Behind the MLA Scenes: MLA and Government Relations Committee

Many have been wondering what MLA has done for them regarding government lobbying and trying to advocate for the profession.

IF you are a member of MLA, it isn’t hard to find out what MLA is doing in this area.  Simply go to the Annual Reports and look for the Government Relations Committee (GRC) report. I have posted edited versions of their full report (edited due to space) here.  Check out their entire report, which shows how much more they are doing.

In the 2009/2010 report they…

  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH funding, patient safety, health information technology, etc.
  • Distributed three action alerts urging support for NIGH funding and FRPAA.
  • Planned a legislative update day for the 2010 meeting. Where MLA’s Washington representatives and Health Medicine Counsel of Washington provide key issues and information to members participating in MLA’s Capitol Hill Day.
  • Planned Capitol Hill Day for 2010 Annual Meeing. MLA members were given briefing packets, fact sheets and other information resources to use in their Hill visits.
  • Connie Shardt wrote Senators John Cornyn and Joe Lieberman expressing support for S. 1373
  • Requested opportunity to present testimony in Washington DC on behalf of MLA in support of NLM’s Fiscal Year 2011 appropriation
  • Hope Barton co‐chaired, along with J. Michael Homan, a working group of the task force to develop the statement, “Health Sciences Libraries and Health Care Reform: Providing Quality
    Information for Improved Health.”
  • Educated Congress and relevant federal and international agencies about importance of maintaining fair use in digital environment in support of health care, education and research

In 2010/2011 they some of the things they did were…

  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH Public Access Policy, America COMPETES, meaningful use of electronic health records.
  • MLA and AAHSL prepared testimony in support of NLM’s appropriation which was submitted to the House and Senate L-HHS Appropriations Subcommittees
  • Requested opportunity to present testimony Washington, DC on behalf of MLA in support of NLM’s Fiscal Year 2012 appropriation
  • Educated Congress about the role that funding for the National Library Medicine plays in support of our nation’s health care, education and research and the role health sciences librarians play
  • MLA sent a joint letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the House Committee on Science and Technology expressing concern about the public access provision section 123 of the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010.
  • In response to GAO September 2010 report (GAO-10-947) MLA, AALL and SLA wrote a to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Protection Agency (EPA) library network.

In 2011/2012 the GRC reported they…


  • More than 30 public policy updates have been distributed through the GRC and Legislative Task Force listservs
  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NIH and NLM funding, EPA’s Strategic Plan for its library network, Rederal Research PUblic Access Acts
  • An Action Alert was distributed on the Research Works Act
  • Submitted House testimony in March and Senate testimony in April on NLM Fiscal Year appropriation
  • Developed of the association’s annual testimony to the House Labor -HHS-Education Appropriation Subcommittee  and distributed current fact sheets, statistics, and anecdotal information with Congressional staff during Legislative Task Force Capitol Hill meetings each year.

In 2012/2013 the GRC reported they…


  • Published public policy updates in MLA Focus (lots of Focus issues listed) including NLM funding, impact of sequestration, Orphan Works, Meaningful use of Electronic Health Records.
  • Provided updates on FRPAA legislation, the Research Works Act, and OSTP initiatives related to public access policies
  • MLA and AAHSL submitted a joint statement to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies in March and to testimony to the Senate in April supporting NLM funding
  • Signed two group letters to Congress expressing concern about the impact of continued cuts on the NIH, urging Congress to support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that avoids further cuts.
  • MLA and AAHSL wrote to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations; Labor -HHS-Education and Related Agencies Submicommittees, etc. over concerns about the sequestration.
  • MLA signed onto an Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research letter expressing the research community’s concerns with several provisions related to the NIH appropriations bill
  • MLA signed onto a Coalition for Health Funding letter to Congress


As I mentioned this is just a snap shot of their submitted reports.  My fingers could not type everything and this blog is too small for the reports in their entirety.  To read the GRC’s complete annual reports, detailing their activities go to MLA’s Annual Reports page, click on a year then click on Committees and look for the Government Relations Committee.  Also click on Add Hoc Committees  and Task Forces to see what the Joint MLA/AAHSL Legislative Task Force is also doing in this area as well. To get a better idea of what MLA had done in ways of advocacy and policy check out their Information Issues and Policy page.

All of the MLA staff work to help advocate for medical libraries and librarianship, but they do have one staff person who is responsible for government relations and she works with the Government Relations Committee and MLA/AAHSL Legislative Task Force.  If you are concerned about medical libraries and librarians and would like advocate for them to the government and other political agencies then I am sure the Government Relations Committee would love to have your help.  Although the deadline to officially join a committee has past (October 31st), perhaps you can contact somebody on the committee for more information on how you can be of help advocating for the profession.






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