American Library Association (ALA) President Jim Neal released the following statement on March 23 in response to President Trump signing the FY2018 omnibus spending bill:
“One year ago, the White House proposed eliminating the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and slashed millions of dollars in federal funding for libraries. Twelve months and tireless advocacy efforts later, ALA advocates have helped libraries:
win $9 million more for IMLS than it had in FY2017, including $5.7 million for the Library Services and Technology Act.
restore $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
provide $350 million for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
“Congress also appropriated an unexpected $700 million for Title IV education programs, which opens doors to new funding for school libraries.
“Congress added a policy provision that has been on our advocacy agenda for years: Congressional Research Service reports will now be published online by the Library of Congress, ensuring for the first time permanent public access to valuable government information.
“To protect federal library funding, we need to keep reminding Congress that libraries bring leaders and experts together to solve difficult problems, that we deliver opportunities, from academic success to work readiness. We need to invite elected leaders into our libraries to see what we do for their constituents with a small investment of federal dollars. And we need to engage our library users and other community leaders in this important work.
“ALA’s Washington Office will continue to provide the expertise, strategy and resources that have helped make our advocacy so effective. To get involved, visit ala.org/fundlibraries.”