The time is NOW! If you’re a librarian, a library worker, anyone who cares about libraries, does business with a library, or if you depend on your library for accurate information, then your Congressperson needs to hear from you – and at least five more people that you mobilize – TODAY! At least $210 million in federal library funding is on the budget-cutter’s chopping block. Our champions in Congress need your help to save it and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the agency that distributes most of those funds to every state in the country. Everything you need is at ALA’s Legislative Action Center now.
As detailed in the ALA Washington Office blog, the President of the United States effectively proposed eliminating all federal library funding and closing IMLS – the small, respected agency that administers $183 million of those funds through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). He also asked Congress to wipe out $27 million for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL), which school libraries use to buy books and other materials for the nation’s poorest children. But our library champions in Congress have mobilized to fight back and they need your help to succeed.
Today, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ3) wrote to every Member of the House of Representatives asking them to support LSTA, and Reps. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX30), Don Young (R-AK), and Jim McGovern (D-MA2) circulated a similar letter asking support for Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL). Both letters urge their House colleagues to sign letters to the Appropriations Committee supporting library funding. The first so-called “Dear Appropriator” letter asks the Committee to fully fund LSTA in FY 2018 and the second does the same for IAL.
We know from many past funding fights that these Representatives’ requests of their colleagues simply will not be enough. Members of the House need to hear from their constituents before the April 3rd deadline. Please call your Representative and ask them to sign both the LSTA and the IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters our champions have circulated, otherwise the powerful Appropriations Committees will not make LSTA and IAL a priority, dramatically increasing the odds that they will be cut or eliminated next year.
ALA’s Legislative Action Center has everything you need to identify your Member of Congress and to tell him or her by email, tweet or phone to sign the LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters to protect those critical programs in the FY 2018 federal budget.
We MUST save federal library funding and IMLS! If not you and your fellow library lovers, who? If not right now, when? Please, act right now!
To read my full statement about the President’s draconian budget proposals, please visit ALA's website.
Julie Todaro, ALA President