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Avid museum goers, community leaders, museum professionals, and individuals who have encountered barriers to museum-going are encouraged to make their views known at one of three public hearings on the use of public funds for museums, announced Anne-Imelda Radice, director of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The institute is the primary source of federal funding for the nation’s museums and libraries.

“In order to fully understand the impact of public funds for museums, we must hear from interested members of the public on the use of taxpayers’ dollars for these cultural institutions,” Radice said.

IMLS is particularly interested in testimony from school coordinators, older people, special-needs groups, and directors of cultural tours. IMLS would also like to hear from leaders who can speak about the use of public funds for cultural purposes based on their understanding of county, state, and federal budgets and their experiences with any and all kinds of museums, including art, history, natural history, and children’s museums, as well as planetariums, science centers, gardens, and zoos.

Hearings will be held at three locations in March:

March 10, 2008: Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio
March 12, 2008: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri
March 14, 2008: Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

Radice and members of the National Museum and Library Services Board will listen to both formal and informal testimony. With the testifiers’ permission, testimony will be recorded and used as part of a report on the public funding of museums that will be released in summer 2008.

The public hearings are the last in a series of IMLS’s information-gathering efforts designed to determine the sources and uses of public funds for museums. Also part of the effort is a rigorous examination by the Urban Institute, which, through a cooperative agreement with IMLS, has gathered information about public funding for museums through a national survey as well as through individual interviews with museum professionals and museum funders in selected states, in order to compare the impact of different funding mechanisms. All the information gathered, including the perspectives from the public, will be part of the IMLS report.

To participate in the public hearings, please contact Mamie Bittner or Celeste Colgan. For more information on the IMLS Museum Study, see

About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

As a national cosponsor of Arts Advocacy Day and Humanities Advocacy Day, CAA encourages its members to participate in one or both of these important advocacy events, held annually in Washington, DC.

Arts Advocacy Day, taking place Monday and Tuesday, March 31-April 1, 2008, brings together a broad cross-section of America’s national cultural organizations to underscore the importance of developing strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts, the humanities, and arts education, as well as for other programs within the federal government that have an impact on the visual and performing arts.

Humanities Advocacy Day, administered by the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), takes place Monday and Tuesday, March 3-4, 2008. This event provides a unique opportunity for concerned citizens to communicate to Congress the vital importance of federal support for research and education in the humanities. The NHA’s annual conference also takes place during this time.

The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear the appeal of Kahle v. Ashcroft, brought by Internet Archive and Open Content Alliance founders Brewster Kahle and Rick Prelinger in 2003, which challenged the constitutionality of the current copyright regime. Although not unexpected, the Supreme Court’s refusal comes after a recent ruling by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals raised hopes of a review and lets stand the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ rejection, effectively ending the case.

Read the full article in the Library Journal.

Filed under: Advocacy, Intellectual Property