HSLI Newsletter

Serving Illinois Health Information Professionals

Legislative Committee Report – Illinois Library Day – Part 1 of 3

In part 1 of 3 in this report, Eric Edwards, M.L.I.S. Public Services Librarian at Benedictine University summarizes the training for Illinois Library Day 2012.

The training session for Illinois Library Day took place the evening of Tuesday, April 17, at the State House Inn. Approximately 40 Illinois Library Day participants attended. There was an overview of the main legislative issues affecting Illinois libraries. In particular, Senate Bill 2073 and Senate Bill 2862 were emphasized as having the potential to reduce significantly the amount of funding available to libraries, and other public services, in tax-capped counties. Senate Bill 3169 sparked some debate among attendees, as the bill concerns library services for the homeless; some attendees raised the issue of libraries’ having difficulty tracking items checked out by patrons who may not have a permanent address.

The other major legislative issue raised was the Illinois budget, and the likelihood of drastic cuts in pensions and Medicaid, which would affect significantly both employees and patrons at Illinois libraries, including medical libraries. The keynote speaker, legislative consultant Kip Kolkmeier, suggested that participants emphasize to legislators that Governor Pat Quinn and Secretary of State Jesse White have already approved of a budget that lessens the harshest impacts on libraries, and that the legislators themselves should join the governor and the secretary of state in supporting that budget. Mr. Kolkmeier advised that, in advocating for any legislation, including the budget, the goal should be to build relationships with legislators, so that if action on particular legislation becomes urgent in the future, legislators will be more knowledgeable of, and receptive to, the needs of libraries.

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