Introduction

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.

Click here to read Bob Doyle's address to the Illinois House of Representatives Appropriations General Services Committee given Wednesday, 26 March 2014.

 

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.

Library Funding

The Illinois Library Association will work with a broad coalition of library advocates to improve funding for libraries.  The association will:

  • Work to restore legislated funding levels such as the school library per capita grants, and to continue to be vigilant to ensure public library per capita grants remain fully funded, and to explore alternative sources of library funding.
  • Support legislative proposals to mitigate the harmful effects of the tax cap limitation act.
  • Work with the legislature to increase the Secretary of State’s budget in order to increase the funding for the Illinois State Library.
  • Work with the legislature to ensure responsible pension systems.

 

Intellectual Freedom and Privacy
The Illinois Library Association is committed to protecting intellectual freedom and privacy while providing open access to information for all Illinois residents.  The association will:

  • Continue to educate the public on the safe use of the Internet, including interactive web applications, by children.
  • Continue to oppose legislation mandating the use of Internet filters in libraries.
  • Encourage governing boards of schools and libraries to develop an Acceptable Internet Use Policy with input from their community.
  • Continue to oppose legislation that erodes the privacy of library users.

 

Access to Library Services
The Illinois Library Association believes access to library services should be a right and responsibility of every Illinois resident.  The association will:

  • Oppose legislation that would erode public library service areas.
  • Work to extend tax-supported public library service to the 9 percent of Illinois residents currently unserved.
  • Work to ensure libraries are established in good faith with intentions to operate as a library.
  • Work to ensure that school library legislation is expanded to equip all school libraries with certified media personnel.
  • Support initiatives that increase connectivity by ensuring libraries are critical partners in cost-effective broadband planning and build-out.

 

Increase Effectiveness of Illinois Libraries
The Illinois Library Association is committed to promoting legislation that will increase the effectiveness of Illinois libraries.  The association will:

  • Work to develop library legislation that is comparable to legislation benefiting other entities of government.
  • Work to develop initiatives that improve the ability of Illinois libraries to provide library services to the citizens of Illinois.

Provide measured, thoughtful direction for legislation that could provide administrative cooperation and public service enhancement that result in economies of scale to public libraries.