Committed to serving as an advocate for Illinois libraries
ILA monitors all bills in the Illinois General Assembly that affect libraries. ILA's Public Policy Committee carefully reviews issues and recommends action: support, oppose, or monitor. We seek to indicate "monitor" status only as we are gathering information about a bill; the goal is to ultimately support or oppose laws that will affect libraries. In rare cases the impact on libraries remains unclear, or there is not consensus among librarians whether to support or oppose, but in general we try to avoid not taking a position.
In addition to monitoring bills, ILA proactively proposes and advocates for legislation favorable to libraries; drafting changes to existing law or new law, finding sponsors for bills we wish to bring forward, and then garnering support and following the process through passage in both the House and Senate, through signature into law by the Governor.
101st Illinois General Assembly, 2019 Spring Session
Illinois Library Association Initiatives
Refining language and making consistent for district and municipal libraries the current qualifications for serving as a library trustee: Public Act 100-1476/HB 2222, signed into law in September 2018, updated trustee eligibility to those who had lived in the district for at least one year, those who are not "in arrears in the payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the library district," and those who have not been convicted of a crime. ILA seeks first to change "payment of a tax or other indebtedness due to the library district" to "payment of a property tax;" primarily over concerns about breaching patron privacy. Second, we seek to have this law also apply to elected trustees under the Local Library Act so that municipal libraries and district libraries are treated consistently. SB 1149 has been introduced for this purpose.
Get libraries included in the list of units of local government eligible for pursuing performance contracting as a means of procurement in the Local Government Energy Conservation Act. Currently, Chapter 50 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes, dealing with local government, includes a provision in section 515/5 about cooperative purchasing that includes articulated language stating "'Unit of local government' means a county, township, municipality, or park district." Since units of local government are already defined, inclusive of library districts as "special districts," in the Illinois Constitution, ILA will seek to have the language above from 50 ILCS 515/5 stricken and replaced with "In addition to the definition prescribed to it by Article VII, Section 1 of the Illinois Constitution of 1970, a 'unit of local government' includes a school district for the purposes of this Act. HB 1464 has been introduced for this purpose.
Continue to work with our partner organization, the Association of Illinois School Library Educators (AISLE) on an eventual goal to have a licensed school librarian in all schools in the state. ILA and AISLE recognize this is a long-term goal with interim steps, strategic alliances, and other approaches to be developed. ILA will continue to work with AISLE to outline a strategy. Currently, there are several pieces of legislation in the Illinois General Assembly:
-HJR 9 Media Literacy Task Force: ILA and AISLE support this legislation, ideally with the addition of a licensed school librarian as one of the appointees.
-HR 10 No EDTPA: ILA and AISLE are monitoring this legislation, which proposes eliminating the EDTPA test as a requirement for professional educator licensure in Illinois. Licensed school librarians are required to have an underlying PEL along with a Special (PK-12) Endorsement in the concentration area of Library Information Specialist.
-HB 256 No Videotaping: ILA and AISLE are monitoring this legislation, which proposes no longer requiring a videotape of a student teacher in the classroom as a requirement for professional educator licensure in Illinois. Licensed school librarians are required to have an underlying PEL along with a Special (PK-12) Endorsement in the concentration area of Library Information Specialist.
-HB 1559 Media Literacy: ILA and AISLE support this legislation.
Additional Illinois Legislation
- HB 305 Municipal Convention Expenses (identical to HB 2075): ILA opposes this legislation, which would preclude the use of public funds for participation in continuing education events by librarians, library staff, and trustees.
- HB 307 Citizens Empowerment Act: ILA opposes this legislation, which would enable referenda to dissolve units of local government, on the grounds that library service is a public good and it is our goal to increase access to information and resources, not decrease it.
- HB 317, HB 320, HB 821, HB 924, HB 2320, HB 2630, HB 2835, HB 3281, SB 81, SB 1553, SB 1632 Property Tax Freezes: ILA opposes tax-freeze legislation, which preempts local control. Local library trustees’ and school boards' primary duty is to manage local revenues and expenditures. A freeze nullifies this most basic responsibility. A freeze is especially harmful when accompanied by unfunded mandates.
- HB 910 Library Elect-Appointed Board: ILA opposes this legislation, which seeks to allow a referendum for the city of Aurora to make its library board elected rather than appointed. ILA supports the rights of Aurora city residents to determine how their library board should be composed; there is already provision in state law for voters to convert a city library (which has an appointed board) to a district library (which has an elected board).
- HB 928, SB 1408, SB 1600, SB 1621, SB 2053 Census 2020: ILA supports these bills, which create appropriations for grants for Census 2020 outreach, and administrative funding and support for the Illinois Complete Count Commission.
- HB 933 Libraries--Securities & Assets and HB 3135 Local Accumulation of Funds: ILA opposes this legislation for the same reason we oppose property tax freezes; it pre-empts local control by boards and governing bodies.
- HB 1582 Broadband Procurement and Disclosure: ILA supports this legislation, which protects net neutrality and would require any service providers doing business with the state to disclose any activity that abridges that principal, such as "throttling," or creating "fast lanes" for internet content.
- HB 1637 Immigration Status: ILA supports this legislation, which keeps the responsibility for federal immigration status enforcement under its appropriate jurisdiction, not local schools or libraries, to ensure that these facilities remain safe and accessible to all Illinois residents.
- HB 2207 Public Office-Prohibited Acts: ILA opposes this on intellectual freedom grounds; this bill would prohibit units of government from opposing unit consolidation and elimination bills.
- HB 2283 Open Meetings Posting Records: ILA opposes this legislation because it would require public expenditure to gather public information already available currently.
- HB 2993 Citizens Empowerment Act: ILA opposes this legislation that would require a front-door referendum for annexing currently-unserved areas into a library district, on the grounds that library service is a public good and the burden should be on those who seek to limit it, rather than on those who seek to expand it.
- HB 3147 Open Meetings Act-Notice: ILA opposes this legislation because it would establish unreasonable public notice requirements.
- HB 3599 FOIA Government Associations and HB 3603 FOIA Government Associations: ILA opposes these identical bills, which would make "membership associations" as defined in the acts subject to FOIA. We oppose on the grounds that non-governmental members of such associations would be deterred from participation in such groups due to concern about being subject to FOIA requests. Note: ILA itself would not be subject to this law in any case, according to the current definition of "membership associations."
- SB 1216 FOIA-Fail to Disclose-Penalty: ILA opposes this legislation, which transfers the burden of proof of the need for a FOIA request from the requestor, to proof of a FOIA request's grounds for denial by the unit of government.
Support Libraries through Funded Appropriations
Fully fund fiscal year 2020 state appropriations for the Illinois Secretary of State’s grant programs, equalization grants, and per capita grants for public libraries, school libraries, and library systems. Approve appropriations for the Illinois State Library and higher education institutions including state university and community college academic libraries for the benefit of students, their families, and our communities.
Oppose Additional Unfunded Mandates
Hundreds of unfunded mandates have been imposed on units of local government. Libraries are among the smallest property tax recipients, and opportunities to raise other sources of revenue to address mandate imposition are virtually non-existent. Consequently, unfunded mandates often result in library service reductions, exacerbating the strain that has been placed on our schools, parks, and other community organizations.