On February 3, 2016, Librarians and library supporters from across the state of Maryland gathered in Annapolis to take part in the Maryland Library Association’s (MLA) Library Legislative Day. The day began here at the Law Library with a breakfast provided by the Law Library Association of Maryland (LLAM). During breakfast, Margaret Carty, Executive Director of MLA, and Denise Davis and Mary Baykan of the Legislative Panel of the Maryland Library Association (MLA) briefed attendees on current issues affecting public libraries in Maryland and provided talking points for library supporters to keep in mind as they met with their Maryland senators, delegates and other officials later in the day.
After the morning’s briefing, librarians and library supporters met with their legislators to discuss public libraries in Maryland and, in particular, the following two House Bills:
- HB 138 – Task Force to Study the Placement of Library Services with the Education Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland – This bill seeks the creation of a task force to study where the most effective place should be for Maryland public libraries within the current education framework as public libraries’ educational mission has expanded significantly since the current Maryland library law was written over 60 years ago.
- HB 144 – Libraries – Regional, State, and County – Funding – This bill does not seek additional funds. Rather, it seeks to shorten the length of time to realize the full increase in funding support for public libraries that was previously passed by the General Assembly.
Later in the afternoon, Citizens for Maryland Libraries (CML) held its Annual Meeting at the Law Library. CML is a Maryland statewide network of individuals and organizations that advocates for libraries and library services. To learn more about CML, check out their website here. The evening concluded with the Library Legislative Reception at the Miller Senate Office Building. For more information, check out MLA’s website and the MLA Legislative Panel Blog!
Support Maryland Public Libraries! Marylanders are visiting and using public libraries more than ever before with 28 million Marylanders visiting a library in 2014, and more than 7 million people utilizing their public library to access the internet. Public libraries provide many Marylanders with their primary access to information services and technology. Educational opportunities at public libraries include programs and services for children to improve reading skills and STEM-related programs. Adult learners access continuing education at public libraries in a wide variety of areas such as basic computer skills, professional development and writing as well as job search assistance.
At the Law Library, which is open to the public, we organize and coordinate programs that connect Marylanders with free legal information and limited legal advice. This includes our weekly Ask a Lawyer in the Library program where people can sign up to talk to a volunteer attorney for up to twenty minutes about a civil, non-family law matter. Each month, we have a Foreclosure Clinic that connects people facing foreclosure with volunteer attorneys. In addition, the Law Library has hosted programs on personal bankruptcy and other legal topics. To date, over 2,600 people have received FREE legal information and limited legal advice on matters including auto accidents, bankruptcy, civil procedure, contracts, foreclosure, licenses, property, trusts and wills.