This came the other day from the ILA Government Affairs people. Be sure to contact the folks at your school and local libraries about how to use it. ICPL already has it, but this is a great tool for those who live in places that don't already have it.
Good news! Last Friday afternoon, Governor Branstad signed two appropriations bills, passed by the Iowa legislature this spring, that provide funding to support Iowa libraries.
The education appropriations bill, SF2321, restores $500,000 to Enrich Iowa funding for libraries. This funding will be divided proportionately among the three Enrich Iowa programs: Direct State Aid to Public Libraries; Open Access; and Interlibrary Loan Reimbursement. This means that your Enrich Iowa checks this fall will be, on average, about 18% larger than last year.
HF2337, the funding bill for the Department of Workforce Development, includes $150,000 to be allocated from IWD "to the state library for the purpose of licensing an online resource which prepares persons to succeed in the workplace through programs which improve job skills and vocational test-taking abilities."
Thanks for all of your hard work in letting both your legislators and the governor know about the LearningExpress online resource and Iowa libraries' need for such a product to assist job seekers!
(Please note: State of Iowa purchasing rules most likely will require Iowa Library Services to issue a Request for Proposal before an online resource can be purchased - even though Iowa Library Services issued an RFP for an online resource for job seekers 14 months ago, and LearningExpress was selected. The new RFP will be accomplished as quickly as possible and we'll keep you posted on the timeline.)
While the legislators did not cut the operating budget for Iowa Library Services, they did not increase it either. With a flat budget for the coming year, required but unfunded salary increases and a 37% budget cut over the past three years, ILS continues to struggle with limited resources. These cuts affect the level of service that ILS is able to provide to Iowa libraries in such areas as providing courses and workshops for librarians and trustees, purchasing databases for libraries, and supporting library infrastructure through the SILO Locator and the PLOW program.
Overall, this legislative session was positive for library issues. Please contact your legislators and the governor to thank them for the increase in Enrich Iowa funding and the funding for an online resource for job seekers.
Sarah Willeford – ILA Governmental Affairs Committee, Chair