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Posts by: Steve Butzel

More eBooks for Libraries Campaign

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library has started a terrific campaign to encourage more publishers to sell e-content to libraries. The website, which includes a petition, is at The site includes a terrific video explaining why libraries and library customers want access to more e-content, and encourages visitors to sign the online petition. Topeka purposely does not mention itself in the video, and barely mentions itself in the rest of the website. As a result, we can all link to it from our own website and sort of claim it as our own. So I encourage everyone to get their staff and patrons to visit the site and sign the petition!

Of course, these issues will also be covered in depth at NHLA’s Digital Summit on June 1st, including a presentation from Alan Inouye, Director of ALA’s Office for Information  Technology Policy, who has sat in on many of the meetings ALA’s leadership has had with publishers and author groups. I hope to see  you all at the Summit!

– Steve Butzel, ALA Councilor

ALA Councilor Report from ALA Midwinter Dallas

Greetings from your ALA Councilor,

My trip to Dallas for ALA Midwinter was a busy one as usual. Here are some of the issues which I feel you should know about. If you’d like more information about these issues or other ALA topics, please do not hesitate to contact me. The more I get to know ALA, the more I am impressed, so I would enjoy speaking with you about your concerns.

Resolutions Passed

There were two significant resolutions passed by the ALA Council. The first was a Resolution on Publishers and Practices Which Discriminate Against Library Users. It stated that ALA opposes any discriminatory policies of publishers and distributors that adversely impact access to content by library users; and that the Working Group on Digital Content in Libraries be directed to review the situation and recommend appropriate action and/or appropriate parties who should be informed of this resolution.

While this resolution might sound like a no-brainer, there was some debate both in Council forum and on the floor. Some were concerned that the resolution, if too strongly worded, might offend the publishers with whom ALA is scheduled to meet next week. In the end, the Council stuck with the original, forceful language and the resolution passed.

The second was a resolution condemning the restriction of access to materials in Arizona schools following state legislation that led to the elimination of a Mexican American studies program in the Tucson Unified School District. While it took some time to sift through the numerous layers of the controversy and identify the real culprits, the resolution passed. For more info, contact me or visit any number of websites including,,,


ALA Fighting For Libraries, Librarians and Library Patrons

Elsewhere in the Association, a great deal is happening. As I referred to above, leaders of ALA will be meeting with top executives from Macmillan, Simon & Schuster (S&S), and Penguin publishing houses, (which all do not allow libraries to circulate their ebooks,) on January 30th,January 31st and February 2nd to voice the concerns of the Association. For more info, read this article from LJ, In addition, the Working Group on Digital Content and Libraries ( will be meeting frequently throughout the year to study the issues and develop advocacy strategies.

The entire organization is also working hard to raise awareness of the White House Petition on School Libraries,, which asks that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) provide dedicated funding to help support effective school library programs. 25,000 signatures are needed by February 4, 2012, in order for this petition to reach the desk of the President. We are more than halfway there, but time is running out!

A few other advocacy initiatives/resources to be aware of are:

  1. The updated “The Small but Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library,”,
  2. “Keeping Public Libraries Public: A Checklist for Communities Considering Privatization of Public Libraries.”
  3. Advocating in a Tough Economy Toolkit,

A whole host of additional advocacy tools can be found on ALA’s Advocacy University website,


I could go on, but I’ll stop for now. Please let me know if you’d like me to come speak with your library co-op about ALA. I’d be happy to try and do so.


Steve Butzel, NH Chapter Councilor on the ALA Council

Save The Dates for Two Small Libraries Summits

As many of you may remember, NHLA and the NH State Library sponsored the first ever Small Libraries Summit back in April of 2010, and it was such a success, we’ve decided to sponsor it again for 2012. Even better, we are planning on expanding it so more librarians can come.

Specifically, we’re planning on holding a Summit meeting on Monday, April 2nd for librarians working in communities of 1,500 or fewer residents. Then, we plan to hold a second Summit meeting on Monday, April 16th for librarians working in communities between 1,500 and 3,000 residents. In both cases, we hope to be able to host about 70 librarians at the Local Government Center in Concord, NH.

More details will be announced in the future, but the Small Libraries Summit Committee would like you to save those dates in case you might want to attend.

If you have questions about the upcoming Summits, please send them to me.

Many thanks,
Steve Butzel,

New ALA President and President-Elect

On June 29th, Molly Raphael, former director of libraries at Multnomah County Library in Portland, Ore. and the District of Columbia Public Library in Washington, D.C., began her term as 2011-2012 president of the American Library Association (ALA). You can learn more about her background here,

Some of Molly’s presidential initiatives/priorities include:

  1. Advocacy
  2. Diversity and Inclusiveness
  3. Defending libraries’ core values

Read more details here,

The new President-Elect is Maureen Sullivan who some, or many of you may know. She faciliated the New England Library Leadership Symposium a few years ago and did an incredible job. Currently, she is a library consultant and a professor of practice in the Ph.D. program, Managerial Leadership in the Information Professions, at the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. She also was the 2010 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year as selected by the Association of College and Research Libraries. You can learn more about Maureen here,

ALA Conference Report

Greetings from your ALA Councilor, Steve Butzel. Here is my report form the 2011 ALA Annual Conference which was held in New Orleans, LA this past week.

Given the numerous Council and Chapter meetings I am required to attend, I didn’t get to many programs at Annual, but I did enjoy attending the General Opening Session which was keynoted by Dan Savage. Also at the opening session, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced they had donated $300,000 to the ALA Spectrum Presidential Initiative which raises money for ALA’s national diversity and recruitment efforts. More info available here, Of the $300,000, $100,000 will be used as matching funds.

There were four resolutions that came forward to Council in advance of Annual.  All four were eventually passed. The four resolutions were:

1. Resolution to Recognize ALA Conference Services and Gale Cengage Learning for Providing Shuttle Bus Service Accommodating Attendees with Disabilities

  • I voted in favor of the resolution.

2. Resolution on Out of School Time Library Programs

  • This resolution called for support from national and local government bodies (as well as funding) for library programs designed to continue the learning opportunities available to youngsters beyond the school day. I voted in favor of the resolution.

3. Resolution to Protect Library User Confidentiality in Self Serve Hold Practices

  • This resolution generated the most discussion both in Council Forum and on the Council floor. Debate centered around the tension between theory and practice. The Intellectual Freedom Committee (which brought the resolution forward) listened to feedback and accepted a lot of input from the Public Library Association. As a result, a revised version of their original resolution passed with only a few dissenters.  I voted in favor of the resolution.

4. Resolution on Revised Guidelines for the ALA Intern Program

  • I voted in favor of the resolution.

There were a few resolutions that came from the ALA Membership Meeting to Council.  Two resolutions dealt with WikiLeaks, and a third was a related resolution on Bradley Manning.  The first resolution was rejected by a close vote, and the other two did not come to an official vote because quorum had been lost.

An important report was given to the Council by the ALA Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content. The report included a series of action items including allocating $200,000 to sustain staff efforts to address issues surrounding promoting equitable access to electronic content. The need for urgent action on this issue prevailed in discussion and in the vote, and the report was referred to ALA’s Executive Council.

ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels reported to the Council that on June 1, 2011, ALA held its first Virtual Town Hall Meeting which drew as many as 530 attendees from across the country and from around the world.  Questions submitted by attendees and a polling feature helped make this an interesting and successful virtual meeting.  Fiels indicated that Virtual Town Hall Meetings will become a regular feature of ALA.  He also warned that ALA will be dealing with the trend towards privatization of public libraries and developing initiatives to discourage this move away from public governance of libraries.

Finally, although attendance was lower than that of many other conferences in more heavily populated sites such as Chicago and Washington, it was markedly higher than the New Orleans Conference of 2006 and gave witness to the restored confidence in the City five years after the devastation of Katrina.

Please contact me if you would like more details about any of this,


Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content (EQUACC)

With all that is happening in our profession and related industries concerning e-content, I wanted to let you know about an important new task force that was recently started by ALA. It is the Presidential Task Force on Equitable Access to Electronic Content (EQUACC), and it was created to study challenges and recommend potential solutions in libraries for improved electronic content access, distribution and preservation systems.

The charge calls on the Task Force to work collaboratively with the Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) Advisory Committee’s E-book Task Force, another member group working exclusively on e-books. The OITP E-book Task Force’s focus is studying the public policy implications of the growing e-book marketplace and will provide informational and educational materials to the membership. In addition, both the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) and the Urban Libraries Council (ULC) also are working on these issues, and the plan is to work collaboratively with them as well.

I am hoping I will be able to attend a meeting held by the EQUACC Task Force at ALA in a few weeks,, but my responsibilities as councilor may prevent me from going. Either way, I’ll keep you abreast of developments.

I know it’s difficult to keep up with all the committees, divisions & acronyms within ALA, but I thought this one, EQUACC, was important for you to know about. Let me know if you have questions. You can also visit the task force’s website,

Collective Bargaining and Library Workers

With all that’s going on in Wisconsin regarding the rights of public union workers to collectively bargain for contracts, I thought I’d notify you about the following statement made by ALA President Roberta Stevens back on Feb. 24th.

American Library Association President Roberta Stevens on proposed collective bargaining legislation

CHICAGO –  As thousands protest proposed collective bargaining legislation in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio 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.

Legislative Success! Good Work, Everybody!

An update on LSTA funding from the ALA Washington Office blog District Dispatch…

“Good work, everybody! Because of ALA’s unprecedented grassroots efforts this week on amendment #35 to H.R. 1 (the Continuing Resolution to the FY2011 budget) was defeated! This victory for libraries is undoubtedly due to the strong grassroots efforts of librarians and library supporters all across the country.

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.

Today, as the U.S. House of Representatives wraps up floor debate on HR 1, Rep. Garrett has made it clear to us that he is no longer “pushing” for a vote on his amendment. Once the House passes H.R. 1, – likely today or tomorrow – t e budget will be sent over to the Senate where they will have the opportunity to make amendments and vote on this year’s budget bill.”

Read more of the post here…

URGENT: LSTA funding at risk due to new amendment

Some of you may have heard that the President’s proposed federal budget calls for about a 10% cut in Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) funding, including Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding. This is the major source of federal funding for libraries and is a huge part of the NH State Library’s budget, which along with many other things, pays for our electronic databases.

But what you may not have heard is that an amendment in the House to the FY2011 Continuing Resolution (Amendment #35, submitted by U.S. Rep. Scott Garret (R-NJ)) seeks to completely eliminate all LSTA funding. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

What can you do about this? ALA recommends contacting your Representatives in Congress and urging them to oppose Amendment #35 to the Continuing Resolution, and remind them of the following:

  • 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.

More information is available on the ALA Washington Office blog, District Dispatch,

Feel free to contact me as well with questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them.

– Steve Butzel, ALA Councilor

Report from ALA Midwinter Conference

Hello from your ALA Councilor, Steve Butzel. As the New Hampshire Chapter Councilor on the ALA Council, I recently attended the 2011 ALA Midwinter Conference. Today I’d like to give you an update on the report councilors received from Roberta Stevens, President of ALA.

At the ALA Council/Executive Board/Membership Information Session, President Stevens provided a brief overview of her complete report to the Association.  In particular, she highlighted her presidential initiatives, which you can learn more about at her website, The first initiative she discussed was “Our Authors, Our Advocates”, which is an effort to enlist well-known and beloved authors to speak out for libraries through video and audio PSAs and quotes.  Authors who have participated to date include Laurie Halse Anderson, David Baldacci, Carmen Agra Deedy, Sharon Draper, Sara Paretsky, Scott Turow, and Mo Willems.  More have been contacted and are expected to confirm their participation.  Visit for more information.  

She next reviewed her Frontline Fundraising initiative.  This initiative will provide librarians with tools and skills needed at the local level to supplement their budget regardless of the size and type of library. An online toolkit will be launched in February and will provide information on developing a fundraising plan and online giving, establishing a planned giving program, and conducting an annual fund drive.  

Finally she reviewed the "Why I Need My Library" Contest for teens, which will be soft-launched in January. This contest is intended to use young people to communicate why libraries are needed now more than ever. The initiative takes immediate-past-President Camila Alire’s member-driven, grassroots advocacy and Jim Rettig’s experimentation with social networking a step further with the aim of adding to the arsenal techniques for frontline advocacy and engaging a new constituency in supporting libraries. The products will be short videos by children and young adults made available on YouTube and the ilovelibraries and @yourlibrary websites. The winners will identify either their school or local public library as the beneficiary of cash prizes for the best videos in the contest.

Overall, I was very impressed with President Stevens throughout the entire conference. She did an excellent job facilitating what can be contentious Council sessions, and proved herself to be knowledgeable and enthusiastic about a wide range of ALA initiatives.

I’ll share more about the conference in future blog posts, but feel free to send me any questions you may have about the Midwinter Conference or about ALA in general. The more familiar I get with ALA’s numerous sections, roundtables, task forces and professional staff, the more I am impressed.

Steve Butzel, ALA Councilor, skbutzel at