June/July 2014

Carolyn Ashcraft
Carolyn Ashcraft   
State Librarian
This month we are sharing the latest news on the Federal Communications Commission proposed changes to E-Rate, an announcement from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation regarding its work with libraries and a report on the support by Arkansas libraries for the American Library Association's initiative, Libraries Change Lives: A Declaration for the Right to Libraries.
 We are also sharing Arkansas Center for the Book news, photos from a couple of summer reading program events, and news from IMLS on the recently released results from a survey of State Library Administrative Agencies.
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In This Issue
FCC to discuss proposed E-Rate changes
Arkansas libraries support Declaration for the Right to Libraries
Arkansas Center for the Book visit educational cooperatives
Summer reading program photos
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to end its work with libraries
IMLS publishes results of survey

Federal Communications Commission to discuss proposed changes to E-Rate rules

Actions by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Tom Wheeler, indicate that changes to the E-Rate program are on the horizon beginning as early as Funding Year 2015.  Wheeler has placed E-Rate Modernization on the tentative agenda for the FCC's next open meeting July 11 in Washington, DC.  The event will be shown live at FCC.gov/live.

     The primary objective of Wheeler's draft Order is to close the Wi-Fi gap.  He wants to commit at least $1 billion in support to Wi-Fi in 2015, followed by another $1 billion in 2016 with predictable support continuing in future years.  Wheeler wants to begin a multi-year transition of all program funding to broadband by gradually phasing down support for non-broadband services.  Other objectives of the Order are to make current E-Rate funding go farther and to simplify and expedite the application process. 

     Over the past year the FCC has issued two public notices regarding proposed E-Rate changes. The Arkansas E-Rate Working Group, comprised of members from the Arkansas State Library, Arkansas Department of Education and the Department of Information Services submitted comments to the FCC reflecting the Arkansas E-Rate perspective. Comments regarding E-Rate changes and their effect on public libraries were submitted to the FCC by the American Library Association. 

     Any changes made to the E-Rate program will be highlighted in training offered by Amber Gregory in November 2014. 

     For information on the E-Rate program, please visit http://www.library.arkansas.gov/Erate/Pages/default.aspx or contact Amber Gregory, coordinator of E-Rate services.

Arkansas libraries support American Library Association's Libraries Change Lives: Declaration for the Right to Libraries project

More than 7,500 Arkansas library supporters signed the Declaration for the Right to Libraries, according to the Arkansas report posted on the Arkansas Library Association's web site.

     During February, March and April, Arkansas libraries rallied to promote the declaration.

  • Displays, word-of-mouth promotions, social media campaigns, special programs, anniversary events and other celebratory initiatives were embraced by 58 participating libraries, garnering 7,927 signatures.
  • All library types were represented with 15 academic libraries, 30 public libraries, 9 school libraries and 4 special libraries and associations joining the Arkansas campaign.
  • Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe signed the Declaration for the Right to Libraries on April 4, affirming that all citizens in The Natural State have the right for vibrant libraries in their communities!

     Additional highlights from the statewide initiative can be found in the report.

     Libraries Change Lives: Declaration for the Right to Libraries is an initiative started in 2013 by Barbara Stripling,  former Arkansas librarian and president of the American Library Association.  Hadi Dudley, director of the Bentonville Public Library, spearheaded the Arkansas effort.

Arkansas Center for the Book promotes projects during visits to education cooperatives

Jessica McGrath and Zoe Butler will be visiting all 15 of the educational cooperatives this summer to make presentations on several Arkansas Center for the Book projects, including the Arkansas Teen Book Award, Letters About Literature and the Book Club project.

     Teachers and librarians get professional development credit if they attend these presentations. 

     McGrath, who leads the Arkansas Teen Book Award effort, says, "We are traveling across the state to get the word out to as many librarians in as many school districts as possible. We're promoting the award, showcasing this year's titles, and signing up volunteer readers."

     Teens are reading books from the Arkansas Teen Book Award Reading List announced in November 2013 and will vote on their favorite books during Teen Read Week in October. Winners will be announced in November.

Photos from summer reading programs 

Most Arkansas' public libraries are holding special programming for students this summer as part of the Fizz, Boom Read! summer library program. Here are a couple of photos. 


Tommy Terrific was one of several performers who entertained youngsters this summer at the Rector Public Library.  (Photo by Brenda Shelton.)


The Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library kicked off its summer library program with an off-site program featuring children's author Eric Litwin at Turtle Creek Mall in Jonesboro.  From left to right, are Stacie Madkins, children's services staff member, Litwin, Pete the Cat (Brandon Lucas, children's services page,) and Morgan Sallee, assistant youth services manager. More than 1,000 kids and family members attended the program.
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to end its work with libraries

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has decided to conclude its work in Global Libraries in the next three to five years.

     Deborah Jacobs, director of the foundation's Global Libraries initiative, made the announcement in a post on the Impatient Optimists blog.

     Arkansas was one of six states that was awarded a grant in 1998 to provide public access to the Internet in all the public libraries in the state.  During 1998 and 1999 staff from The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation worked with the Arkansas State Library and Arkansas public library staff members in Arkansas and in Seattle.  By the end of June 1999, 209 Arkansas libraries had new computers, software and Internet connections installed.
     Over the years, the foundation awarded six additional sustainability grants to the Arkansas State Library.
     In her blog post Jacobs wrote, "This transition will happen slowly with no programmatic changes to our budgets this year or next year, and we are planning a smooth transition for our staff, grantees and the field. While libraries will continue to change and evolve, we're confident the legacy of our 20-year, $1 billion investment will help ensure the global libraries field continues to provide opportunities for access for library users around the world. "

IMLS Publishes Results of State Library Administrative Agency Survey for Fiscal Year 2012

      The Institute of Museum and Library Services issued the State Library Administrative Agency (SLAA) Survey for Fiscal Year 2012 Report , which provides a view of the condition of state library administrative agencies in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.  

2 color IMLS logo      State library administrative agencies administer federal funds through the IMLS Grants to States program and play a crucial role in helping libraries within their state meet the demand for content and services by establishing statewide plans for library services, investing in technology and content, and providing support for local programming.

     The results of this study show that while SLAAs continue to shape library services in their states, they have faced a period of declining revenues. The revenue from federal, state and other sources to SLAAs totaled nearly $1 billion in FY 2012, a 27 percent decrease in revenue from FY 2003 and a 12 percent decrease from FY 2010. The overall decline in total revenue is due to declines in state revenue, which decreased 15 percent from FY 2010 and decreased 32 percent FY 2003. The majority (77 percent) of revenue for state library administrative agencies is derived from the states themselves.



     One impact of the revenue decline has been an overall reduction in staff at SLAAs. Between FY 2009 and FY 2012, there was an 11 percent decrease in the total number of Full Time Equivalent SLAA staff positions.

     IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth said, "The reduction in support for state library agencies is an alarming trend. These agencies have an important role at the state level in administering federal funds and providing services to public, school, academic, and specialized libraries."

     SLAAs provide a variety of services that expand learning and access to information. Some of the services described in the FY 2012 report include the following:

  • Funded summer reading programs (50 states in FY 2012)
  • Supported continuing education programs for library staff (50 states in FY 2012)
  • Reviewed technology plans for federal E-rate discount program funds (50 states in FY 2012)
  • Funded or facilitated statewide database licensing; text or data files; or electronic information networks (50 states)
  • Facilitated digitization programs and services  (40 states in FY 2012)
  • Operated interlibrary loan referral services (38 states)
  • Operated libraries for the blind and physically handicapped and state centers for the book.

     The purpose of the SLAA survey is to provide state and federal policymakers, researchers, and other interested users with descriptive information about state library administrative agencies. The federal government has been collecting statistical data on SLAAs since 1994, and this report marks the sixth release of state library statistics from IMLS. It contains data on SLAAs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for FY 2012. The data were collected through the SLAA Survey, a product of a cooperative effort among the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), IMLS, and American Institutes for Research (AIR).

     For more information about individual states, see the Grants to States Program Profiles page on the IMLS website.  It features an interactive map and links to pages with details about each state's programs, LSTA allotments, plans, and project examples.



This newsletter is made possible by a grant from U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Arkansas State Library under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.


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