ALA offers expertise, resources to incoming administration and Congress

American Library Association's picture

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, DC — The American Library Association offers its expertise and resources to the incoming administration and the new and returning members of Congress from all parties elected on Nov. 8. 

“The American Library Association is dedicated to helping all our nation’s elected leaders identify solutions to the challenges our country faces,” ALA President Julie Todaro said. “We are ready to work with President-elect Trump, his transition team, incoming administration and members of Congress to bring more economic opportunity to all Americans and advance other goals we have in common.” 

Libraries themselves – 120,000 strong and embedded in the largest urban centers, small farming communities and school and university campuses – make up a robust national infrastructure immediately available to advance several policy priorities identified by the President-elect. As hubs of learning, literacy, job skills development and access to public services in virtually every community across the country, our nation’s libraries are ready and able now to expand the nationwide reach of these valuable services.

Some of these services are described in detail in a series of papers being released this week by ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy, including:

  • One Small Business at a Time: Building Entrepreneurial Opportunity in America’s Communities
  • America’s Libraries: Powering Broadband Adoption, Access and use
  • Libraries Help and Honor Our Veterans: Employment, Education and Community Connection

We trust that these resources will assist the new administration and Congress in addressing several areas of national interest announced on the website for the White House Transition Team, specifically in: 

Infrastructure: As many as 33 percent of American households lack home broadband connections. Libraries use broadband technologies to help citizens, especially in the most disadvantaged and rural areas, improve their education, find a job and start a business. Investments and public policies are needed to advance the deployment of widespread high-speed broadband capabilities to libraries and other community anchor institutions, as well as to the general population.

Education: Libraries provide opportunities for digital and traditional literacy training. From hosting technology camps to teaching coding skills to offering 3D printers, libraries foster the kind of computational thinking necessary for success in today’s world. Ensuring funding for federal block grants to states for the work of libraries will enable local governments to determine how to best meet the greatest needs in their own communities and make wise investments in education. 

Serving veterans: Libraries help address many of the challenges experienced by members of the military when they return to civilian life. Libraries help veterans (and their families) search for a job, improve and translate job skills to the civilian context and navigate bureaucracies to receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Further collaboration with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense will allow libraries to efficiently address the issues facing our returning veterans.

“Through new and strengthened collaborations, libraries are well-positioned to serve as an ever-stronger and flexible resource to advance critical national goals,” continued Todaro. “The U.S. library community looks forward to strengthening our partnerships with federal agencies, the new administration and other key stakeholders at all levels of government.”  

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