The New York Library Association has released the 2019 Library Advocacy Agenda, declaring equitable access to information as a fundamental human right and calling on Governor Cuomo and legislative leaders to protect this right through aggressive investment in library services.
Information inequality plagues vulnerable, marginalized, and historically oppressed populations – New York’s failure to act risks creation of a permanent “digital underclass.”
The NYLA agenda includes:
• $200M for Library Aid;
• $75M for local public library capital and construction aid;
• $40M in 2020 Census Library-based Complete Count Activities, in this year’s state budget.
NYLA is also advocating for several changes in law to protect all New Yorkers’ rights to equitable access to information resources and education infrastructure:
Equal Access to School Libraries and Librarians
This long-standing priority calls for amending Education Law to require access to a certified school librarian for students in grades K-5. Current regulations provide for access beginning in grade 6.
Transparent Contracting with Educational Institutions
Many academic libraries are pressured into accepting non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) as part of their contracts with electronic resource providers. These NDAs stifle competition and transparency and negatively impact the buying power of the institutions.
Universal Access to the Public Library Construction Aid Program
Currently when accessing the Library Construction Aid Program, the locality is required to fund their project with a minimum 25% match. This threshold is unattainable to many small libraries, effectively barring their participation. A reduced local matching threshold of 10% is proposed.
The complete 2019 Library Advocacy Agenda is available at nyla.org/agenda