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Posts by: Steve Butzel

Freedom of Information Day Conference

The 13th annual National Freedom of Information Day Conference will be held Wednesday, March 16, at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum, 555 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.

American Library Association co-sponsors the Annual National Freedom of Information Day at the Knight Conference Center at the Newseum with the First Amendment Center, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, OMB Watch, and The National Security Archive at George Washington University.

The conference includes the announcement by the ALA of recipients of its annual James Madison Award. The ALA presents the Madison award to individuals or groups that have championed, protected and promoted public access to government information and the public’s right to know.

The conference, a full day of panel discussions and presentations, begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. ET.

There is no charge to attend, but because there is somewhat limited space, participants must register individually in advance. To register for the 2011 conference, e-mail or telephone Ashlie Hampton of the First Amendment Center at, or 202-292-6288. When registering, please provide your name, title, affiliation and contact information.

Source: District Dispatch

READS Award of Excellence

Lois Freeston (left), librarian at the Nesmith Library in Windham, is the 2010 recipient of the READS Award of Excellence. Presenting the award to Lois is Amy Lapointe, READS Past President and Director of the Amherst Town Library. The  is awarded each year at the READS fall conference to recognize outstanding contributions by an individual who has been instrumental in improving library service to adults.

2 NH Public Libraries Receive Funding from Recovery Act

Congratulations to the Richards Free Library (Newport, NH) and the Hinsdale Public Library upon receiving funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. According to yesterday’s news release from the USDA, The Richards Free Library will receive $5,600 to purchase and install an internet fiber connection in the library, and Hinsdale will receive $9,600 to purchase computers and software to automate library functions, allowing for barcoding capabilities for book inventory. Wow!

The $15 million in Recovery Act funding announced yesterday is being provided through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Program. It will be combined with $10.2 million from other sources. Altogether, 190 libraries across the country have benefited from Recovery Act funding. For a complete list of the library projects funded by USDA, click here.

ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur’an Reading

Fighting Fire with Free Speech: ALA Will Protest Book Burning with 9/11 Qur’an Reading

"Book burning is the most insidious form of book banning, and just as the American Library Association is preparing to celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, along comes one Rev. Terry Jones of the 50-member Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. The good reverend’s idea of world outreach is to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks of 2001 with a public burning of the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book…

Whether or not the Rev. Jones (who is no relation to ALA’s OIF director) proceeds with his plan, librarians and library advocates will assemble on the steps of the American Library Association headquarters in Chicago this Saturday at 1 p.m. for a public reading from the Qur’an to counteract the burning in Gainesville, and Banned Books Week will launch on September 25 with readings from the Qur’an.

“The librarians of America will not stand by and let ignorance rule,” says ALA Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels. “For every would-be book burner, there are thousands of readers who will speak out for the freedom to peaceably assemble and read whatever they choose."

Another reason to be proud to be a librarian, and a member of ALA…

Libraries Lend More Movies Than Netflix, Study Finds

According to a "survey, released this year by OCLC…public libraries in the United States lend an average 2.1 million videos every day, slightly more than the 2 million that Netflix ships. The other top two competitors, Redbox and Blockbuster, come in at 1.4 million and 1.2 million respectively, according to daily averages provided by company representatives."

At the same time, some librarians I have spoken with are seeing growth in DVD circulation starting to level off. What are DVD circulation statistics like at your library?

Souce of article is the Hartford Courant via The Huffington Post

SkyRiver and Innovative Interfaces File Major Antitrust Lawsuit Against OCLC

From Library Journal…

"Bibliographic services company SkyRiver Technology Solutions, joined by library automation company Innovative Interfaces, filed a lawsuit yesterday in federal court in San Francisco against OCLC, alleging a litany of anticompetitive business practices.

The move initiates a major legal battle between OCLC, a worldwide library membership organization, and two companies owned and founded by Jerry Kline.

It also represents the culmination of concerns expressed by some vendors and librarians that OCLC has used its tax-exempt status to behave not only as a giant library utility but a hard-nosed business. For example, if successful, the lawsuit could open up OCLC’s WorldCat database to commercial competitors."

Anybody in NHLA work at a library that is a SkyRiver customer?

Read more here,

Video from Library Advocacy Rally at ALA

Here’s a video clip from the Library Advocacy Rally down in Washington, DC on June 29th. Over 1,600 ALA members and advocates of all ages braved the 90-degree heat to take part in the largest federal advocacy event in ALA history.

At the rally, ALA President Alire emphasized the main themes of the advocacy day including increasing Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding to $300 million for FY2011 and including support for school librarians in the upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Pumping up the crowd for their meetings on the Hill following the rally, she led the group with the rally cry, “We’re going to tell them!”

Library Advocacy Day Rally from ALA Washington on Vimeo.

Libraries are winners in new BTOP and BIP awards

From ALA Dispatch

Libraries were well represented in the 66 BTOP (Broadband Technology Opportunities Program) and BIP (Broadband Initiatives Program) awards that the White House announced today.  Several libraries were named as grantees, and a number of the awards include libraries as key components of the projects.  

“It is tremendously satisfying to see libraries receive badly needed support for improving their broadband connectivity,” said Dr. Alan Inouye, director of the ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).  “ALA and others invested a lot in advocacy and education for the library community in the past year, and we’re pleased that our efforts helped to lead to a beneficial outcome for the library community.

Download a PDF of the Broadband Award Roster which includes the University System of New Hampshire, see below.

"The University System of New Hampshire will receive $44.5 million and estimates it will directly create almost 700 jobs by making broadband service more readily available to the state’s households and businesses. Almost 1 million people and approximately 12,000 local businesses and 700 community institutions stand to benefit from up to 10 Gbps as well as dark fiber IRUs. Partners seek to use this opportunity to create a "tech corridor" in New Hampshire."

First report on ALA Council at ALA Annual

This is the first of what I hope will be a couple of reports about my time down in DC as NH’s Chapter Councilor at ALA Annual. Rather than try to walk you through every resolution and discussion item that was brought before the Council, I’ll try to highlight some of the more interesting or controversial topics. If you would like more details, feel free to contact me, skbutzel (at) cityofportsmouth (dot) com.

Equal access to library services for all regardless of immigration status

Perhaps the most passionately discussed resolution was offered by REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking. (REFORMA is an affiliate of ALA.) Their resolution urged Congress to enact comprehensive immigration legislation reform that would ensure equal access to library services for all, regardless of immigration status. 

As their councilor explained, REFORMA was concerned about Arizona’s law S.B. 1070 and how it would impact libraries. In particular, they were concerned that librarians at those public libraries which are part of city governments might be required to ask patrons or visitors to prove their U.S. citizenship before they would be granted a library card or perhaps receive library services. They also expressed concern that members of their communities are not going to public libraries or other public places as often for fear of being confronted by public officials and potentially arrested.

In a Council discussion forum, councilors from across the country reported legislative efforts in their states similar to the one that produced S.B. 1070 in Arizona. The clear message was that these issues are not limited to librarians in Arizona or even border states.

While some councilors wanted to refine the language of the resolution, the resolution was voted on and passed.

Other resolutions that passed

  • To increase funding for the “Improving Literacy through School Libraries” program to $100 million
  • To include school librarians in the re-authorization of the elementary and secondary education act
  • To ensure equitable access to all formats of electronic content through libraries/equal access to 21st century communications (more details to follow on this one)
  • To increase the composition of the conference committee to include a representative from the Accessibility Assembly
  • To establish a retired members roundtable
  • To ensure non-discrimination in ALA conference contracts, (added transgendered persons as an additional criteria)
  • To support a joint digital pilot project by the Library of Congress and the Government Publishing Office


NH Librarians Join ALA Library Advocacy Rally in DC

Not a bad photo of 3/4ths of the NH contingent at today’s ALA Library Advocacy Rally: Irene Herold (Dean of Libraries at Keene State), Mike York (State Librarian) and Judy Haskell (NHLA President). I took the photo. Following the rally, Mike and Judy went to Capitol Hill to meet with our Senators and Representatives and ask for lots of financial support. Thanks Mike and Judy for your hard work!