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Illinois libraries provide a high rate of return on investment to the taxpayers they serve. They link people to information, act as a focal point of the communities they represent, and level the playing field by making resources equally available to all members of their constituency. As Illinois residents have become more diverse, libraries have developed collections and services to meet the unique and varying needs of these distinct populations.
The ILA Public Policy Committee (PPC) works with the Illinois State Library and the broader library community to maintain open communications with state officials. The Illinois State Library provides guidance and grants to all libraries. It negotiates contracts and serves as a resource for all libraries in the state.
Public and school libraries receive per capita grants from the state that provide critical services. For smaller, less affluent libraries, these grants can be the only funding for materials or technology. These grants are even more important during difficult economic times when other revenue sources have been eliminated.
One way libraries provide a healthy return on investment is by having skilled and knowledgeable librarians to answer questions, organize information, and guide customers through the maze of available data. In order to keep and attract highly skilled staff, libraries need to offer pay and benefits packages that compete with private industry.
Libraries are often the access point to the Internet for many Illinois residents. Again, skilled staff is needed to provide basic training to the public in new and emerging forms of communication, and to maintain the equipment. The three to five-year replacement span for maintaining updated hardware, and the ever-increasing need for added bandwidth, impose a significant cost upon libraries.
Throughout the year, PPC meets regularly to review all legislation with potential beneficial or harmful consequences for the library community. Working with legislative counsel, the committee will pay attention to issues ranging from library funding to intellectual freedom to pension reform for public employees. Its work will be shared with members through ILA’s communication channels and all members are encouraged to be active participants in keeping libraries on the agenda in their local communities and in Springfield.
2014 ILA Action Agenda
The Illinois Library Association is committed to serving as an advocate for libraries by developing legislative initiatives that: improve funding for libraries; protect intellectual freedom and patron confidentiality; expand access to information and library resources to all Illinois residents; and increase the effectiveness of Illinois libraries through cooperation, collaboration, and resource sharing.
The Illinois Library Association will work with a broad coalition of library advocates to improve funding for libraries. The association will:
Intellectual Freedom and Privacy
Access to Library Services
Increase Effectiveness of Illinois Libraries
Provide measured, thoughtful direction for legislation that could provide administrative cooperation and public service enhancement that result in economies of scale to public libraries.