I need to do a little backtracking and pick up where I left off yesterday to tell the story in its entirety.
John and Corey were up again to discuss Internet and Telecom Issues. Specifically that we need ask for support in simplifying the application process by exempting regular receipts of E-rate from ADA compliance that tie up library funds in unnecessary escrow. Those of us in schools might not have to deal with this directly, but our public library directors can feel the pain. We might also need to get more involved in these discussions in our schools with our IT directors. There were some other issues, but mainly the simplification process is the main issue.
While Yvonne and I were involved in the Internet Telecom briefing, Carol attended a session titled “Stump the Washington Office, Q&A.” Here they reviewed issues that were discussed in the sessions, but more of a open session instead of a panel. If anyone out there was at this session and would like to comment, that would be great.
Our final discussion was about Stimulus money. Here things get a little tricky. The first wave of money was basically distributed to the states and is expected to filter down to individual school districts. As many of us know, this happened very quickly and the actually educational practitioners have yet to see the money in action at their schools. My understanding is that most of this money was allotted to Title 1 programs, and that most secondary schools do not quality for Title 1 status. If you are concerned about this money and the transparency of usage, then please comment. I think that school libraries may need to work together to evaluate where and how this money is being used to strengthen literacy instruction of all kinds throughout the schools. Even if we are not able to be part of the decision making process, I believe it is important for us to be part of the conversation and understand how the money is being used.
The second wave of stimulus money will be in the form of competitive grants. Here the Fed is going to encourage partnerships with schools, governments, higher ED, public libraries and perhaps even private companies. We need to make sure that our legislators know that a big chunk of this money needs to be set aside for library services of all kinds.
By 5:00 we were free to go and debrief in our room. Carol, Yvonne, and I read over our notes and made sure we understood all the issues. I am not saying that I totally get what is going on, but I knew a lot more than before I arrived in DC!
Yvonne and I trotted around the capital to the ALA reception where we hobnobbed and shared stories with other US librarians. Here I met up with Kristen from the ALA GRO and we chatted about Tweeting the next day. A group of us talked about using #nlld and #nlld09 as the hash tags. You can search twitter for these tags to find all the postings. I unfortunately FAILED to get many tweets out, but more on that later.
Here is a picture of the reception in the Rayburn foyer.
On the way back to the hotel, I looked around the grounds on Capitol Hill. Here is a picture of the rotunda.
Did you notice the weird and menacing clouds? Well, we didn’t! Yvonne and I stopped to ooo and ah over some baby ducklings in the reflection pool and promptly got caught in a rain storm a few blocks from the hotel. We ran, got really cold and wet, and it was NOT fun!
Up in the room, I dried off and went down to the restaurant to get some dinner. The bartender recommended Oyster Po Hoecakes (yes, hoecakes), and feeling adventurous, I ordered it.
Here is a picture of the Hoecakes.
What you are seeing is fried oysters on a bed of shredded lettuce, drizzled with chow chow remoulade on top of very thin cornbread pancakes. It was actually pretty good, and spicy.
After this, I was up in the room blogging.
I will post about the actual meetings with the congressional aids in the next blog.If anyone else was in DC, please comment and let us know how things were for you!