Washington eBulletin - September 2017

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Vol. 2017 Issue 09

A Look Ahead

Congress Prepares to Return from Recess

Members of Congress will return to Washington after Labor Day to face a full agenda, including raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government funded past September 30, 2017. AALL is carefully watching the next steps in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 appropriations process, particularly for the Government Publishing Office (GPO) and Library of Congress. 

The current House and Senate bills fund GPO at the requested levels, while the Library of Congress receives slightly lower levels than requested. Given the continued lack of regular order in the appropriations process, these Legislative Branch Appropriations agencies are faring relatively well. 

AALL will also be tracking how the House and Senate reconcile their different language on access to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports included in their Legislative Branch Appropriations bills. AALL prefers the Senate language, which specifically directs CRS to make its reports available through GPO. The House bill is slightly weaker, only "encouraging" CRS to consult with GPO in developing their plan "when practicable."

AALL Recommends Modest Changes to Title 44

AALL submitted recommendations to GPO's Depository Library Council (DLC) on the future of the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). Our recommendations came in response to DLC's call for comments on needed changes to Title 44 of the U.S. Code on Public Printing and Documents, including Chapter 19 on the FDLP. AALL is supportive of the existing structure of regional and selective depository libraries, but we acknowledge that Title 44 could be updated to reflect the digital age. 

We recommend:
  • Explicitly expanding the scope of the FDLP to include publications in all formats, including digital. §1901
  • Repealing the requirement that a depository library have a minimum of 10,000 books. §1909
  • Allowing for flexibility in the number of regional depositories, under certain requirements and with guidance from the Superintendent of Documents. §1912
  • Giving grant-making authority to GPO so that it may support preservation and cataloging projects and other initiatives that expand permanent public access to federal government information.
  • Allowing libraries the option for digital deposit. Wide distribution of government information helps to ensure preservation.
Many individual AALL members and several law and university libraries also submitted comments to DLC. Thank you for participating in this important process! DLC will present its draft recommendations at the Depository Library Council Meeting & Federal Depository Library Conference in October 2017. 

AALL is also preparing to submit comments this month to the House Committee on House Administration, which is driving the effort to update Title 44. Our comments will be submitted to the Committee by mid-September and shared with membership.

Roundup and Review
  • AALL signed on to a letter to Attorney General Sessions to express concerns with the Department of Justice's demand for information associated with the website DisruptJ20.org, used to organize protests on Inauguration Day 2017
  • AALL has joined Re:Create, a diverse coalition of trade associations, not-for-profits, advocacy groups, and think tanks advocating for balanced copyright rules