Library Advocates

ALA Washington Office

The American Library Association's Washington Office tumblr. We post about federal policies that affect libraries, including copyright, privacy and access. We also post about ebooks and, admittedly, the occasional library fluff.

Library Advocates

Posts tagged intellectual freedom

Mar 4
Book ban request fails — again

Steve McQueen became a box office star when he drove a 1968 Ford Mustang GT to its limits while portraying a police detective in the movie “Bullitt.”
In his personal life, the popular movie star moved even faster — he was married three times, professionally raced cars, drank and smoked heavily and reportedly the police once found a hit list with his name on it.
But not everyone thinks his biography — “Steve McQueen, King of Cool: Tales of a Lurid Life” — should be on the shelves of the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library.
The book was one of a handful that have been “challenged” by library patrons over the last few years in an attempt to have them removed or placed in a specific section of the building, explains Heidi Holland, the director for the local library district.

Book ban request fails — again

Steve McQueen became a box office star when he drove a 1968 Ford Mustang GT to its limits while portraying a police detective in the movie “Bullitt.”

In his personal life, the popular movie star moved even faster — he was married three times, professionally raced cars, drank and smoked heavily and reportedly the police once found a hit list with his name on it.

But not everyone thinks his biography — “Steve McQueen, King of Cool: Tales of a Lurid Life” — should be on the shelves of the Flagstaff City-Coconino County Public Library.

The book was one of a handful that have been “challenged” by library patrons over the last few years in an attempt to have them removed or placed in a specific section of the building, explains Heidi Holland, the director for the local library district.


Feb 22

Dec 13

Nov 13
How an outdated law may endanger your fourth amendment rights
ECPA was last updated in the mid-1980s and describes the lengths that government may go to in order to access private digital information. At a time when cloud computing is taking off and more and more of our daily interactions take place in the cloud, clarity of this law is essential. The government currently claims that our private information that resides in the cloud and the location information that can be accessed via our mobile phones is accessible without a warrant.
We firmly disagree! The 4th amendment reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Vanishing Rights is a campaign to help fight for our rights that were guaranteed in the 4th amendment. Now is the time to update ECPA to ensure that we receive privacy in our electronic communications just as we do for a letter sent via the US Postal Service.

How an outdated law may endanger your fourth amendment rights

ECPA was last updated in the mid-1980s and describes the lengths that government may go to in order to access private digital information. At a time when cloud computing is taking off and more and more of our daily interactions take place in the cloud, clarity of this law is essential. The government currently claims that our private information that resides in the cloud and the location information that can be accessed via our mobile phones is accessible without a warrant.

We firmly disagree! The 4th amendment reads as follows:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Vanishing Rights is a campaign to help fight for our rights that were guaranteed in the 4th amendment. Now is the time to update ECPA to ensure that we receive privacy in our electronic communications just as we do for a letter sent via the US Postal Service.


Nov 12

Jan 18
The American Library Association (ALA) applauds the numerous websites  that have taken to the Internet to protest two Congressional bills –  PIPA and SOPA – in a very public way. By either going dark or  brandishing their website with a black box, sites such as Wikipedia,  Reddit, Craigslist, Google, Tumblr and many others, are demonstrating in  a very real way the potential impact of these bills.
Read the full article.

The American Library Association (ALA) applauds the numerous websites that have taken to the Internet to protest two Congressional bills – PIPA and SOPA – in a very public way. By either going dark or brandishing their website with a black box, sites such as Wikipedia, Reddit, Craigslist, Google, Tumblr and many others, are demonstrating in a very real way the potential impact of these bills.

Read the full article.


Jan 11

PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide

In case you missed it, our Assoc. Director in the Office of Government Relations, Corey Williams created this helpful PIPA, SOPA and OPEN Act Quick Reference Guide (pdf). If you’re just looking for tl;dr - The ALA will continue to voice strong opposition to PIPA and SOPA, while further analysis of the OPEN Act is needed.


Jan 9

Dec 15
jonathan-cunningham:

Via Reddit- what Google will look like in 2012 when SOPA passes. Fill out the information below to be connected with the office of your Representatives:

jonathan-cunningham:

Via Reddit- what Google will look like in 2012 when SOPA passes. Fill out the information below to be connected with the office of your Representatives:


Dec 13


The clock is ticking and the time to act is NOW to STOP SOPA!  On  Thursday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m. (EST) the U.S. House of  Representatives Committee on the Judiciary will meet to markup and potentially vote in committee on H.R. 3261,  the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA.  This egregious bill, introduced  in October by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), not only threatens the future of  the Internet as we know it, it jeopardizes protections currently enjoyed  by individual citizens, as well as libraries. The bill has the  potential to do significant damage in a number of ways – including the  possibility of criminal prosecution of a library for streaming,  censorship of internet activity, invasion of privacy rights, and even  threatens national cyber security, among others.
With less than 48 hours to markup, what can you do? You can ACT and it’s easy!
Call your member of Congress – we’re targeting the members of the House Judiciary Committee.  However, don’t hesitate to call your own member even if they are not on  the committee.  The louder and farther the reach of our message at this  critical time the better!
Easy, step-by-step instructions on how to place the call, along with  talking points to communicate your position, are all available at the  ALA’s Legislative Action Center’s (LAC) special alert titled “Ask your Representative to vote “NO” on SOPA” (Talking points included!)
Please complete the LCA “feedback” card after you act.
Tell your colleagues and friends (via email, twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) that you acted to help protect the future of the internet on behalf of libraries and those you use them and forward this message or send them the alert so they can act, too!
Additional Related Information:
Although a Manger’s Amendment to bill H.R. 3261 (pdf) was submitted on Monday, December 12 by Rep. Smith, the revised  language addresses only some of the many significant concerns raised.   The ALA had sent a letter to the U.S. House Judiciary leadership raising specific copyright-related concerns on behalf of libraries.
Late last week Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Wyden (D-OR) introduced draft  bill language for the “Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital  Trade Act” or OPEN.  In the spirit of openness and transparency, they  created a web site www.keepthewebopen.com allowing the public to review the draft text and comment.  The ALA, as member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), sent a letter (pdf) thanking the congressmen for the draft bill and for their  inclusive public process.  (More attention will be devoted in the coming  days and weeks to this draft bill language after the markup on SOPA on Thursday!)
Our friends at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) have done a terrific job collecting the letters to Congress, In the Press and on blogs and the list of organizations and individuals opposing SOPA, if you’d like to track what others are saying.
Calling your U.S. Representative to ask them to vote “NO” on SOPA is easy and an effective way to advocate for libraries and those we serve!
Corey Williams Associate Director, Office of Government Relations American Library Association

The clock is ticking and the time to act is NOW to STOP SOPA!  On Thursday, December 15 at 10:00 a.m. (EST) the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary will meet to markup and potentially vote in committee on H.R. 3261, the “Stop Online Piracy Act” or SOPA.  This egregious bill, introduced in October by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), not only threatens the future of the Internet as we know it, it jeopardizes protections currently enjoyed by individual citizens, as well as libraries. The bill has the potential to do significant damage in a number of ways – including the possibility of criminal prosecution of a library for streaming, censorship of internet activity, invasion of privacy rights, and even threatens national cyber security, among others.

With less than 48 hours to markup, what can you do? You can ACT and it’s easy!

  1. Call your member of Congress – we’re targeting the members of the House Judiciary Committee. However, don’t hesitate to call your own member even if they are not on the committee.  The louder and farther the reach of our message at this critical time the better!
  2. Easy, step-by-step instructions on how to place the call, along with talking points to communicate your position, are all available at the ALA’s Legislative Action Center’s (LAC) special alert titled “Ask your Representative to vote “NO” on SOPA(Talking points included!)
  3. Please complete the LCA “feedback” card after you act.
  4. Tell your colleagues and friends (via email, twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.) that you acted to help protect the future of the internet on behalf of libraries and those you use them and forward this message or send them the alert so they can act, too!

Additional Related Information:

  • Although a Manger’s Amendment to bill H.R. 3261 (pdf) was submitted on Monday, December 12 by Rep. Smith, the revised language addresses only some of the many significant concerns raised.  The ALA had sent a letter to the U.S. House Judiciary leadership raising specific copyright-related concerns on behalf of libraries.
  • Late last week Reps. Issa (R-CA) and Wyden (D-OR) introduced draft bill language for the “Online Protection & Enforcement of Digital Trade Act” or OPEN.  In the spirit of openness and transparency, they created a web site www.keepthewebopen.com allowing the public to review the draft text and comment.  The ALA, as member of the Library Copyright Alliance (LCA), sent a letter (pdf) thanking the congressmen for the draft bill and for their inclusive public process.  (More attention will be devoted in the coming days and weeks to this draft bill language after the markup on SOPA on Thursday!)
  • Our friends at the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) have done a terrific job collecting the letters to Congress, In the Press and on blogs and the list of organizations and individuals opposing SOPA, if you’d like to track what others are saying.

Calling your U.S. Representative to ask them to vote “NO” on SOPA is easy and an effective way to advocate for libraries and those we serve!

Corey Williams
Associate Director, Office of Government Relations
American Library Association