call your representative at (202) 224-3121 today and tell him or her to oppose Amendment #35 to the Continuing Resolution!
Amendment #35, submitted by U.S. Rep. Scott Garret (R-NJ), seeks to zero out the Institute of Museum and Library Services, eliminating all federal funding specifically for libraries.
Message to Your Representative:
- Libraries are essential to every community, and federal funding is critical for ensuring library resources and services remain available to their constituents.
- LSTA supports all kinds of libraries including school, academic, and public libraries.
- Public libraries are the primary source of no-fee access to the Internet and are active in assisting the public with online job searches, e-government services, and lifelong learning.
E-mail via Capwiz or call your representative at (202) 224-3121 today and tell him or her to support Conyers’ amendment to the Continuing Resolution!
This amendment, sponsored by U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), would halt all funding for FISA orders seeking libraries and bookstore records of U.S. citizens. Currently, this vote is scheduled for this Thursday, February 17.
Message to Your Representative:
- Vote YES on the Conyers amendment to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution to halt funding for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) orders that would seek library and bookstore records of U.S. citizens;
- The Conyers amendment seeks to protect individual privacy and personal reading records from inappropriate access by law enforcement;
- Like previous reader privacy bills, this amendment has bipartisan support;
- Law enforcement access to the reading habits of individuals should be held to a higher legal standard in order to protect civil liberties and the right to read and access information.
Monday, February 14, 2011
- The recipient should be a library supporter (trustee, friend, general supporter) and not a professional librarian.
- Recipient should be a first-time attendee of NLLD.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
The report is one of a series of reports examining wages and total compensation for public employees.
Huebsch wrote, "Following extensive examination of complex technical issues, and review of multiple alternatives, DOA, the BCN (BadgerNet Converged Network) vendors and the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) have exhausted all practical options. Accordingly, the BTOP grant cannot be implemented and DOA will be declining the award. Despite declining the grant, the DOA is happy to report that it will be immediately moving ahead with new BCN pricing and a new 5 year BCN contract extension which will allow DOA to meet its TEACH customers bandwidth needs."
DPI officials estimate that, if the contract extension is successfully negotiated, schools and libraries may be able to receive bandwidth increases similar to what was expected as a result of the failed federal grant. However, the loss of the grant is still regrettable because it means finite future capacity for these important institutions and their communities; copper wire can only provide so much bandwidth. In addition, libraries that were counting on the federal grant to pay for new routers to handle the increased bandwidth will have to seek new funding to cover those costs.
For a more detailed summary of the proposed budget adjustment bill, see the Wheeler Report.
- Library and local government leaders need to connect on community priorities.
- Building partnerships is the key to innovation.
- Leadership happens at all levels of an organization.
- Successful partnerships require commitment to the effort.
- Innovation occurs in communities of all sizes.
- Not every effort will be successful.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Thursday, February 03, 2011
- The Cheese Lover’s Companion: the Ultimate A to Z Cheese Guide to help Pittsburgh readers love Cheeseheads as much as we love Pittsburgh for sending us Mike McCarthy.
- Johnsonville Big Taste of Sausage Cookbook. Packer fans thrive on bratwurst and sausage, especially in below freezing tailgating weather. We’re sure that Pittsburgh fans will find it tasty.
- Quickie Makes the Team, a children’s book by a Green Bay author who might have something to do with the outcome of the game on Sunday (Packer Donald Driver #80)
- B is for Badger, a children’s alphabet book in which P is for Packers (S is not for Steelers)
- Pro Tactics: Steelhead & Salmon: Use the Secrets of the Pros to Catch More and Bigger Fish. Lynn is confident our NFC Pros will use a few secrets to catch the Steelhead big fish.
- Escape; the Story of the Great Houdini. For the Steelers to win, they must pull some magic tricks to escape the Packer defense.
- When Pride Still Mattered – the biography of, and now Broadway play, “Lombardi “. I understand the Steelers have a couple of his trophies. Pittsburgh readers might enjoy learning about the man those trophies were named for.
- Art of Towel Origami - something for Steeler fans to do with their Terrible Towels and since the towels are made in Wisconsin, if the Steelers win, we’ll hope that Steeler fans will keep buying the towels and providing revenue for Wisconsin.
- About Three Bricks Shy-- and the Load Filled Up: The Story of the Greatest Football Team Ever / Roy Blount, Jr
- City of Champions. (CD) / Jimmy Pol Coming Home. (CD) / Joe Grushecky & the Houserockers
- Fallingwater Cookbook / Suzanne Martinson
- It's The Neighborhoods (DVD) / WQEDLighthead / Terrance Hayes
- Pittsburgh: A New Portrait / Franklin Toker
- Steel City Confessions / Thomas Lipinski
- Steel Town / Jonah Winter
- The Baby Goes Beep – board book version – Rebecca O’Connell
- The Chief / Jim O’Brien