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Weekly News Digest

April 6, 2021 — In addition to this week's NewsBreaks article and the monthly NewsLink Spotlight, Information Today, Inc. (ITI) offers Weekly News Digests that feature recent product news and company announcements. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today. For other up-to-the-minute news, check out ITIís Twitter account: @ITINewsBreaks.

CLICK HERE to view more Weekly News Digest items.

Congressional and State Legislature Updates

Two bills have been introduced that info pros should watch closely.

First, on March 24, Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) introduced a bill, “the Guarding Readers’ Independence and Choice (GRINCH) Act, which would safeguard access to historical literature and combat growing threats to Americans’ First Amendment rights. … In recent weeks, classic authors, including Dr. Seuss, have been criticized for materials deemed to be offensive by the media. The GRINCH Act would protect authors and literature from the cancel culture that has become intertwined with public education [by prohibiting] states and local government agencies from receiving funding under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants program if they ban books. For further details, read the full text of H.R. 2147 … here.”

Second, Publishers Weekly reports:

A Maryland state bill that would ensure public libraries the right to license and lend e-books that are available to consumers is headed to Governor Larry Hogan’s desk.

After passing the Maryland General Assembly unanimously on March 10, the bill sailed through the final steps of reconciliation this week, and is now ready to be signed into law. Hogan is known in Maryland to be a strong supporter of libraries, and library advocates say they are hopeful he will sign the bill. …

First introduced in January, the bill (HB518 in the House of Delegates and SB432 in the Senate) specifically requires that ‘a publisher who offers to license an electronic literary product to the public to also offer to license the product to public libraries in the State on reasonable terms that would enable public libraries to provide library users with access to the electronic literary product.’

In addition, ALA released a statement “welcom[ing] the release of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, an outline for modernizing the nation’s infrastructure. The plan includes certain investments in educational infrastructure, workforce development, broadband, and energy efficiency; however, the plan omits funding for library facilities, such as the bipartisan Build America’s Libraries Act … [which] would provide $5 billion to support long-term improvements to public and tribal library facilities in underserved areas, such as communities of color and rural areas, while also creating jobs. … The Build America’s Libraries Act currently has 85 bipartisan House sponsors and 12 Senate sponsors, and is supported by 30 organizations. … ALA is asking library advocates to urge the White House and Congress to ensure library facilities are included in any infrastructure package.”

Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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