TLA TEXLINE NO. 257
Posted: February 1, 2010 • LEGISLATIVE ISSUES NETWORK

In this issue: Librarian Jobs for Main Street Bill

The American Library Association has sent out the following urgent message.

Please contact Senators Hutchison and Cornyn and ask each of them to request that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) include the hiring and retaining of librarians in the $18 billion “Jobs Bill.”

Background

The current draft of the Senate's $80 billion version of the Jobs for Main Street Act does not include librarians. However, the bill does include $20.5 billion for “Creating Jobs that Provide Public Services” which includes $18 billion for hiring and retaining teachers; $500 million for hiring firefighters; $500 million for hiring police and $1.5 billion for hiring and training youth.

This bill could come up at any moment and it is critically important that you contact Texas senators immediately and tell them to push the Senate leaders to include librarians in the jobs bill. Don’t just call once – keep calling until we succeed. Make sure to tell Senators Cornyn and Hutchison’s offices what your library is doing to help people find jobs.

TALKING POINTS - “JOBS FOR MAIN STREET ACT”

  1. Libraries play a key role in getting America back to work again. Nationwide, the library is the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of Americans. With more and more job applications only being accepted online, the public library is becoming the center of most American’s job searches.
  2. State Library Agencies reported in November 2009 that 77 percent of states cut funds that support local public libraries, which has meant layoffs, staff furloughs, and forced retirements. This has caused a 75 percent cut in services to the public including canceled statewide databases used for job searching, homework help, and cuts in 24/7 reference, which are used by small businesses and students.
  3. Our proposal to be a part of the $20.5 billion program to create jobs that provide public services would not add any additional funding, but would give libraries a specific amount to draw on.
  4. The money would be used for library jobs that are focused on assisting patrons with getting back to work – thereby having the impact of assisting literally millions of Americans find employment. None of these funds would be used for facilities or equipment.
  5. These funds would be distributed in a clear, concise, affirmative manner. Funds would be distributed to states using a formula through IMLS based 50 percent on population, and 50 percent on relative unemployment (similar to the Department of Labor’s Dislocated Worker Program).
  6. The Chief State Library Officer in each state would be responsible for distributing funds to local public libraries based on their local needs.
  7. A minimum amount of funding per library could offer one library staff job per building based upon need and a maximum of five full-time staff.
  8. Funds would be limited to hiring back staff released due to budget cuts, recruiting new staff and/or expanding staff services around job searching and employment skills training.

Sen. John Cornyn
517 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-2934
http://cornyn.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Contact.ContactForm
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
284 RUSSELL SENATE OFFICE BUILDING WASHINGTON DC 20510
(202) 224-5922
http://hutchison.senate.gov/contact.cfm

You can also go to http://capwiz.com/ala/tx/state/main/?state=TX&view=issues#3 and click the first TAKE ACTION button:  Out of Work Librarians Need Your Help NOW!.