Library Legislative Advocacy Update

Graphic showing State House with "In Session" textI posted a while back about library legislation and advocacy, so here’s a quick update.

The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted a budget through last week that puts back some funding for public libraries and includes amendments that take a step in the right direction in support of school libraries and an organization near and dear to my heart* – the Massachusetts Center for the Book.

A budget amendment (H.569) to fund the Massachusetts Center for the Book came through the House budget process at $125,000, which is half of the requested $250,000, but still far better than the $0 that was in the budget before the amendment!

Budget Amendment 922 to establish a special commission to “study the public school library programs in the commonwealth and the best way to serve the needs of students,” was also passed by the House.

Thanks go to all who voted for the House budget – especially to the House Ways and Means Committee, members of the library caucus, and the tireless leader of the library caucus, Kate Hogan.

Whenever I hear the word “caucus,” I’m reminded of Lewis Carroll and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and whenever I write about the legislative process, the old Schoolhouse Rock song, I’m Just a Bill, comes to mind. Does anyone else remember it?

Now it’s time to advocate in the Senate to keep or boost the budget figures for libraries in the Senate budget!

* I am a member of the Massachusetts Book Award Committee (but not a judge).

Not in Massachusetts? Are you interested in knowing what national library legislation is pending or what issues are being discussed in your own state legislature? Check out the American Library Association’s Legislative Action Center. It makes it easy to advocate for libraries in your state! Just plug in your zip code to send an email to your legislators.

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