Call to Action – ASAP!
Update on Hearing on Library Bills: HB 1615 (background checks required) and HB 1452 (probationary period amendment) currently in the Municipal and County Government Committee.

The chair announced that the committee will determine their recommendation on the bills in executive session on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. That means the committee will consider any amendments proposed by committee members and decide whether to recommend the bills as “ought to pass as filed”, “ought to pass with amendment”, or be found “inexpedient to legislate” (killed). The public may attend this meeting but may not speak.

NHLTA and NHLA have asked members who live in the districts that committee members represent to contact their reps before January 22, share their opinions on HB 1615 and ask them to vote this bill “inexpedient to legislate”. Read the Action Letter. A list of Committee Members is on the Municipal and County Government Committee webpage (click on the name for the member’s contact information). Or check this LIST.

If you want to share your opinions on either bill and do not have a representative on the committee, contact the Chair of the House Municipal and County Government Committee.

Report on Hearing
NHLTA is following two bills this session, both of which had hearings before the House Municipal and County Government Committee on January 15, 2020. A number of NHLTA board members attended the hearings.
HB 1452 would establish a six-month probationary period for new hires at a library and limit the right of an employee being dismissed to request a public hearing to those who have been employed for longer than six months. NHLTA did not testify on this bill as we have decided to monitor the bill for now. The NH Library Association's legislative committee chair, Randy Brough of Laconia, spoke in opposition to the bill, while David Smolen, Conway Public Library’s director, explained why their library requested the legislation. (He said they incurred significant expense associated with the dismissal of an employee after only a couple months during which it had become obvious the employment would not work out; the employee requested a public hearing.) There were many questions from the committee, and it became clear that a number of committee members did not understand the current statute or the proposed amendment of the law. At the end of the hearing, several amendments were suggested, including adding language to allow for a probationary period (inserting that term into the statute) and to shorten the trial period to 90 days rather than 6 months. As you may recall, NHLTA polled our members on this issue, and while a majority indicated they favor the ability to use probationary periods for new hires, we concluded there were enough concerns voiced about changing the current law for NHLTA to take no position on this bill at this time.
HB 1615-FN would require libraries to conduct a criminal background check, including an FBI fingerprint check, of all persons who are performers or presenters of programs for minors sponsored by the library. There were a number of testifiers in addition to NHLTA: NHLA (Randy Brough again); the library director from Concord PL, the president of the Children’s Librarians of NH (a section of NHLA) who is from Nesmith Library; a lobbyist from the ACLU; and the manager of the Dept of Safety’s division responsible for criminal background checks. The first to testify was the sponsor, followed by his constituent who requested the bill. In addition, several people signed in opposition to the bill (including Margaret Byrnes of NHMA). The sponsor and his constituent were the only people in favor of the bill. All cited the impracticality of the requirement, and several commented on the potential cost and impact on programming. While many on the committee seemed somewhat persuaded by the testimony in opposition to the bill, others suggested that perhaps the bill could be amended in a variety of ways to make it feasible to implement. Again, committee questions made it clear that most did not understand the scope of the bill and the possible impact. NHLTA opposed this bill.


To the NH Library Community:

January 2, 2020: After 17 years of service, the plug was pulled on the old NHU-PAC early this afternoon. It's been replaced by the new NHAIS Interlibrary Loan System. The NHAIS Interlibrary Loan System provides access to the holdings of libraries throughout the Granite State and supports resource sharing among them.
NHAIS is a program of the New Hampshire State Library, a division of the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHAIS funding is made possible, in part, by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act.



NH RSA 91-A Section II
"... The names of the members who made or seconded each motion shall be recorded in the minutes..."

Change effective January 1, 2019


How To Contact NH Representatives

You can contact representatives by email, fax, phone or letter at the contacts below.

Chris Pappas (1st District) 
Ann McLane Kuster (2nd District)
Maggie Hassan
Jeanne Shaheen